Today on 2LWithIt, we’ve got Ms. Elizabeth Sawchak, owner & founder of Lotus Soap Shop! *cue round of applause from the world wide web*
—So, let’s start with the obvious, the unique name of your shop! How’d you come up with the name?
I’ve always loved lotus flowers. Last year as a birthday present to myself, I got a lotus flower tattoo on the inside of my left arm. For years I read a lot about the meaning behind the lotus flower, and it just really resonated with me. If you ever get a chance, look up the quote about the lotus flower from Goldie Hawn. It sums up everything I love about it. When I started realizing I could turn my soap making into a business, I knew instantly I wanted to incorporate the lotus flower into my shop name.
—Your website says the shop came to be on accident. Tell us more!
You’re right, it totally was an accident! Last year, around this time, I started experimenting with different handmade gifts to give my family, friends, and coworkers. I first tried out soy candles, but then somehow stumbled upon melt and pour soaps and I fell in love.
I handed my soaps out as gifts that Christmas and people loved them! They started asking if I could make them more – and they wanted to actually pay me for it. That’s when I realized I could turn my new hobby into a business. I joke it happened by accident because an attempt to give handmade gifts became a small business totally unexpectedly. I eventually found my way to scrubs and here I am! I still do custom melt and pour soap orders, and hope to bring those to the public soon.
—How’d you get into essential oils? Do you have a favorite scent and/or brand?
A coworker of mine gave me a diffuser to use in my classroom a few years ago. I had never used oils before, but getting my first diffuser led me to researching and trying different oils, blends, and brands. Now I’m hooked and use them constantly in my daily life outside of my business.
I’ve been a fan of peppermint oil since the beginning, but also love rosemary, sage, lavender, and tea tree. Not to mention all the different blends that are available. My favorite brand by far is Edens Garden. They sell single oils, blends, and a variety of other products. They recently came out with a line geared towards kids, too. Not to mention they are 100% pure oils, woman-owned and operated, and they are partnered with a couple different charities.
—What was the first product Lotus Soap Shop released?
The first product I released for sale last year was an Oats & Honey soap bar. The very first product released online was the Rosemary Mint Hand & Body Scrub. Soon after that was the Lavender, then the fall edition scrubs. Now we have Coconut added to our permanent collection and Sugar Cookie, Candy Cane, and Gingerbread in our holiday collection. There are some exciting new scents coming to the permanent collection soon.
—What’re the benefits of using a scrub?
Scrubs are incredible for exfoliation. They help remove those dead, dry skin cells and leave your skin feeling nice and smooth. They also moisturize the skin to add to that silky, soft feeling. I use a sea salt and Epsom salt base, but add organic coconut oil to help with hydration. Depending on the scrub, I may also add vitamin E and/or almond oil. Exfoliation is key this time of year, and a bonus if you are an avid spray tanner, since exfoliating is essential to a good spray tan.
—Do you just use them on your legs & arms? Other uses? Other places?
The ones available right now can be used on the body in the shower. I love using them on my hands, legs, feet, shoulders, back…anywhere, really! I recommend avoiding those lady parts and the face though. I say to avoid the face because salt scrubs are more abrasive than say, sugar scrubs. I’m hoping to add some sugar scrubs specifically for the face in the future.
You can also keep a scrub by the sink to use on your hands. My hands get super dry in the winter and I feel the scrubs totally save me this time of year. I find myself having to use lotion on my hands less often now that I have the scrubs. Keeping a jar by the kitchen sink is great too, especially if you’re hand-washing dishes.
—How long would you recommend customers keep their scrubs? Do they expire?
I recommend six months to a year, but if you’re using the scrubs a couple times a week like you should, you’re going replenish in a couple of months. Based on the expiration date of the organic coconut oil and the essential oils I use, the scrubs can last as long as 1 ½ to 2 years, but if they’re coming in contact with water, just watch the consistency and the appearance of the scrub. I make everything in small batches to ensure freshness. Keep the lid on tight, and you’re good to go. I always recommend stirring the product with your fingers or a scoop before each use.
—Do you have a current favorite Lotus Soap Shop product or a must-have scent customers have been asking for?
Naturally, I love each of my products or else I wouldn’t promote them. However, my favorite scent by far is the Rosemary Mint. It’s definitely a customer favorite, as well as a personal favorite. It’s so refreshing, minty, and clean smelling. Lavender is a huge hit too, but not everyone is a fan of lavender. I personally find lavender very calming, and love using that scrub before I go to bed at night.
Since I launched the coconut scrub, people have been raving about that too. I wanted to really strip it down and make something that was perfect for even the most sensitive skin, without adding any essential oils. Just salts and organic coconut oil with a little vitamin E and almond oil.
—We’ve notice Lotus Soap Shop’s insta has a thing for rustic decor. Tell us more! Is this what your place looks like? What’s the connection?
My boyfriend owns an old farmhouse from the mid 1800’s that sits on 26 acres of land. A few years ago we stripped the place down to its original structure. Through the demo we found that place has so much history. It has its own story. It’s incredible to imagine what that place looked liked back when it was first built. Ever since he got that place I found myself gravitating to a more rustic, farmhouse style. I just love a rustic country feel to things. It’s what I envision that house looking like when it’s finished. I fell in love with it, and it truly inspired the feel for Lotus Soap Shop.
—When you’re not making scrubs, what do you like to do for fun?
I am SUCH a homebody. I love staying in to watch a good movie while enjoying a glass of wine. When I am up for going out though, I love seeing live music at a bar and going to concerts. Although we don’t live near a beach, we love traveling to the Outer Banks when we can. We really enjoy fishing down there. I also love doing yoga and have a new interest in golf (although I’m not too good at it).
