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Halima, Founder of Bath Notes: Bath & Body Goods for the Mind, Body, and Soul

Updated: Jan 19



Ever since Halima Hubbard was young, she has been involved in pockets of entrepreneurship. She fondly remembers mixing alcohol, water, and flower petals to create perfume as a child. She would then go door to door, selling her unique creations to neighbors who supported her by purchasing her products. She said, “Beauty and entrepreneurship have always been inside of me. But I didn't know how that was going to come about.”


After welcoming her first daughter, Halima sensed something emotionally amiss, yet she couldn't express it, nor did she have anyone to confide in about it. She shares, “I felt like I was going through postpartum, and to be honest, I didn't have anyone to talk to. I was embarrassed. I was in my late 20s. It was my first time going through any of this, and I just felt very alone.” 


One thing that truly brought her solace was indulging in long showers. As a child, she recalls her siblings knocking on the bathroom door, expressing their discontent with how much time she spent in the shower. Nonetheless, she would immerse herself in the experience, spending one to two hours enjoying every minute of it. Halima said, “It was just my time for peace. I cried I would sing, I would act like I'm, you know, Beyonce, TLC back then or Total and just, you know, sing my heart out.”


Recalling the profound connection she felt with the shower, Halima would position her daughter's bassinet in front of the bathroom door. During these moments, she took extended showers, finding solace and balance amid her struggles with depression and postpartum symptoms. It was during this transformative period that she envisioned extending the same therapeutic experience to others, giving rise to Bath Notes.


Halima said, “I feel like a lot of people, especially in our communities—I’m from L. A., so I'm from an inner city, and I'm Black. We don't have the resources to really understand what a lot of mental health issues are. I feel like my generation—I’m a millennial, I feel like we're breaking ingot generational curses by learning and being open to going on to therapy and really applying wellness techniques in our life.”


What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken in your life thus far? 

“Being an entrepreneur is a risk in itself,” Halima shared. A few months ago, she faced a layoff after dedicating seven years to her job. One of the most challenging aspects of this journey has been the shift from a stable paycheck to one that is less predictable, all while residing in one of the world's most expensive cities.


Despite the uncertainties, her passion for Bath Notes drove her to commit 100% of her time to its growth. Halima places her trust in her faith. She said, “ I am a woman of faith, and I pray a lot. I ask for guidance. Can you give me a sign? But when you believe in something, and you have faith in something—you just go full throttle with it. You have to learn to pivot and go with the flow.”


What are you most proud of when it comes to Bath Notes?

Halima takes great pride in sharing this journey with her daughters. They have seen her transform an idea into a tangible reality.


What’s the biggest fear you had during your business journey?



Halima's greatest fear was the possibility of her business not succeeding. However, she challenged herself to deepen her understanding of what failure in this context really means.

Simultaneously, what does "not working out" truly signify? Confronting this fear involves acknowledging its negative aspects. Failure, in essence, is a lesson. Halima reflects on her own journey, acknowledging mistakes but emphasizing continued thriving. Fear is discarded, replaced by an openness to failure and its accompanying lessons. The idea originated in the shower, a gift from God. Halima sees her ideas as divine, hoping they inspire others in their creative processes.


Halima said, “What does not making it work mean? I have no answer for that. So really, I have no fear. It's just me doubting myself. I have to go back to my faith and say, you know if you have this faith, then you shouldn't be fearful. So, failure to me, I like to look at it as a lesson. I made many mistakes in this business over the last three years, and here I am, still able to thrive and still able to do things like this and put it out there.


Failure is just a lesson. So really, I'm going to say, like, I have no fear at this point. I'm open to failure because I'm open to the lessons.” Halima is convinced that she is here to fulfill the purpose bestowed upon her by God and, in doing so, inspire others to pursue their own purposes.


Tell us about a major setback you had in your business and how you recovered.

Despite being relatively new, Bath Notes faced challenges when Halima took a risk by hiring a social media manager and marketing strategist, paying her in full. Unfortunately, the hired individual, who was supposed to deliver on promises, did not share any key performance indicators (KPIs) and failed to perform adequately. This experience resulted in a loss of a few thousand dollars for Halima.

                                                                                                                 

Describe what it was like preparing for the pitch competition.


Halima had pitched before, but never for Bath Notes. With another company on pause, she decided to give 100 percent to Bath Notes, following her heart's guidance. Having pitched for a previous tech company and won a small competition, she had experience going through an accelerator program. However, Bath Notes presented a unique journey, being product-based with technology involvement.


This was her first time pitching for bath notes, and the experience was intense. As she prepared, she learned about other companies in her cohort, acknowledging their impressive packaging, press, and data metrics. The founders' professionalism and presentations inspired her to recognize the need to step up her game.


Despite being a talkative person, condensing her pitch into two minutes proved challenging. The preparation was rigorous, with feedback sessions on pitch decks and presentation styles. The intensity persisted, given the exceptional quality of companies within her cohort.


During the prep, she delved into the stories of other founders, creating connections despite being competitors. Pitching angles varied, and she chose to speak from the perspective of a Black woman. The complexity of her story, involving postpartum experiences, anxiety, and stress, required careful consideration of the audience and narrative.


The preparation was a week-long process of refining and making changes. The camaraderie among founders was noteworthy, as they became friends and supported each other. The crowdfunding aspect added an extra layer of competition, pushing her to rally family, friends, and customers for votes. The experience was described as intense, competitive, and akin to the finals in NBA playoffs. Looking back, she found it fun, but the stress was palpable at the moment.


