Before Josh quit his job this time last year, we had many discussions about the workload running a small business required. With him coming from construction, a steady job where he could clock in and clock out feeling great about the work he did that day, I was worried he would think this would be a walk in the park. To think back to that time and what I thought was a good understanding of what we were taking on, makes me giggle at how ignorant we really were.
Even though Lexi and I had been working with Holly day in and day out for years now, we could have never prepared for what owning and running Lotion Bar Cafe would actually require. To walk these footsteps this past year has brought an immense amount of clarity, along with crazy amounts of stress and mental anguish. Everything we thought would be easy started out that way but soon proved the opposite. We thought we knew exactly how to keep Lotion Bar Cafe alive. We didn’t.
Ultimately, we didn’t build this business from the ground up. It wasn’t our baby to nurture and grow for these past 16 years. And what we have found out is that those hard, character building years in early business are REALLY important. Holly evolved and grew Lotion Bar into what it is today. It didn’t happen overnight. And along the way she met some amazing people in her field that thrived off one another and built a community full of knowledge and understanding. None of which we were personally a part of. With all of that said, yes, we did have the knowledge of how to make the products she formulated. Outside of that though, we really didn’t have much background in the ‘how’ or ‘why’ of it all. That made it incredibly hard for us to feel deeply connected to our products, and near impossible for us to create new ones based on our own creativity and ideas.
There came a point recently where we were coming into work each day with a sense of dread. A dread that stemmed from not having a true, burning passion for LBC. It felt like we weren’t doing meaningful work, which was hard for us because this was Holly's “legacy”, her baby, her passion all wrapped up into one business- Lotion Bar Cafe. So when we were coming in each day dreading the mundane, we felt an immense sense of guilt. We were left feeling disconnected from the business with no purpose or vision for the future.
How then, would it be possible for us to keep LBC going? That was a question burning each of our brains for days and weeks until we could make sense of our emotions, something only achieved through hard conversations among each other. We thought through various worst case scenarios; one of which being closing Lotion Bar completely. And it really would be a lie to say we were completely against that possibility. But even through the woes of owning a business, there was a sense of purpose and desire for making a change, and having an impact. We knew we had an important story to tell and narrative to speak. One that could be shared through Lotion Bar Cafe. It was like a tiny little flame ignited in our hearts. A connection was made and we realized… Holly's legacy wasn’t just about the physical products she formulated. Her legacy was Her. Her heart, her giving spirit, her immense love for connecting to people, everything she stood for and what was truly important to her. All of which was her own purpose and vision, Lotion Bar Cafe being a reflection of all that. Through her pouring herself into LBC we became known for all of the amazing qualities she presumed. And it’s something that fundamentally shaped who we are, as a business, and as adults. Something that will always have a lasting impact on us. But with that in mind, know that it is impossible for us to live up to all that Holly was. And by that I mean, we are not Holly. Holly was one of a kind and although we loved and learned lots from her, we are now becoming our own individuals. It’s a realization that what Lotion Bar Cafe once was will never be. It will never be the same without Holly. We tried living the lie this past year that everything was okay and that things would carry on as normal...but how could they? As much as we wish this wasn’t our reality, we had to come to terms with the fact that she was gone and we had a new normal to get used to- whether we liked it or not. Now it feels like it’s time we take what Holly taught us and evolve into something new. Something that is true to us. Lotion Bar Cafe will always be a place of inspiration, and love, and community. It just has different faces leading it forward in a newer direction.
Going forward, we will be making some very vital changes to Lotion Bar Cafe, starting immediately and continuing throughout the next year or so. These changes include but are not limited to:
- Changing from a business model of “Handcrafted, All Natural Bath and Body Treats.” to one that offers us a bit more freedom going forward with our vision. Our new model will be, “Cruelty and Paraben Free, Made with Clean Ingredients, and Safe-Synthetics when Necessary.”
- Though Holly was doing amazing, life changing things through Lotion Bar Cafe, we never had an official mission or vision statement. This is something that we knew we needed, so we thought long and hard on it and ultimately found that our passion was in the realm of self-care, with our official mission being, “To revitalize peoples’ self worth by crafting thoughtful bath and body products that fit their unique needs throughout their self-care journey.” With an ultimate goal, or vision of, “Taking the selfish out of self-care.” We strive to be the place of inspiration, love, empowerment, and acceptance, so you can go out into the world knowing your worth and spreading that feeling to others.
- An outline of our values:
- Diversity/ inclusiveness
- Open-Minded Thinking
- Giving back to the local community
- Speaking out for those whose voices aren’t heard
- Advocating for what we believe in.
- Because of the change in our business model, we will be discontinuing some products and saving some for later. A list of discontinued products include:
- Shampoo Bars
- Lotion Bars and Tubes
- Room Sprays
- Laundry Butter
- Candle Melts
- Eye Shadow
- Goats Milk Soap
- Bath Whip
- Baby Lotion
- Solid Shave Soaps (in the brown container)
- Face Cream
Products that we will not be actively producing but not discontinuing include:
- Baby soap
- Baby Fizzies
- Baby Booty Balm
* With this in mind, these lists have been well thought through and we understand it will mean lots of you may be out of your favorite product. It has been a hard choice for us to make, but just know that we made these decisions with the best intentions and they were necessary for us to make in the long run.
So what can you expect from us going forward?
The biggest change you will probably notice is the products that we have cut out. As of April 27th we are not continuing to produce products that were listed above. Other than that, a lot of the changes will be gradual. Our content that you will see will reflect our mission and vision and will be true to us and our purpose going forward. We ask for your continued patience as we navigate through our new found clarity and the future of Lotion Bar Cafe. Everything we have decided on is in respect to Holly and the path that we believe she would want for us. Much love to you all, and thank you for understanding.
Bree, Lexi and Josh-The Lotion Bar Cafe Team