As a project analyst for the Department of Defense in Washington, D.C., Bettijo Boushley Hirschi (BA ’01) craved the creative environment she enjoyed while working on journalism. She soon discovered she could be inventive without the help of an employer.
One opportunity arose when she began experimenting with herbs to create spa products. Hirschi’s mother had used them for medicinal purposes, and the rising expense of visiting a local spa motivated Hirschi to make her own relaxation remedies from home. “I always knew herbs were more than pretty plants,” Hirschi says.
Her friends were always happy to try out her new formulas, and in 2003, after a year of development, she launched Bath by Bettijo, a company featuring a line of handmade natural bath and body treatments. “My husband, Heath (BA ’01), and I started filling online orders by making and housing the inventory inside our little condo in Washington, D.C.,” she says. “One of my main goals for that first year was to get into a major beauty magazine,” Hirschi says.
She succeeded. Only eight months after its opening, Bath by Bettijo shave oil and lip balm products were featured in the July 2004 issue of Lucky magazine.
“That was really the first big break for us,” Hirschi explains. “All of a sudden we were hit with orders. My husband and I was staying up until 2 or 3 in the morning, packing orders and getting things ready to be shipped out. At that same time I became pregnant with our first child, so the late hours made it really challenging.”
Hirschi’s second venture began in November 2005, 10 months after the birth of her daughter, Attalie. While searching the Internet for parenting advice, Hirschi was disappointed to find that many Web sites incorporated a feeling of paranoia and anxiety about motherhood. “I wanted something that wouldn’t cause me more stress. I wanted something enjoyable to read as a break from the everyday,” she says. So the development of The Mommy Times, a Web site devoted to helping women feel confident in their abilities as mothers, was a natural venture for Hirschi.
The content of the Web site is divided into five sections—Laugh, Want, Relax, Learn, and Live. One of the most popular columns, Mom Moments, is an interactive piece where moms can showcase humorous and embarrassing moments that arise from parenting. “Moms love sharing those stories,” Hirschi says.
The Mommy times has more than 2,000 subscribers and select products of Bath by Bettijo were recently picked up by Anthropologie, a national retailer. Hirschi attributes the success of both businesses to her degrees in communications. As fun as both businesses are, however, she says nothing comes close to the fun she’s having with her husband and her 2-year-old.