Halima provided some advice, “Don’t quit. But be open. I tell myself I’m not doing this anymore, and then she snaps out of it and gets back to it. Networking is a big thing. People can help you get where you want to go. Open to constructive criticism. Be mindful that at the end of the day, it’s still your vision. Don’t be closed-minded. There are always lessons to be learned. I have a background in PR and marketing and seven years in supply chain. I was still open to learning and to receive feedback."


JCPenney initiated a conversation with Bath Notes. They are venturing into mass retail and allocating funds towards enhancing their supply chain. As part of this shift, they will no longer handle their own distribution, labeling, and packaging. Instead, these funds will be directed toward developing an app. The unique aspect of full sensory beauty involves incorporating sound elements to interact with their products. For instance, candles could be designed to respond to a sound bath, creating a more immersive experience for both the consumer and the brand.


Support is not always given to women of color in business; when has this shown and hurt or disappointed you the most?

In reflecting on the situation, Halima notes the discrepancy within the business landscape for Black women. While they boast a high percentage of successful enterprises, the disheartening truth remains that they receive less than 1% of capital funding. She shared, “The fact that it still exists is hurtful in itself. I think my idea is amazing, so to fight to prove myself more than someone else—it hurts. I come from corporate America. It’s not something that I’m not aware of or haven’t experienced. I know I have to fight through.” 


What’s the most critical lesson you’ve learned about business, in general?

Halima discovered that the business realm operates in clear terms of profit and loss. The financial aspect involves understanding how much money is required and strategizing ways to not only recover the investment but also generate additional returns. Effectively communicating these aspects in a straightforward manner is a skill that she's still refining. She acknowledges the challenge, noting that the emotional attachment that women tend to have in business dealings can sometimes create obstacles, possibly contributing to the disparity in funding between men and women.


What do you think is an important skill or asset you need to be successful in business?

Halima believes that active listening is crucial—not merely hearing words but truly comprehending them. Entrepreneurship involves continuous learning, and a valuable approach is to surround yourself with people who possess diverse skills and knowledge, perhaps even surpassing your own. Halima believes that mastery in every aspect is unattainable. Confidence in your identity becomes a foundation for learning. She emphasizes on constructing a strong team, recognizing the collaborative strength needed for entrepreneurial success.


What’s the most exciting part of your business?

Halima is bursting with enthusiasm at the prospect of seeing her product on retail shelves—a pivotal moment for her, especially given the many pieces of a physical product. She maintains a deeply hands-on approach to her brand, having initially crafted her product in her own home. Halima envisions her brand's presence not only as a personal preference but one that rivals established brands like Dove. 


How do you measure success?

After some thought, Halima said, “That's a hard question for me. I feel like I have so much more to accomplish. I don't know because I am a little hard on myself. But then sometimes I do have to, I don't know, humble myself and be present and say, girl, like, you were just laid off a couple of months ago, and look at what you're doing.”


What do you think the future holds for Black and Brown women entrepreneurs and small business owners?

Halima shared, “Everything. I think that we're just taking over. I do speak heavily on, you know, Black women, and it's just because we do suffer at higher stress levels than any other ethnicity.


But Bath Notes is for everybody, and stress and anxiety are things that everybody deals with. But because I've experienced it at a deeper level, I'm able to be inclusive. And I feel that about a lot of Black and Brown brands because that's all we're fighting for inclusivity.


We're fighting to be represented, and we're fighting to be seen. And if we're represented, I feel like everybody will be represented. Branding is different. Branding resonates with people. I feel like that is what makes brands powerful.


I think that's why our businesses thrive and that's why you're going to continue to see that incline in Black and Brown businesses in the future. 


If you and I were meeting 3 years from now, looking back, what would it take for you to feel joyful about your progress?

The products are in Macy's. You get to sip champagne, be surrounded by plants, and have a connection to nature. The goal is to become a household name, serving as a valuable resource for community members seeking wellness tips. She plans to reflect on her personal growth in her backyard, envisioning an Oprah Daily interview surrounded by plants. The brand is gaining widespread attention, with many using the apps and turning to her for wellness advice or a supportive conversation. The rapid growth will be shared


Being a business owner is a tough job. How do you take care of yourself?

Experiencing mental health challenges after the layoff, Halima typically finds solace in exercising with a trainer. She ensures to allocate 30 minutes outdoors for a dose of vitamin D. Additionally, Halima values therapy as a space for processing and discussing her thoughts.


What is your favorite quote or mantra?

“You only need faith the size of a mustard seed.”  


What book and podcast would you recommend?

Book: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Podcast: The Shade Room


What’s your favorite business hack or app that you can’t live without?

Temply.


Name one food item you have a hard time saying no to.

French Fries. 


What’s next for Bath Notes?

Halima is directing her attention to the J.C. Penney partnership. She then will be participating in the New Family Voices Madame CJ Walker 12-week boot camp. Her focus encompasses retail readiness, pursuing additional grants, and getting her products onto shelves. Additionally, she anticipates the release of her app in 2024.


Last words…

Halima said, “I'm extremely grateful for people like Omi, who created a platform like Black Girl Ventures. Grateful for everybody who voted for me to make this happen. Again, shout out to the other founders. I just want to give gratitude to everybody.”


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