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Bath products proposal earns teenager contest spot


While juggling his work, school and social life, Waterford Valley High School student Liam O’Keefe has been pursuing a personal passion, developing Newfoundland Bath Bergs.

It is the name of what is, really, largely an idea for the moment: a craft-based business focused on the production of provincially-themed bath products, including “bath bombs,” the hard-packed spheres that effervesce in water.

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He is not into sales yet, but has been making and testing potential products, learning what it will take to make his hobby into a business.

“I always really admired the vendors you see at markets and I always thought I’d love to do that kind of thing myself,” O’Keefe said.

He had an interest in bath fizzes, he said, and learned how to make them, eventually trying for something with a distinctly Newfoundland and Labrador feel.

It started with shapes. The Republic Rock, as he calls it, is a rectangular bath bomb coloured to look like a Republic of Newfoundland flag. He used clay to create a mold for a puffin head shape, calling the product — orange “beak” and all — the Cliff Diver.

“A sphere is all nice and dandy, but this is a lot more appealing,” he said, explaining he has started experimenting with additions of local flora.

Each homemade batch of bath bombs requires just enough moisture to keep the shape, but not so much that you set off the chain reaction before it’s immersed in bath water. A batch, he explained, takes 12 hours to harden, producing four items, with a couple of smaller testers.

His eye is on greater production.

Meanwhile, the Newfoundland Bath Bergs concept has already drawn some attention, earning him a $500 prize and a spot as a finalist in the Start Something With Alesse contest.

Sponsored by Pfizer and managed by NATIONAL Public Relations, it is meant “to sponsor two projects initiated by young Canadians that are intended to start something new and different,” according to details published at startsomethingwithalesse.ca.

One winner will be named in a non-profit category and one — O’Keefe hopes it will be him — in a for-profit category.

In being named as a finalist, his startup proposal was selected from over 1,500 submissions from across Canada, according to organizers.

A winner will be named by way of online voting. It started March 22 and, following several rounds of elimination, will be complete May 2.

The voting site can be found through Facebook at Start Something With Alesse (voters are encouraged to make themselves aware of any conditions, rules and regulations prior to participating).

Whether top pick or not, O’Keefe said he plans to pursue his business ideas, of which Newfoundland Bath Bergs is one.

The 18-year-old will start studying at Memorial University of Newfoundland in the fall, with a specific interest in business-related studies.

It is the name of what is, really, largely an idea for the moment: a craft-based business focused on the production of provincially-themed bath products, including “bath bombs,” the hard-packed spheres that effervesce in water.

Related stories:

The ups and downs of owning a business

YMCA offering counselling through Bonavista area chamber

He is not into sales yet, but has been making and testing potential products, learning what it will take to make his hobby into a business.

“I always really admired the vendors you see at markets and I always thought I’d love to do that kind of thing myself,” O’Keefe said.

He had an interest in bath fizzes, he said, and learned how to make them, eventually trying for something with a distinctly Newfoundland and Labrador feel.

It started with shapes. The Republic Rock, as he calls it, is a rectangular bath bomb coloured to look like a Republic of Newfoundland flag. He used clay to create a mold for a puffin head shape, calling the product — orange “beak” and all — the Cliff Diver.

“A sphere is all nice and dandy, but this is a lot more appealing,” he said, explaining he has started experimenting with additions of local flora.

Each homemade batch of bath bombs requires just enough moisture to keep the shape, but not so much that you set off the chain reaction before it’s immersed in bath water. A batch, he explained, takes 12 hours to harden, producing four items, with a couple of smaller testers.

His eye is on greater production.

Meanwhile, the Newfoundland Bath Bergs concept has already drawn some attention, earning him a $500 prize and a spot as a finalist in the Start Something With Alesse contest.

Sponsored by Pfizer and managed by NATIONAL Public Relations, it is meant “to sponsor two projects initiated by young Canadians that are intended to start something new and different,” according to details published at startsomethingwithalesse.ca.

One winner will be named in a non-profit category and one — O’Keefe hopes it will be him — in a for-profit category.

In being named as a finalist, his startup proposal was selected from over 1,500 submissions from across Canada, according to organizers.

A winner will be named by way of online voting. It started March 22 and, following several rounds of elimination, will be complete May 2.

The voting site can be found through Facebook at Start Something With Alesse (voters are encouraged to make themselves aware of any conditions, rules and regulations prior to participating).

Whether top pick or not, O’Keefe said he plans to pursue his business ideas, of which Newfoundland Bath Bergs is one.

The 18-year-old will start studying at Memorial University of Newfoundland in the fall, with a specific interest in business-related studies.

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