Tired of paying exorbitant shipping and customs fees for spooky bath products in the US, bath bomb maker Liz took matters into her own hands and launched Alone in the Bath, her UK-based Etsy shop. If you’re a horror fan, love Halloween, or are simply into the macabre and spooky, you’re going to want to check it out.
Alone in the Bath specializes in fun bath products based on creepy pop culture favorites. These bath bombs are so detailed and beautifully crafted, it almost seems a shame to watch them dissolve into the now wonderfully scented waters of your tub. (One of my favorites is “Creature Feature,” a Jaws-themed fizzie that erupts in a sea of blood red.)
Horror movies and all things scary were “forbidden fruit” when Liz was a kid, but she’s since embraced the genre with a vengeance, especially The Shining and the films of James Wan. Her fascination with Alice in Wonderland led her to the PS3 game Alice: Madness Returns, which burgeoned into a passion for “dark and spooky” video games.
Halloween might not be a big deal in the UK, but that doesn’t deter Liz from enthusiastically embracing the eerie holiday, along with the scrumptious fall scents that accompany it. Matching fragrance to a fandom is one of her favorite parts of creating Alone in the Bath products. The shop offers bombs inspired by all things All Hallow’s Eve, as well as The Nightmare Before Christmas, Disney’s Haunted Mansion, Ghostbusters, and other favorites.
If, like me, you were unaware there is a market for horror-themed bath products, read my interview with Liz (below) to be fully enlightened. I especially love the way she talks about scent and memory (and Slimer!) and the supernatural appeal of Disney’s Haunted Mansion.
If you want to check out Liz’s newest bath bombs or shop for the spookiest self-care items ever, she’s planning a shop restock on Feb. 29. For more details, follow her on Instagram, @aloneinthebath.
You’re a graphic designer by day and maker of horror-themed bath bombs by night. You sell these fabulously creepy, detailed products in your Etsy shop, Alone in the Bath. I understand you started making bath bombs out of personal necessity. Tell me more about why you started your shop.
Thank you! I’m a huge horror and fragrances fan, and I used to buy lots of spooky bath products from the States. I was spending far more on shipping, customs, and handling fees than on the actual products, and it made me wonder if I could make my own spooky items. I couldn’t stop daydreaming about it so I eventually decided to give it a go.
Your bath bombs are handmade in the UK. Did you have to do a lot of research before you started your business? What was your start-up process like?
I love sculpturing and learning to work with new materials, so the start-up process was really good fun.
I started my bath bomb journey by taking a day course at the Soap School in Yorkshire. It was here that I learnt how to make bath fizzies, discovered the benefits of the different ingredients, and understood the legal side of selling cosmetics in the EU.
I spent the following year perfecting my recipe, creating my molds, and tweaking my designs. I gave myself Halloween 2019 as the deadline to open my Etsy store, and I’m very proud to say that I (just about) made it.
You describe yourself as “geeky about everything to do with fragrance and horror.” How long have you been a horror fan and what first sparked your interest in that genre?
Growing up, horror was a forbidden fruit. We weren’t allowed to watch scary movies, and books like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark were out of the question, so of course I immediately wanted to know what it’s all about. My favourite funfair rides were ghost trains, everything I read was by Stephen King, and everything I watched was spooky. I was obsessed (or possessed?).
What are some of your all-time favorite horror movies?
My top three are The Shining, The Witch, and pretty much everything by James Wan. Generally speaking, horror movies really stay with me if they’re atmospheric. The more fog machines on set the better!
What is it about fragrance that intrigues you?
I’ve always been fascinated by the way fragrances evoke memories and emotions. In a sense, it’s the closest thing that we’ve got to a functioning time machine, able to immerse us in vivid memories that we didn’t even realize our brain stored.
This is why matching a fragrance to a fandom is one of my favourite things to do, and I spend a lot of time on getting it just right. For example, “I Feel so Funky” is scented in banana and kiwi, it’s a very “green” scent but also a sweet, candy-like one. It matches his huge, silly smile and sticking out tongue. In my head, he can smell that sweet taffy scent and that’s why he drools!
