Bubbles: Come for the experience, stay for the products

Big bubbles and rubber duckies give Bubbles a friendly atmosphere.

Big “bubbles” and rubber duckies give Bubbles a friendly atmosphere.

(Akanksha Sah)

Staff Writer
The scents that a person chooses to wear can say a surprising amount about him or her. Fruity scents are usually associated with people with bubbly, fun-loving personalities, while sweet scents like vanilla are usually linked with warm comfort-seekers. But what about people who are both? What kinds of scents do people who do not fall into one particular “personality type” use?
While most bath and body shops offer scents that are generally separated into typical categories –warm, floral, spicy, and fruity –Bubbles breaks free from this trend. Located just a short walk from the sandy shores of Laguna Beach, this make-your-own bath and body products shop is centered around the freedom to create unique, individual scents to fit any mood. With products ranging from bath salts and soap rocks to lotions and perfumes, Bubbles has the perfect amount of beachy, unique products to appeal to tourists and visitors, while still retaining sensibility with typical bath and body items.
All of their create-your-own products are sold in a similar way, with tubs or bottles of the item in 10 to 30 different scents spread out on a display table, next to which small bags or bottles are placed. Customers can fill up a small container with their desired amounts of each scent, and then purchase that container filled with their creation for a fixed price based off of the product and size of the item. In this way, it is possible to create hundreds of different perfumes, bath salts, body oils and more.
Since its opening about 20 years ago, Bubbles has maintained its goal of being unique, and another aspect of this shop that sets it apart from others is the quality of its products; each item is either all natural or organic, and almost all are made in America. Another notable aspect of Bubbles is that most of its merchandise comes from small businesses and individuals who sell exclusively to them, making the products truly distinct from those at any other shop.
When asked about her experience shopping at Bubbles, Callie Williams, a customer at Bubbles, said, “When I first found this store, I bought stuff because it was fun to create it, but I figured the scents for perfumes and stuff would be cheap and probably wear off after a few minutes. But I found that the products from here are actually really good quality, and they are gentle and long lasting. I had originally come for the experience, but I’ve stayed for about four years now for the products.”
A helpful employee at the store told me about the most popular products, which include the bath salts; shower bursts, which are essentially bath salts for showers; and scent bags, which customers can fill with their own mixtures of scent beads, and can use to freshen places like closets and drawers.
After hearing about the idea behind Bubbles, Mia McCarey (So.) said, “I think the concept is great. It’s like putting your personality into a bottle – it’s not something I would expect to be able to do in a store. I love unique stores like this, and the fact that it’s at the beach is an extra bonus.”
Bubbles’s unique idea and process puts customers in the shoes of the fragrance makers who work behind the scenes at conventional stores, and is just one of a group of popular individualized stores, including Yogurtland, Build-A-Bear and Subway. While the idea of a create-your-own type of store is definitely popular among customers, very few stores actually feature this option, and even fewer are able to perfect it as well; new stores similar in idea to Bubbles may pop up in the future, but Bubbles will always be the loved original.