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This article appeared in the Summer 2017 issue of JAXPORT Magazine.
The Founder of FinchBerry Soapery, Ashley Robertson, initially made soap as a hobby during her time as a Washington D.C. lawyer, using some chemistry knowledge she picked up doing biological patent law. Five years later, her FinchBerry vegan, preservative-free artisan soaps are carried in 3,000 retail outlets in nine countries, including Hallmark Corporate, SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and White Barn, which is owned by Bath & Body Works. The product is also available through the company’s website.
“I left my law career to travel the country for a year as a ‘soap gypsy’ at craft fairs,” Robertson said. “It was a hard life, so I went to visit my family in Florida. I met a nice young man with an empty warehouse and asked if I could store my soap there. We decided to go into business together, made and sold enough to get a wholesale license, and here we are.”
With names like Mint Condition, Renegade Honey, Lovin Lemons and Cranberry Chutney – and scents to match – Robertson said FinchBerry soaps look and smell so delicious that the advertising has a tongue-in-cheek “do not eat” warning.
FinchBerry Soapery employs 20 people at its headquarters in Waldo, Florida, housed in a 13,000-square-foot facility. Robertson handles business development while her partner manages the business. They have staffed their office with family and friends.
FinchBerry recently began working with JAXPORT to import containers of other bath products, such as soap dishes and loofahs, to accompany its soaps on store shelves.
“We realized that our retailers were a captive audience for accessories to go with soap, so we decided to see how well they would sell. I was so excited when we got our first container from JAXPORT,” said Robertson, who praises the ease of doing business with the port. “We sold all of the products within two weeks, and we have already increased the size of our orders moving through JAXPORT.”
FinchBerry sales for 2016 totaled approximately $1.25 million, and the company is on track to more than double its revenue this year.
“We plan to eventually have a full line of FinchBerry bath products,” Robertson said. “It is amazing to realize how far we have come.”
For more information, visit www.finchberry.com.