Leaving corporate America has never been so clean.
Eden Prairie mother Amanda Royer five years ago founded a business making bath bombs and has pretty much tripled her sales or more each year since. The company, Two Sisters Spa, hit the trend at the right time.
It all started at Target headquarters earlier this decade. Actually, it all started in London back in 2000. No, wait, it really started back in Buffalo, North Dakota, during her high school years. She graduated from Maple Valley High School in nearby Tower City in 1999.
Royer, now 36, job-shadowed a buyer with Vanity, a teen clothing store headquartered in Fargo. She learned she wanted to become a buyer and chased that dream. She went to the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Business Management and interned several times with Target Corp. After college, she entered the company at the downtown headquarters as a business analyst, an entry-level position. Eventually, Royer herself became a buyer. In that time, she got married, had a daughter, and the family sold their St. Louis Park home for a larger one in Eden Prairie and had a second daughter.
Her commutes were long. Royer often was the first mom dropping the kids off at the child care and the last one to pick them up. Her husband worked downtown, too, and they were coming home late from work, cooking supper and going to bed — just to do it all over again the next day.
Royer founded Two Sisters Spa on Jan. 1, 2013.
“It was almost like a New Year’s resolution that I was going to do this for myself and for the kids,” she said. “I named my company after my kids because they were the inspiration.”
At the time of the founding of Two Sisters Spa, Juliana was 2 years old and Olivia was 6 months. Now they are 7 and 5.
At first, Royer figured she would be a stay-at-home mom, but that retail knowledge from Target wasn’t just going to go away, and she applied it to a new idea. In college, she had studied abroad in London and experienced something that — at the time — wasn’t common in the United States: the bath bomb.
She learned how to make them herself. Her kids loved them.
“Bathtime was suddenly more exciting,” she said.
She decided to sell them on Etsy, and the sales took off.
The first couple of years she ran the business herself. By the third year, she hired a few friends who also were stay-at-home moms. They liked the flexibility the work provided.
“A lot of jobs don’t fit with school schedules,” Royer added.
Now she has 15 part-time employees — all moms, though dads may apply, too — and she is looking for three more to hire.
She said she loves living in Eden Prairie. Juliana and Olivia attend the Spanish-immersion school and are in hockey and gymnastics. The parents she works with are mainly in EP, Chanhassen and Chaska.
Some workers make the bath bombs. Some package and ship them. One of them handles the capsules — little surprises at the core.
The business model is inspired by her own experience of desiring flexibility, so her workers like the same ability to blend family and work at convenient hours and “be part of something fun,” she said.
There is a warehouse and an office on Martin Drive, and workers — if they need to break away from the house — can come to the office, too.
Her husband, Justin, also left his corporate job in marketing and started a business with two partners. It’s called Sprocket, and it consults on consumer experiences, in addition to providing data and marketing.
He works from an office at home. She typically heads to the office, which is about a two-minute drive from their home near Edenvale Park — far shorter than trekking to downtown Minneapolis. She uses Piper’s Coffee & Burger Bar for occasional meetings and interviews.
Royer said most of her sales come through Amazon. Though she has marketing skills, the company hasn’t marketed much. Most of the growth has come organically.
“If your product is selling well and you have great reviews, it catapults you,” she said.
Two Sisters has a growth plan, however, and that will involve more marketing while retaining the quality that got the young company this far.
The bath bombs bubble when they drop in the tub. Many bath bombs for kids have surprise capsules — like little toys or necklaces — but she says they strive to have the most variety, from squishy frogs to Rubik’s cubes to bobbleheads to rubber duckies to bracelets and many others. There are bombs for grown-ups, too.
“Moms are hard workers, and they need time to relax. We have a line for Mom, as well,” Royer said.
See, that’s the marketer in her.
So leaving that career at Target was a difficult decision. She’s always been career-minded.
“I figured I would never regret not taking the time to be with my kids,” she said.