You also make spooky wax melts. Is that a similar or entirely different process?
I love making wax melts because it’s such a different process, and it really mixes things up for me.
Like with my bath bombs, I took my time testing different fragrances and waxes, and my wax melt-addicted co-workers were happy to test them.
The feedback I’ve been getting from customers has been great so far, and it’s definitely a line I’m going to expand in the near future. I can’t wait to share some of the designs I’ve been working on with everyone!
You’re also a gamer who especially likes “dark and spooky games,” like Until Dawn, The Last of Us, Fran Bow, and Little Nightmares. How did you get into gaming?
I’m a huge Alice in Wonderland fan, and I got hooked when I started playing Alice: Madness Returns on PS3 (A creepy version of my favourite fandom? Yes please!).
Always looking for an excuse to sculpt and build models, I started making my own props for cosplays. For the past four years, I’ve been cosplaying as Alice, each year dedicated to a different level in the game.
As soon as I completed Alice, I started searching for the next spooky game to fill the void, and I’ve been gaming ever since.
You’ve said you love Halloween, “even though it’s not celebrated properly in the UK.” What appeals to you about this holiday?
I agree with the famous Tim Burton quote, “Every day is Halloween, isn’t it? For some of us …,” and then in October everyone joins in on the fun — it’s the best feeling in the world! I just love the creativity and imagination Halloween brings out in people. Walking around on Halloween evening, with the trick or treaters all around you and pumpkins lit up everywhere, feels like real-life magic.
Not to mention how delicious autumn fragrances are: pumpkin spice, candy apples, toasted marshmallow — I wait all year to make autumn scented everything!
Do you celebrate it, even though it’s not a big thing where you live?
Always. Halloween is celebrated in the UK, you just need to know where to go. One of my favourite Halloween traditions is attending London’s Month of the Dead. It has seances, moonlit events in Victorian cemeteries, and macabre walking tours and talks.
I’ve also noticed that pumpkin patches are becoming busier every year, so I do think Halloween is growing in popularity. I just wish it was as popular here as it is in the US.
You’re a fellow Haunted Mansion fan, so I have to ask you — what do you love about that particular Disney attraction?
Oooh — just thinking about it gives me goosebumps! I think that the Imagineers did a brilliant job of making you feel like you’re an intruder who only gets to see a teeny-tiny part of a chilling mystery. It’s full of crazy characters you’d love to get to know but you only get a glimpse into their backstories.
It just leaves you craving more, like if you could only derail your little doom buggy you’d get to explore the rest of the mansion, possibly forever … . I also adore the tone of voice set by the ghost host, I love that the joke is on the visitors somehow. It’s just such a great ride.
If I’m not mistaken, you’re about to unveil a new line of Alone in the Bath products. Can you give us a hint about what we can expect to see?
Yes, absolutely! A lot of existing lines will get expanded this year, and I’m also working on my own version of geode bath bombs.
A new line that I’m very excited about will reflect my love for Polynesian exotica, tiki culture, and island life. I blame the Tiki Room for feeling like half of my heart is in Hawaii, even though I’ve never been.
I feel like bath bombs are really having a pop culture moment. Why do you think that is?
I think that being able to customize bath time to reflect your personality has become a form of self-expression. Being able to share bath art, and having discussions about fandom and self-care, is an added bonus.
I have Instagram friends who I’ve never met, yet they feel like IRL friends who I know and love. All we ever do is share our bath art, it’s the best. I’m so happy that social media, and rising awareness to the importance of self-care, is making this possible.
Do you have any future goals, plans, or dreams for Alone in the Bath?
Alone in the Bath is my weekend job, meaning there’s often a waiting list for many items. I would absolutely love to become a full-time bath-bomber and expand the store to its full potential.
Let’s wrap up with a fun question. What is your favorite bathtub horror movie scene?
Hands down, Vigo’s slime attack in Ghostbusters 2! I’m such a sucker for physical special effects, and this scene is the perfect blend of creepy and funny. One day I’ll come up with a way of turning it into a bath bomb!