Issue 1

More bubbles, less troubles Building a sustainable business by pursuing your childhood passion

“Do one thing, but do it well”, creatives and entrepreneurs claim. Patricia Szczeniowska and her father live up to that by creating one of the greatest bubble soap formulas in Europe. Meet Pet & Pat Seifenblasen, as Patrycja speaks about her passion of building up a small and sustainable business.

Children have gathered around us, and even grown-up strollers stop to watch the miracle happen. Patrycja moves the two connected wooden sticks high in the air, and slowly diverges them. This is the moment when we turn all excited and the children’s eyes get sparkling: a gigantic round bubble gets released, and this wonderful unique shape flies off with the soft wind to find its way through the summer air.

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“This is beautiful”, people whisper and follow the bubble with colourful reflections of the blue sky. Some elder women walk by and freeze as they see the huge shape moving about in the air. They stare at us astonished, with their mouth open, which thens fades into a warm smile.

It seems that we all connect to these unique shapes.

They have the power to bring us back to our childhood.

Watching the bubble myself, I am wondering: Will it pop? Bubbles always do at some point. It’s their natural path and purpose. Our younger audience wishes that the masterpiece would live forever, their eyes tell me. Then it happens. Our bubble literally vanishes into the thin summer air. What will be the shape and the color of the next soap bubble? Nobody knows yet for sure. Let’s give it a try and see for myself!

It’s a sunny day in mid-July. We are at one of the most historical and open fields of Berlin, in Tempelhof. This 300 hectare area used to be an airport serving the US Army during Berlin Airlift back in 1948, when an airplane landed here every other minute. Today, it’s an open field where locals skate, kite, and in general, enjoy their freedom. I am here to meet Patricia Szczeniowska – not for a historical tour but to make bubbles!

“When you look through a bubble, your perspective changes: like a mirror, one very moment changes and flies through the world” -- Peter Szczeniowski

It was also her father Peter who got inspired by Californian bubble-star Gary Thomas on a Polish street art festival back in 1990. That day, Gary got invited to join the family dinner, and he told the story about how he quit his academic career to earn a living with bubble shows. The dinner then turned out to be a three-days workshop: Gary and Peter became friends and toured downtown together to show the world the beauty of bubbles.

Patricia’s father was eager to learn everything about soap formulas. Shortly after the Californian artist’s departure, Peter started to decipher the secret formula. Soon he convinced a researcher at a chemical institute to help him out. It cost him a fortune to do so, but the investment was worth it.

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More than a decade later, Patricia decided to take foot in a different city. A place, where artist go to get inspired: the vibrant city of Berlin. She was looking to perfect the soap formula, and performed bubble arts on the streets to pay her rent. When she ran out of soap, Patricia had to turn to a bigger soap producer for help – and three weeks later she found herself in a bubble bottle universe with more than 600 litres of non-sellable testers that were just perfect for her purpose. What seemed to be a ridiculously naive idea in the first place soon fruited and Patricia opened up her business Pet & Pat Seifenblasen.

Once they created the secret formula, they opened their online shop for artists, and of course, for children and their parents. Patricia explains that the greatest bubble performing artists use Pet & Pat Seifenblasen, thanks to their durability and flexibility. In 2011, they almost beat the world record with a seven meter big bubble!

“You start with manufacturing the soap itself, using the right water. Not any kind of course – it’s the soft water containing low quantities of lime scale that make the best bubbles”, Patricia shares a little of their secret. “There are infinite different shapes and color spectrums one can create with these bubbles. Of course, you need the right material too!” Patricia experimented a lot with different sticks and robes to create unique shapes.

The father-daughter’s mission is to create the most flexible, durable and greatest soap formula on this planet. And they seem to succeed: the professional bubble community stands behind their passion driven business, but more importantly: thousands of children enjoy their products with a wonderful smile every day.

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It’s not always easy to sustain a passion like this, explains Patricia. There are many copycat soap makers and money driven businessmen who apply their concept. Nevertheless, after seven years in the business Patricia is still very fond of bubbles, and constantly improves her secret formula — to get many people involved with the beauty of bubble shapes and forms. With support of her father Peter, the team Szczeniowski continues to take people on a colorful journey back to childhood.

More bubbles, less troubles they say.

(Text & Photos: Flavio Loetscher)