A conversation with Noni Doig, the founder of Lavami and a maker of skin care made by nature.
C: What is your background before Lavami?
ND: I have a background in science and a degree in Geology. Before starting Lavami I worked as a geologist for an oil company back home for 5 years. I did a lot of geochemistry and drilled a lot of wells.
C: Your products are all natural and based in natural health, yet your background is in chemistry- did it paradoxically help you to make better soap? What knowledge were you able to apply directly?
ND: Body care is a mix of science and art. Yes the chemistry knowledge helped, but it was ultimately my own struggle with psoriasis that helped me create the products I sell today. It took a lot of trial and error to get everything right!
C: You are a real maker, you developed your product yourself and you produce it from scratch by yourself in large quantities- what is your biggest challenge as a maker? What does it mean to make a soap from scratch- or how do you think you are different from other soap makers?
ND: My biggest challenge seems to be time. It takes time to make the products and its hard to find time to create and test new products. I have so many ideas, but I can't seem to ever get to it. Making soap from scratch is adding all of the raw ingredients together, creating reactions, and then making it look and smell pretty. I want my soap and products to look different than other soap makers, that is the way I would like to set myself apart and distinguish myself.
C: When and why did you begin to make soap and how long did it take to develop your line? What was most encouraging to go on, what gave you believe that it would work?
ND: I began making products because I have psoriasis. It was bad as a teenager, and occasionally I get flare-ups now. I have to be careful with what I put on my skin and all my products are tested on myself first. It took me 5 years to get my full line together. I believe in my products and what I do, that gives me the strength to be persistent and go on. I still have my moments and wonder if I can make this work!
C: When do you feel most creative with your product?
ND: I feel most creative after interactions with my customers. I always come up with great ideas after I get some positive feedback, is also gives me some reassurance. From talking to people I get an understanding for what their needs are and the wheels instantly start turning.
C: How long does and what does it take to come out with a new product?
Months, maybe even years. I always write down my ideas, think about it for a few weeks, do some research, make a small test batch, test it on my friends, and make adjustments if necessary. If it passes the tests, it needs to be produced and that can take weeks.
C: Your recipes- where do you go for new flavor and ingredient combination inspiration?
ND: Honestly, it kind of just comes to me. I've got a few favorite essential oils and all my blends contain them. When I discover a new essential oil that I love, it gets incorporated into the next new product.
C: Where do you get your ingredients from?
ND: They are sourced from all over the world. I'm picky about my sources and ensure that every ingredient is non-GMO, sustainable, socially responsible and high quality. It takes a lot of research to find what I'm looking for.
C: Your favorite product and why?
ND: Tough, Elixir facial serum as it does amazing things for my face. But the body butter is amazing. Leaves the rest of my body hydrated and soft.
C: The colors of your soap are very beautiful, is it just a result of the ingredients?
ND: Yes! Everything is naturally colored whether it be by botanicals, the essential oils, clays or charcoals.
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