The Faces Of Hot Springs
Simon Holdings, Inc.
Charlene and Justin Simon have been cleaning up in the cosmetic industry. From their first storefronts in Hot Springs and Eureka Springs, their Bathhouse Soapery & Caldarium Boutiques have spread to St. Charles, Missouri, where Lewis and Clark began their famous western expedition, and Natchitoches, Louisiana, the setting of Steel Magnolias.
For Charlene Simon, her boutiques are a labor of love. “I began making soap and cosmetics at my kitchen table when I was 19. We had three littles at home, and Justin was on a Naval submarine,” she says. What began as a decade-long hobby became a Hot Springs storefront in 2009, and has only grown since. “We’ve been 100 percent debt-free from the beginning,” says Charlene. “That and our first shop’s success has created the launch and growth of our multiple other brands.”
The reigning Mrs. Arkansas’ various entrepreneurial ventures are ruled by a philosophy of self-sufficiency. “I truly believe in self-care. You have to put on your mask first before helping others, and in my line of work I’m talking about a facial mask,” she says. “If you can’t love, care for and honor your own existence, it’s impossible to do it long term for others.” Charlene believes that providing skincare products, spectacular boutique experiences and a team dedicated to customer service is vital to promoting self-care among Arkansans.
Bathhouse Soapery is part of the larger Simon family business, which includes Fat Bottomed Girls Cupcakes, Evilo Oils and Vinegars and The Pioneer’s Cabin. “I’m so proud that I get to work alongside my spouse and family every day,” says Charlene. “I’m grateful to watch my children carry on our legacy and redefine it in their own entrepreneurial journeys,” referring to her daughter Mackenzie, who has joined the business as the owner of Fat Bottomed Girls Cupcakes.
Charlene’s husband and business partner, Justin Simon, shares his spouse’s entrepreneurial enthusiasm. “She has so much passion and skill in soapmaking, and it has always been my pleasure to contribute in any way I can,” he says. Like his wife, Justin is proud of their organization’s debt-free philosophy and upward mobility. “It’s been like a rocket ship since the opening of our first location,” he says. “I always tell our staff ‘This is as small as we’ll ever be,’ because we are always growing and expanding our lines and brands.”
Beyond their lucrative businesses, the Simons are proud promoters of Hot Springs’ downtown revitalization. “I love old buildings, and renovating a storefront in Hot Springs was the perfect place to start. Now I’m hooked and can’t wait for our next project,” says Justin.
The Simons believe their work together has only drawn them closer to one another. “I admire my husband. We’ve been married since I was 15 and he was 18, and since he’s been my biggest cheerleader and supporter, I strive every day to be his companion” says Charlene. Her husband agrees. “You all get to see her business accomplishments, but I get to appreciate the most amazing friend, spouse and mother she is as well.”
The Simons attribute their success to a shared work ethic. “Charlene and I have worked for everything we have, and I appreciate when I meet people with a drive like ours,” Justin says, proudly.