Good morning and happy Monday! I’m happy to announce that Marketplace Monday is back today and cannot wait for you to meet Holly and her lovely Lotion Bar Cafe. (Don’t know what Marketplace Monday is all about? Click here for the original post)
What a JOY it was to be invited into Holly’s home to learn about Lotion Bar Cafe. By far, my favorite part of Marketplace Mondays has been meeting passionate business owners and hearing the stories behind their businesses. I can honestly say – without a doubt – that Lotion Bar Cafe was started with a lot of love, and that Holly continues to put her heart into every product that she creates. What a blessing it was to meet her!
I was introduced to Lotion Bar Cafe when I won a bar of soap as a door prize at an event a couple of years ago. I adored that lovely little bar of soap. I used it until it was just a tiny little sliver and I was more than a little sad when the last of its bubbles washed down the drain. And if all that Lotion Bar Cafe did was sell this amazing soap, well it would certainly be a business worth featuring. But – glory hallelujah – this company is so much more!
I present – for your consideration – exhibit A: Holly’s living room. It’s by far the most amazing smelling, well-stocked living room I’ve ever seen. And on most Saturdays you’re welcome to stop by and get yourself a little at-home-spa-pampering-skin-smoothing-smell-good-relax-and-take-a-bath kit. (Become a fan of the Lotion Bar Cafe facebook page to be kept in the loop on Holly’s Saturday hours and specials.) Would you like an up-close tour of all of the deliciousness you see here?
Let’s start with the Lotion Bar. That is, after-all, where this whole thing started. You see, one day Holly tried a lotion bar at a craft store. Then, she spent the next hour in the car trying to get the greasy stuff off of her hands. Also, during this hour, she thought to herself, I can do better. Holly, mind you, had never tried to make anything like it before. Sixteen attempts later, she had a lavender scented lotion bar that she was proud of.
It turns out that others loved it too. Before she knew it, Holly was selling the lotion bar to friends, family, and co-workers. She had three scents – lavender, orange, and lavender-orange. Today, Lotion Bar Cafe products come in too many scents to count and Holly is always coming up with something new! She has scents like Oatmeal Milk & Honey, Pink Sugar, Raspberry Vanilla, Margarita, Lemon Verbena & Thyme, Birthday Cake, and Monkey Farts – just to name a few. (I’ll let you do the research on what Monkey Farts smell like…)
Once she mastered the lotion bar, Holly began to expand. And boy did she ever broaden her offerings! You’ll find every thing from soap to bath fizzes to lip balm and eyeshadows. Your favorite scents are also sold in candles and soy melts to make your home a little more lovely.
I’m going to stop right here and tell you my favorite part about Holly’s story. You see, in 2007, when Holly came upon the idea of making the lotion bar, she wasn’t necessarily trying to start a business. But she was healing from the loss of her father. Soap making became an important part of that healing process and she fully embraced it. Five years later, Holly connected with another group of women who are going through a healing process of their own. She took her knowledge on the road and spent a weekend at a shelter in Kansas teaching soap-making to women who are victims of sex trafficking and abuse. She is now working closely with them to develop product and a business model to not only provide an outlet for creativity, but also to help fund the programs at the shelter and to bring in other women who may be in need of their services. What a beautiful, beautiful way to use one’s time and talents, no? On this particular visit, I was also excited to learn that Lotion Bar Cafe has a baby line. It features milk bath, lotions, soaps, and a little something for baby’s bootie. And have a mentioned that ALL Lotion Bar Cafe products are all natural? If your little one has sensitive skin, you might want to check out this baby line.
And finally, there’s the trash soap. Yes, I said “trash.”
When Holly makes batches of soap, she takes the little bit that is left in the bottom of the bowl and sets it aside for the trash soap. Layers upon layers later, she has a unique batch of bars that is like none other and can never be recreated. She sells these bars in exchange for a donation and all proceeds go to support her friends’ non-profit organization that works in Swaziland.
After a tour of her showroom – during which I tried to focus on photographing the products rather than smelling every.single.one of them – Holly showed me where the magic happens. This is her newly renovated soap-basement-kitchen-workshop-land. If you’re a soap-maker, then you know this room is beautiful. A cupboard full of scents and dyes. A secure stock of lye, olive oil, and Shea butter. Space to work. Lots of light. Coffee.
In fact, maybe you’re a soap maker and would like to actually learn and work in this space! Holly teaches a few classes a year – in both soap making and soap felting. Be sure to get the scoop on classes early, they sell out fast! Holly’s space is fully stocked with everything she needs to be creative – and creative she is! I was lucky enough to get a demonstration of how exactly she does it. She let me watch her make a batch of orange-blossom scented soap with flax seeds. Did you know that soap-making is actually a little bit like chemistry class? I asked Holly if she was a chemistry major and she said “no.” I’m not sure I buy it, though. This girl knows her stuff! After all of the measuring, pouring, mixing, and stirring, we had a beautiful batch of soap that will eventually be cut and dried before hitting the shelves. On that particular day, Holly had a batch of beer soap sitting out to dry. My husband later gave me a little tongue-lashing for not bringing some home to him. Needless to day, gifts for my hubby for Father’s Day are in the bag. Friends, I could go on and on about this company. (I know, I know. I already have.) Instead, I think I’ll let you just check them out for yourselves! Plenty of information can be found on the Lotion Bar Cafe Website and Facebook page or you can shop online through their Etsy shop. Additionally, many retailers around Colorado Springs, Monument, and Old Colorado City carry these products. See a partial list of retailers here.
Want to check out the other businesses featured on Marketplace Mondays? Check them out here;
Want to check out the other Marketplace Mondays? Click below!
Stir Coffee & Pie
LuLu’s Frozen Yogurt
Squeak Soda Shop
The Urban Cottage