Little Moon Essentials and Bubble Creek Soap Co. bring local flair to body care products
July 13, 2008
Where to buy:
Little Moon Essentials
– All That Jazz
– Healthy Solutions
– Lyon’s Corner Drug
– Bamboo Market
– Steamboat Art Co.
– Market on the Mountain
Bubble Creek Soap Co.
– Montgomery’s General Merchandise
– Leisure Mountain Studio
– Flat Tops Ranch Supply
– South Routt Nursery
– Bonfiglio Drug
– Elk River Farm and Feed
– Hayden Marketplace
When Little Moon Essentials founder Laura Lamun was trying to name her new exhaustion-relieving rosemary, eucalyptus and vetiver bath salt, a friend suggested calling it the “Tired Old Ass Soak.”
Despite her misgivings about the thoroughly unmarketable name, Lamun went with it, and before long, the Tired Old Ass Soak had become her No. 1 seller, with fans of all ages – and genders – who just couldn’t get enough.
“I really like it when the men call – just the idea of men calling the toll free number on the back of a beauty product,” Lamun said. “I once had a guy call in and say, ‘I love that Tired Old Ass Soak – can I get a gallon?'”
Lamun started Little Moon Essentials in 1994, six months before moving to Steamboat Springs from the Front Range. She started by selling bulk bath salts at a local health food store, where the first 10 pounds of her “Letting Go” ginger bath sold out the first day.
Little Moon Essentials began in Lamun’s kitchen, where she made her products on the stovetop. She’d been making bath salts as gifts for years, and she offered them up for sale at a friend’s suggestion.
With sales topping $1 million each year, Little Moon Essentials is going international this year, starting by shipping its products to Scotland.
The move from homemade gifts to big business opportunities is a common theme among local beauty and cosmetic producers. Bubble Creek Soap Co., a business venture helmed by Abbey and Belle Horn, began when the two young girls from McCoy expanded what had been an at-home hobby into a unique way to save for college.
“For Valentine’s Day, I wanted to make soap on a rope for girls, except on necklaces. I used a heart-shaped ice cube mold for the soap, and everyone loved it,” said Abbey, 13. “I had a friend who wouldn’t get out of the shower until she got the necklace out.”
Since the girls began making soap in their basement at the ages of 6 and 4, Bubble Creek Soap Co. has grown to selling its shower gels, soaps, bath salts, lip glosses and lotions at stores across Routt County, in addition to farmers markets and craft fairs.
As an herbalist and aromatherapist, Lamun’s favorite part of running the business continues to be making up her “potions.”
“Nature provides us with these amazing remedies – we just put ’em in a jar,” Lamun said.
Little Moon Essentials has expanded throughout the years from its initial bath salt to full lines of sugar scrubs, lips salves, lotions, mists and splashes, massage oils and cleansers.
“I started really making things for me. Then when I ran out of those, I started making things other people need,” Lamun said.
Little Moon Essentials’ success doesn’t mean there haven’t been some missteps along the way.
“I did do a terrible thing once. I made a tumeric bath salt,” Lamun said. “It stained my bathtub, it stained my feet yellow, my hands were stained yellow.”
Lamun prides herself on seeking out exotic salts with lots of trace minerals, from places as disparate as the Utah desert and Japan, and creating unique combinations of essential oils.
“People always walk around (the warehouse) and they say, ‘What’s that smell?'” Lamun said. “It could be pretty much anything – a combination of 150 different scents.”
However, many ingredients in Little Moon Essentials products are common to most households: sugar, olive oil, salt.
Most of the components of Bubble Creek Soap Co.’s products still are bought at Costco, other than the 50-pound bricks of wholesale starter soap that the Horns go through on a regular basis.
“A lot of people don’t know there’s so many products that can be easily done at home,” Abbey said. “The recipes are easy to find online.”
With her products being all natural, cruelty-free and as organic as she can get, Lamun said she is trying to create a culture. Indeed, Little Moon Essentials’ die-hard customers are as passionate about the products as they are about their lifestyle.
“This one lady asked if the negative energy in her house could affect the products,” Lamun said.
Little Moon Essentials plans to launch its first shampoos and conditioners for the Christmas season, and Lamun is beginning work on a facial line. Essential oil toothpaste also is on her shortlist.
Although Bubble Creek Soap Co. has fans of all ages, its products are mostly marketed to girls about the same ages as Abbey and Belle.
“We’ve tried new things. I’m working on a sports line,” said Belle, 11. “It’s kind of grown with us.”
The girls’ favorite products to make are also their favorites to use – Abbey is gung-ho for lip glosses, her favorite scent being honeydew melon. Belle raves about Bubble Creek Soap Co.’s lotion line.
“She wants to smell like frosting all the time,” Abbey said about her sister.
– Story by Melinda Dudley