We had the good fortune of connecting with Rene Rainey and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rene, every day, we about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
I’m a television producer with a hectic schedule and one of the ways I’ve always decompressed is by taking a bubble bath. It’s a little bit of ‘me time’ that goes a long way for my mental health. The television business is fickle, especially as a freelancer; sometimes you work and sometimes you don’t. Because of the inconsistency, I knew I needed to find something that I could build and potentially retire on; something that I love and am passionate about. For me, that’s bubble baths, lipstick, and wine! I knew molding lipsticks or moving to the south of France and buying a vineyard wasn’t an option (yet!) so I focused on bubble bath (my favorite luxury). But I needed to come up with a name. Then I remembered these bottles of bubble bath that my husband etched “Bath Slut” onto because I was/am always in the bath and I thought, ‘yes’!!! That’s it! Bath Slut! And BS was born. Now I needed a product.
Having tried so many bubble baths on the market, I knew what I wanted and what I didn’t want. I wanted beautiful fragrances, loads of bubbles and silky skin. Most of the bubble baths I tried didn’t do all three, so I set out to make mine. I wanted it to be as clean as possible with fewer ingredients and nothing toxic. So, through a lot of trial and error I came up with a perfect blend that I believe answers all my criteria. The product is vegan as well so that’s a nice thing…no animals harmed. Now I have a great product and am working on my next…bath salts!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m a television producer turned personal care brand founder. What’s funny is that my career has really come full circle. I started in beauty marketing at Estée Lauder companies then was a beauty editor for a magazine. After the beauty businesses I went into music videos and commercials as a production manager to line producing feature films and, ultimately, executive producing alternative television shows. And now I’m back in the beauty world. My journey, like most, has not been easy but I have done it relatively flawlessly. I guess having the idea in your head that when you want something you make it happen works. I’ve never been stifled by what others think, I’ve just gone for it especially when it came to my career (personal is a whole other story that I’m working on!). When I wanted to become a Beauty Editor, I created a cool presentation packet and sent it to every magazine. I didn’t get a job from them but, randomly this new magazine, Mode, started up and I got the job of being their beauty editor. It was manifestation at its best. Same goes for line producing movies. I knew I didn’t want to be in beauty marketing anymore, so I set my sights on film. One day I randomly ran into a friend from my EL days and he was directing his first feature and asked me to help. He wanted me to do makeup, but I wanted to try production. They hired me to PM but, ultimately, I ended up line producing. And I was good at it. I loved it!
I still executive produce TV while building the brand and my biggest issue with that is not what I’m capable of it’s the doubt and judgement that comes from others especially looking at women. This makes me angry. A month ago, I had a guy colleague of mine say “how can you run a tv show if you’re building a brand” and I thought that was very sexist and arrogant. I wanted to say to him, “how can you run multiple projects for multiple networks/clients at the same time?” It’s no different. It’s about time management and focus and I’m a very focused and efficient person and give 1000% to every project I take on. So, doubt is a big issue for me, and I don’t do doubt!
I’ve always gone against the grain. You say right, I’ll go left. It’s why I think I’ve been able to start so many careers in my life and start at the top. I believe it can happen and it does. I’m fortunate and grateful for every phase. With Bath Slut, it’s the same. I’ve got hurdles. Between the name ‘slut’ and making a niche product like bubble bath, it’s not an easy road! But I am relentless because I’m passionate about it. I’m passionate about self-care, mental health, and body positivity. I’m also passionate about women’s rights and doing what makes you feel good…no judgement, no guilt. For me, that starts in the bath. There is nothing more liberating than being naked and loving the skin you’re in. I want everyone to feel that way. It shouldn’t matter what size, color, religion etc. you are…everyone should feel sexy and confident and not bound by the constraints of a name like, ’slut’.
If you look up the etymology of the word, ’slut’, it dates to the 14th century in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and it referred to a poorly dressed man whose dress wasn’t on par with his professional rank. Many iterations later, here we are, finding a way to spin the narrative once again and bash and shame women. It’s sad and unnecessary and needs to stop! Everyone should do what they want when they want and with whomever they want. Period!
Now if I can get Instagram and Facebook to understand this and let me buy ads and not block me because of ‘slut’ or some of my product names like, ‘Booty Call’, I’d be happier. That’s the next hurdle…there’s always one around every corner when you build a business!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If I had a friend visiting me in NJ, I’d take them to Asbury Park. It’s like a little Venice Beach on the Jersey shore. Lots of good restaurants and bars. The vibe is chill but creative.
If we were going into NYC I’d take them to my favorite restaurant of 30 years, Raoul’s on Prince Street in Manhattan. Franco pours the best martinis in town. We’d shop around SOHO and Nolita. I used to say going above Chelsea would give me a nosebleed! I still say that but more as a joke because I live in NJ! I’m the “bridge and tunnel” crowd now but it’s ok because I live on a farm. The air is nice, and the environment is mellow. A nice change to the city.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have a lot of family and friends who deserve credit in my story, but some are my friend and designer extraordinaire, Denise Velez. We met in our early years at Estée Lauder (she was a designer, and I was in marketing). When I started my BS journey, I knew she would be the perfect person to help me create a look for the brand! She’s amazingly talented and I am grateful she’s in my life! And, my sister, Emelia, a partner in life but also a partner in business. She guides me on all things financial even when I don’t want to listen to her which, btw, is often! Sorry Em…I love you! My best friend and ultimate Bath Slut tester, Ami Mountford. We’ve known each other since we were 23!! She has been on this journey with me since the beginning, has tried every iteration of every bubble bath base, every scent, helped me name them, etc. She has been my rock! I’m thankful for her in so many ways. And, my husband, Billy. Also, a TV producer/content creator, he has stepped out of his realm and taught himself about product photography and building a website and I think he’s done a phenomenal job with both! The pictures and website are gorgeous!
Other: TikTok – bathslut or bathslut official