Edible Sarasota: Lolablue Soaps

Here’s another story from our Edible Sarasota Summer issue about decadently-scented, eco-friendly Lolablue soaps and the incredible superwoman behind them, Jamie Lovern.  Plus, a killer recipe for homemade laundry soap that’ll leave you so fresh and so clean.

 

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WORDS BY MEGAN GREENBERG
PHOTOS BYJENNY ACHESON

 

With a name like Jamie Lovern, you can’t be putting out products that people hate. You just can’t. It would defy the laws of nature.

And Jamie Lovern is not about to defy the laws of nature. In fact, her business— Lolablue, which makes eco-friendly soaps, candles, lotions, and even bug spray— does everything in its power to bring the best of what’s out there into your home.

“Indulge Yourself. Respect Mother Earth,” reads Lolablue’s tagline, setting the stage for products that are both luxurious and eco-conscious. “I’ve always been drawn to the Earth and the peacefulness of being one with nature, so I make my products with ingredients that bring back that balance so you can feel good about using them,” says Jamie, referring to the organic soy and essential oils in her line, and the palm oil she makes sure to leave out.

Saving the Earth aside, these seasonal sugar scrubs, hydrating lip balms, soaps made with pure essential oils, and candles that smell so good you could serve them with a knife and fork, are amazing and just a few of the incredible things Jamie has been—oh, ya know—tinkering with for the past decade. What started as an after-work hobby has blossomed into a full-blown occupation.

 

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A new career began to take shape after Jamie’s 15 years hunched over her computer as a graphic designer began sending her home sore. “My neck and shoulders hurt all the time,” Jamie says. “I was over the corporate environment and wanted to be creative but I didn’t know where to start.”

So, to ease her daily stress, Jamie’s relaxation modus operandi was to burn candles. Which seemed to be working well until her husband, DJ, found an article about the detriments of paraffin wax and how a seemingly innocuous candle was really just a cup of carcinogens. And there you have it, that’s how a few backaches and some bad news turned out to be just the beginning of Lolablue. Instead of living in a cold, dark existence of a candleless life, Jamie ordered a kit from an online company while researching the benefits of soy.

That kit, and a few gorgeous vintage glass holders from Goodwill, ignited the flame of a bright, new career. Homemade gifts for friends turned into big orders from customers and in 2003 Jamie launched Lolablue, named after her childhood nickname, Lola (earned because of her unwavering love of Manilow-style ’70s music) and her love for the big, blue Earth.

In 2005, after birthing son Dakota, Jamie began freelancing, allowing her to earn income while still focusing on her favorite craft (and while coordinating diapers and feeding times). By 2007, the company required full-time attention, so Jamie left corporate life for good, turning her garage into her new workspace and filling orders for her eco-friendly, recyclable, stupidly delicious-smelling goods, all with the smart look and feel one might expect from a previous graphic designer.

What started with candles quickly turned into a more expansive selection as Jamie’s craftsmanship evolved, demanding that this once one-woman, at-home candle production turn into a full-tilt family affair with both Jamie and her husband working farmers’ markets, handling corporate accounts, filling orders, and creating goods out of their new warehouse.

“We were outgrowing our house. Soaps were curing in the office, in our hall closets, in the garage. We needed more space!” Jamie says. “We now work out of a warehouse/office off Toledo Bay in North Port, where customers can shop from 10am–2pm on Saturdays and see the whole process in action.”

Can’t get to North Port for four hours on a Saturday? That’s OK. As you might have guessed, this former designer’s website is easier to use than body lotion and will ship right to your shower door.

You can find Lolablue products all over Sarasota and beyond. Bliss Spa sells her completely natural (read non-synthetic: preservative/sulfate/ phosphate-free) body goods, while locals load up on her bug spray at Longboat Key Club.

“We’re growing. Worldwide is the goal and we’re on our way!” Jamie boasts without even a hint of bragging, her pride stemming more from her passion than her paycheck.

Lolablue has quite a future. Just this year Lolablue products were featured in MTV’s 2013 Movie Award swag bags while spas across the nation are lining up for Lolablue goods. Jamie’s always at work on new products but she’s not in a rush, saying, “I’d rather take my time and develop something really great than hurry to make something sub-par.” “The sky’s the limit,” Jamie Lovern exclaims. And for this company, it’s more than true. With products that smell good enough to eat—and, with such wholesome ingredients, probably are—Lolablue is headed straight for the top.

Lolablue: 1090 Innovation Ave. A-112, North Port; 941-564-9207; lolablueliving.com

 

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Lolablue’s Easy Peasy Laundry Soap

INGREDIENTS

1 box borox
1 box washing soda (Arm & Hammer)
2 bars of your favorite Lolablue soap (finely grated)
1 sprinkle or so of baking soda

PREPARATION

Mix Well.