—Describe your personal style in three words + any fun stories why.
Ha! I’m kind of all over the place. Can lazy effortless chic be a style? I have such a hard time putting outfits together. I’m definitely more of a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl, although I do like a good excuse to dress up on occasion. I get so frustrated planning outfits that I often just throw on some boots, jeans, and a top. My closet is filled with flannel and neutral tones. Leggings are a staple for me this time of year for sure, too.
Dairy Queen. I didn’t last long. I don’t do well in the cold, ha! From there I went to Hollister then Panera. I worked for Clinique at Macy’s, was a nanny for a summer, worked for a company that ran Lego parties for kids, and worked at a daycare center. All throughout I babysat on the side. I’ve held a lot of different jobs over the years. For my day job I currently teach Kindergarten.
—College major + favorite memory from college?
I have my BA in History and my Master’s in Teaching. I am certified to teach K-6. There are so many great memories from college — I loved the apartment my boyfriend and I had our junior and senior year. Our friends would gather there a lot on weekends to go out near the city. This was before uber believe it or not…we would reserve something called the “DD Limo” to take us back and forth. My best friend also had a place near the city and we would get together there a lot too. Just a lot of great memories with all of them!
—Favorite ice cream flavor and/or dessert?
I’m not huge on ice cream actually! When I order it I can hardly finish it lol. I LOVE cheesecake though! Key Lime Pie is another favorite too.
—Favorite dish to cook at home?
I’m a really awful cook, and I totally own that. However, I do make pretty good stuffed peppers! Boyfriend approved.
—Favorite wine and/or beer?
I am always up for a mimosa, and my favorite prosecco to use is a brand called Chloe. If I want red wine, I love Cupcake’s Red Velvet. Beer wise I could go on and on…Blue Moon, Longboard Island Lager (Kona Brewing), Sam Adam’s Summer Ale…and Corona in the summer, just to name a few. I tried White Claw spiked seltzer for the first time this past summer and loved it!
—Favorite beauty product?
Oh man this is tough! There was a period in my life where I was ALL about beauty products. Now I’ve become more of a minimalist in this area. However, I love the Mario Badescu facial sprays, and can’t live without my Wet N Wild Photo Focus Foundation. So inexpensive, but so good!
—What’s your beauty routine look like? Any must-have products you can’t live without?
Okay so I can’t live without my Proactiv. I used to have HORRIBLE cystic acne and it is the only thing that’s worked for me. I use the extra strength formula. I’m pretty simple when it comes to routine. I use my Proactiv twice a day, moisturize, use a facial spray, and that’s pretty much it. I need to start incorporating some anti-aging products like yesterday, though! With makeup, it depends. During the work week I usually just wear concealer and mascara, but when I have a reason to amp it up, I definitely go all out!
—Favorite workout move and/or type of workout?
Is it weird I love burpees? They’re super effective, yet challenging and easy to incorporate into any routine.
—What’s your most prized possession?
I’m not big on ‘things’ but I have this ring that my boyfriend had made for me YEARS ago. I think I’ve had it for 8-9 years now? I had always wanted a spoon ring, and he got one made for me that had flower details and the letter “E” engraved on it. I wear it almost every day.
—What’s the best vacation you’ve taken and/or hope to take in the future?
I went to Hawaii with my family when I was 16. That was unforgettable. Every year though, my boyfriend and I go to the Outer Banks. It is such a special place to us. Last year we went three different times in a six month period…One of my favorite trips we ever took was in March of this past year. It was just the two of us for almost an entire week. I think about that trip often.
—Favorite Christmas/holiday tradition?
I don’t know that there is a specific tradition that I can speak of; it’s really just Christmas in general that is so special to me. I really love being around my family more than anything.
–What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given (life, business, or otherwise)?
Business wise – ask questions. You need to ask questions. Find a mentor(s). Find a group of like-minded people who you can collaborate with and don’t be afraid to bounce ideas off of each other. When you aren’t sure of something, or want to know more about something, always ask.
—What’s the most exciting part about starting a new business from the ground up?
It’s all my own. I’m the one making the product, posting on social media, responding to emails, sending out shipments. This is the first thing in my entire life that I have felt so deeply connected to, and genuinely good at. The sense of pride I feel in my little business is immeasurable. I love that feeling, and I love connecting with so many amazing people through it all.
—Same question, but scariest thing?
It’s ALL scary! But it’s a good kind of scary. It’s a kind of scary that is so powerfully motivating. If it doesn’t challenge you, well then, why do it?
—What kind of products can our readers keep an eye out for in the future from Lotus Soap Shop?
There is so much in the works for Lotus Soap Shop. I want to expand us beyond just scrubs and launch us into a full bath and body line. Think lotions, hand soaps, lip scrubs, facial sprays, and more…I truly believe there is so much potential here, and I am so excited to continue to grow it.
—In 5 years, what do you envision Lotus Soap Shop to look like?
I hope that Lotus Soap Shop remains a natural bath and body brand with a loyal customer base, filled with a variety of products that are cherished by many. I want this to be more than scrubs. I want to see Lotus Soap Shop products in other stores. I want to have a small local shop here in Pittsburgh, where people can come in and see the products for themselves. It is a dream of mine to have my own store that people love and visit often.
To connect with Elizabeth & Lotus Soap Shop, check out these links:
As an added bonus, Elizabeth’s created a discount code for 2LWithIt readers…use “2L15” to get 15% off any order…aka perfect for last-minute, handmade Christmas/ Hanukkah/ holiday party/ just because gifts!*
*This isn’t a sponsored or affiliate post/code. All the savings go to you guys!*
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I'm a twenty-something year old recent law and business school grad living with a chronic health condition. Follow along on my shenanigans.