Marla Bosworth launched her soapmaking business in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1998 after an unexpected layoff as a market research analyst at Forrester Research in Boston. She had been dabbling in the art of soapmaking and knew she was ready to embrace entrepreneurship.
As one of the few soapmakers in Massachusetts in 1990s, her business began to quickly flourish, attracting retail and wholesale sales, as well as other business opportunities. After her divorce in 2001, Marla kept her business afloat by making soap in a tiny rental apartment with her daughter. She started hosting soapmaking classes in her four-season enclosed porch. She launched her first brick and mortar storefront and lived in an apartment above it in the downtown tourist area of Plymouth. She grew her production, wholesale accounts and began to establish a strong recognition for her brand throughout New England.
As a single parent, Marla grew her business in a way she describes as “entrepreneurially imperfect and messy at times.” Now in hindsight she sees it as a blessing as it created flexibility and financial support for herself and her daughter Lindsay, now 27.
An International Coach and Guide
As Marla’s natural skincare business began to quickly grow she began to receive emails from other budding soapmaker and skincare entrepreneurs around the world who wanted to learn to make plant-based soaps and skincare products. She invited them to Massachusetts and they came – one gentleman arrived by boat from Ireland. As she focused on deepening her teachings, Marla began offering 5-day immersive beauty products formulation classes that soon expanded to a private teaching rental in New York City where U.S. and international students are still attending to learn how to make soaps, candles and cosmetics from Marla's rich 24-year career in the indie beauty industry.
A Shamanic Deepening in the Mountains
In 2012, Marla felt a calling like no other. She felt something was deeply missing in her life. Her heart was calling her back to the Grand Tetons in Wyoming where she was raised. She decided to make a move that felt exciting but risky in many ways. She took a leap of faith, packed up her business and her daughter and moved across country to live surrounded by wilderness and wildlife in the Grand Teton Mountains of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She opened and ran her second store and production operations in Jackson Hole where she had visits from locals, tourist and even wildlife visit through the glass-to-ceiling windows which included a rare mountain lion visit, moose, elk, deer, eagles, owls and many other sacred spirit guides.
Marla is deeply connected to and inspired by nature, having been so since childhood. She describes it as an essence piece of her soul. As a child she made her own tinctures and worked with spirit guides. Today, she teaches workshops across the U.S.
Marla has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, Boston media, Jackson Hole media and numerous other mass media and beauty industry outlets. She has been a guest lecturer at universities around the U.S.
In summer 2021, Marla was selected by NY NOW, a wholesale market for retailers and specialty buyers, as a judge for its Emerging Brands entrepreneur category. She mentored up and coming indie beauty brands that were new exhibitors in the New York City trade show, coaching them in booth design, business strategies and development.
Marla's credentials include a B.A. in English/Journalism from the University of New Hampshire in 1987. She shares with students her extensive background in product and business marketing, market research, social media and manufacturer consulting. As a Market Research Analyst for the leading market research company now known as Forrester Research, she guided product development with such Fortune 500 companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Canon, Xerox and IBM. She now combines her intuition with market research training to pinpoint upcoming trends and market opportunities for the beauty industry.
Marla has more than 30 years of expertise in retail sales, business development, strategic planning, market research, product development and marketing as well as cosmetic formulation, aromatherapist and herbalist certifications.