How much do you love your significant other? When relationships are new and full of passion, we’re eager to spend every moment together. But how well would you do sharing your lives at work as well as at home? Danielle and Tim Bombash are making it work in both places as spouses and co-owners of Bombash & Earley Apothecaries, a business that produces high quality handmade natural bath and body products. “Our entire concept started with making bar soap in our kitchen for personal use,” explains Tim Bombash. “It quickly became an obsession, and we wanted perfection. Several hundred attempts later, we have what we call the god bar. It’s our rendition of the perfect bar of soap.”
Selling the soap at a farmers market last summer led to a space in the It’s New To Me consignment shop at 522 Valleybrook Road in Venetia, where they make and sell their products.
“At first we had the idea of strictly selling it online to keep our overhead low,” says Tim. “We thought to just keep it a part-time hobby while we worked our day jobs.”
That idea didn’t last long.
“When I make our products, the smell travels through the entire consignment store and it draws some of the customers back to see what I’m up to. That’s when we decided to turn the storage room into an actual store.”
It also led to a huge decision. “I left a successful 11-year career in sales to pursue the American dream,” he says. “So far, so good. Though I’m working much harder than before, I’m spending more time with my family, and my boss is cool.”
That “boss” is wife Danielle, who still works as an operations manager in the financial industry while handling the books for the business. “He has worked so hard and long hours away from our family before this, so it was a scary but easy decision for us when we had the chance for Tim to do this full time,” Danielle says. “Starting a business doesn’t mean you are bringing in money monthly. There are months that you bring home nothing. But you have to make sacrifices. Knowing that this is making Tim happy, we are making it work.”
Soon, more bath and body products followed. “We’re always researching and developing new products to add to the line,” says Tim. “Our entire product line now revolves around having as few ingredients as possible and maintaining a vegan, cruelty-free, preservative-free and palm oil-free standpoint.”
They’re now up to 20 products and many developed due to skin concerns of family and friends. “My husband is amazingly talented in so many ways,” says Danielle. “He always brings them home for me to try first. I have exceptionally sensitive skin, so Tim finds it very important for me to be the tester. My mother has exceptionally dry hands that crack and he made her a product to help. The most amazing part is that they don’t ask, he just hears them talk and tries to figure out how to help them.”
Danielle and Tim met eight years ago through friends. Four years later, they married and now have a 1-year-old son, Maverick. Danielle says being a business owner has given Tim more time to be a dad. “When he was born, our whole world changed,” she says. “Every minute away from Mav became a challenge. Even though Tim was the bread winner in the house, the time we spent apart or he spent away from Maverick made it not worth it. I couldn’t be more proud of what he has built and that his dream of being a business owner has come true. He tends to give me all the credit when I truly believe the credit needs to go to him.”
But how does the busy couple handle working and living together? Is there such a thing as too much togetherness? “Dani and I work very well together,” says Tim. “We occasionally have our differences, but I think it’s good that we do. They’re quickly resolved and allow problems to be looked at from different angles.”
Tim says part of the success of their working relationship is giving each other defined roles. “Together we work on marketing and product development,” he adds. “While at the store, I cover production, ordering and sales/customer interaction, and she covers the organizational stuff like our bookkeeping, making sure everyone gets paid and web development. If you knew us, you’d understand why she covers anything related to organization. I tell everyone she’s the brains behind this whole operation. Let’s just say I definitely married someone that makes up for my weaknesses.”
Tim says that even though their business is in its infancy, they quickly learned the importance of taking time out for each other and their son. “We take family time serious, which I think is a big help to the store,” he says. “It keeps the stress levels down, which allows for much better productivity and a better experience for our customers. More importantly, our son witnesses us having fun, working together and communicating well every day.”
Danielle says they occasionally bump heads, but it’s rare. “I think it’s easy when it comes to an issue or an idea for the business, to come to an answer,” she says. “We talk through it and figure out, between the both of us, what is best.”
Her husband says the recipe for creating their popular bath products and a happy marriage is simple. “I think the key to happiness when working with your spouse is to remember why you started working together in the first place and to just have fun,” Tim says. “It doesn’t hurt being involved in the bath and body industry, either. If things get too tense, it’s nothing a nice massage or warm bath with some of our products can’t handle.”