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Summer 2010 Bath Bakery: A Recipe for Success

Bath Bakery products from the Happy Hippo Bath Company look good enough to eat. With reasonable prices and attractive displays, they are poised to whet more customer appetites.

Perusing the Bath Bakery line from Happy Hippo Bath Company is like looking at the shelves of a bakery. But even though they look good enough to eat, items like Bubble Bath Cupcakes, Tub Truffles, Sherbet Scrub, and Sponge Cake Soap are intended only for use in the bath.

Cooking new products

In 2006, the company, which is based in Sylvan Lake, Alberta, launched the Happy Hippo line of natural Epsom salt products and bath bombes in 12 fragrances and bold colors. Most products were priced at about $2.50 each. The original Happy Hippo line also includes Hand and Body Lotion, a Peppermint Foot Soak, Bubble Bath and Milk Bath.

The success of the original Happy Hippo brand had the retailers asking for something more high-end, says Jodee Prouse, owner of the company. Well aware that there were hundreds of bath and body companies selling products in the category, Prouse knew she needed to “launch something unique” to catch customers’ attention. “Our inspiration came from the popularity of cupcake bakeries that were popping up across the U.S.,” she says. And so the Bath Bakery line was born. Retail prices for the Bath Bakery line range from $4 to $25.

Happy Hippo launched the Bath Bakery line with a party in the gift lounge at this year’s Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. “It instantly gave us a lot of exposure,” Prouse says.

Trendy treats

The top-selling Bath Bakery product, Cupcake Lip Balm, resembles a cupcake with brightly colored icing. The “icing” lid can be flipped up to reveal the balm, which comes in tasty flavors like cotton candy, pineapple coconut and orange creamsicle. Beautifully decorated gift sets include packages containing several colorful Bon Bons, Sweet Cakes and Bath Bundtz. New for 2010 is a Bath Sundae gift set containing a plastic cone sundae dish, face cloth and mega bath bombe available in 10 ice cream flavors. Accessories include a Cupcakes apron and reusable shopping bag. The company plans on launching a line of hair care products in August.

The Bath Bakery line is marketed to everyone—women, men and children. “We’ve focused on a full range of products that are not seen in the market,” Prouse says. This, combined with low retail prices, makes for happy customers and faster sales for the stores, she adds.

Retail details

The company offers both the Happy Hippo and Bath Bakery lines but recommends that retailers choose one or the other. Prouse also recommends volume merchandising for maximum impact. For lower volume purchases, the company offers standard keystone pricing. However, retailers who purchase 5,000 products or more will receive a discount of 25 percent off wholesale.

Prouse says the company supports retailers by making customer support specialists readily available to answer questions. Specialists can also suggest which products to put on carts and provide education about the benefits of the products.

Despite anemic economic times, Happy Hippo reports its sales for 2010 have doubled year-to-date over last year. “When customers walk by a full cart or kiosk of Bath Bakery products, they can’t help but stop as it looks like a candy store/bakery right in the middle of the mall,” Prouse says.

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Bernadette Starzee

Starzee, a Long Island, NY writer who covers business, sports and lifestyle topics, is a senior writer for SRR. She can be reached at .

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