Down on her luck and nearly homeless, just a few years ago it was nearly impossible for Nina Squires to imagine that some day she would have an upscale soap business.
Her life had been turned upside down after a previous company she had started with a friend collapsed.
She found herself flat broke and desperate. She said she had to give away all her furniture, could not stay in her apartment, and even had to sell her car to pay the rent.
Instead of giving up, Ms. Squires decided to dig in her heels and turn her fortunes around, thinking that coming up with just the right item to produce and sell might be the answer.
She landed on a product that was reasonably priced, that was easy for visitors to take home, smelled good, and would reflect a piece of the Cayman Islands – a locally made soap.
“I didn’t see many products available that were made locally. Since getting my status, I thought why not do something appropriate, and use it wisely to do a product that was actually made in the Cayman Islands,” said Ms. Squires.
Having already dabbled in soap-making in the past, she decided to start Beach Bubbles, a business that sells natural soap products made on island. Ms. Squires got to work, researching how to make soap. She says her tough situation and her decision to start the business offered great motivation to educate herself on soap making techniques and ingredients.
Seven years later, the company is a hit with both locals and visitors.
“I’m really rags to riches and I am on my way to riches,” said Ms. Squires, sounding very excited as she described how she had just bought her first little beach house across the road from her business.
“I was knocked down on my knees, decided to get back up, and the benefits have paid off. And just the mere fact that it is a handmade product of the Cayman Islands makes me feel even more proud,” she said.
A particular focus for her soap-making has been to incorporate as many natural and healing ingredients as possible, creating a unique selling point.
Not wanting to give away any trade secrets, Ms. Squires says the formulations use goat milk, coconut milk, products from the neem and moringa trees, and other natural plants.
Most of her soaps are either buttermilk- or goat’s milk-based and incorporate enticing ingredients like coconut oil, mango nut butter, macadamia nut oil, peppermint, lavender, avocado oil, kukui nut oil, Moroccan Argon oil, white grapefruit, orange and lemon. Ms. Squires also takes great care in the appearance of her soaps, using layering techniques that offer a signature look.
Ms. Squires’s efforts are being recognized, as the retail store, where Ms. Squires also makes all of her soaps, has been given a top rating for shopping in the Cayman Islands for many weeks on TripAdvisor, an online source of travel information. The business was also featured on “Made in Cayman,” a video series shown on local TV station Cayman 27.