Anne-Marie Faiola, CEO of Bramble Berry Inc. in Bellingham, was named the 2011 Washington Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Seattle district office.
Bramble Berry sells raw materials — including shea butter, lavender essential oil and palm oil — to soap and toiletry artisans all over the world.
Bramble Berry was started by Faiola in 1998 with $15,000 on a credit card and has since grown to include multiple ventures and $3.1 million in revenue. And with a blog, a separate retail store and separate manufacturing facility, Bramble Berry continues to expand its reach into the soap and toiletry market.
“Anne-Marie demonstrates the passion and drive needed for successful entrepreneurs,” SBA Seattle district director Nancy Porzio said in a press release. “She self-funded her start-up company in her living room and has since then expanded the company to over 3 million in annual revenue. The company is currently debt free — except a warehouse mortgage obtained through the SBA 504 loan program — and has been profitable for 13 straight years.”
An independent panel of judges selected the SBA award winners based on several criteria, including: staying power, business growth, increase in employees, response to adversity, innovation, leadership and contributions to the small business community, and evidence of community-oriented projects.
“Anne-Marie exhibited strength in all areas,” SBA regional administrator Calvin W. Goings said in a press release.
As the state winner, Faiola will compete with 53 winners from across the country for the National Small Business Person of the Year Award in Washington D.C.
“I know she will represent the state of Washington well,” Goings said in the release.
The Washington State SBA Small Business Awards’ Event — A Big Night for Small Business — will be held in Seattle on April 21 at the Museum of Flight.