Beloved Bath, a bath products and candle company that provides meaningful employment for individuals with autism, celebrated the official grand opening of its new light manufacturing space on Rutgers Street in Maplewood on Saturday, April 2 — World Autism Awareness Day.
Owners Pam Kattouf of West Orange and Pat Miller of Maplewood cut a ceremonial ribbon alongside Maplewood Mayor Dean Dafis and Deputy Mayor Vic DeLuca.
They were also joined by some of the individuals with autism who work for Beloved Bath.
Miller said the company, which previously operated out of her home, now employs about a dozen young adults with autism. All Beloved Bath products are now made on site at the Rutgers Street location.
Kattouf and Miller met each other years ago and bonded when their sons were diagnosed with autism.
In an interview last year, Miller told Village Green that Beloved Bath started with bath salts “and then we moved into soaps and candles, scrubs, butter, and different products. We found it was a great vocation for individuals with autism because so many of them have so many different sensory needs and when you’re mixing and adding beautiful scents and being very task-oriented, it allows individuals with autism to break it down into simple steps and to enjoy the sensory parts of the smells and the mixing.”
“Individuals with autism are often underserved and underemployed,” said Kattouf. “Their skillset lends itself beautifully to the tasks we have at Beloved Bath, from making soaps and candles to packaging items. They take great pride in their work, and they help us create our best-selling line of products.”
Miller added, “Individuals with autism provide an untapped pool of talent and contribute to our business in so many ways. We believe it is so important to highlight their potential!”
“This is so wonderful,” said Jeannine Contreras, whose son Gabe works at Beloved Bath and joined in the ribbon cutting on April 2. “People often forget that children with autism grow up. They need ongoing support and opportunities. Pam and Pat are providing that.”
Also on hand where Jonah and Ellen Zimiles and their son Daniel who also works at Beloved Bath. The Zimiles have long been champions for the autism community, providing a welcoming environment and job training at Words Bookstore, which they have operated in Maplewood Village since 2009.
Kattouf and Miller also announced that they have launched the Beloved Bath Charitable Foundation, which serves to improve the lives of adults with autism and related disabilities. Donations support the following:
- Vocational training and services for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities.
- Education, training, and mentoring of businesses that have a goal to integrate people with autism and other developmental disabilities into their workforce.
- The awarding of grants or mentorships to families and organizations that have started businesses with the purpose of autism employment.
- The delivery of programming for adults and emerging adults to provide them with skills that are transferable to the workforce.
- The delivery of programs for parents and stakeholders about topics related to employment and adult life for those with disabilities.
Beloved Bath products are available at Perch Home in Maplewood Village and Sadie’s in South Orange. You can also purchase products online at www.belovedbath.com. To learn more about or to make a donation to the Beloved Bath Charitable Foundation, visit www.belovedbathcharitablefoundation.org.