If I could step into a photograph, you would find me in Southern Vermont.
Relish the crunching snow underfoot as the crisp winter air draws a silent breath. Fingers freezing, heart is warm.
I was first inspired by Lauren through the beautiful photographs of her homestead. Colorful arrangements of flowers, bundles of beautiful herbs, and of course, Huckleberry and the gang (her adorable dog and gaggle of hens), captured in seamless spontaneity. I felt like I was there, feeling the heat emanating from a steaming cup of tea, warming my fingers, on a cold winter morning.
As “a homesteader that happens to work with herbs,” Lauren started LaLa Earth after taking two herbal apprenticeships and finding that she had a passion for plants.
“I do everything myself, from wild harvesting, to sourcing, to producing, to bottling, to photography, to marketing through social media, and to shipping packages around the world. When I’m not doing that, I’m tending the chickens, caring for our cats and dog, cooking a TON, needle felting, and growing our first human baby in my belly.”
Around the Globe
One of the most inspiring things about Lauren is her work as an entrepreneur. While starting a small business might be a terrifying leap for most people, she poured her heart into it, and never looked back.
“I opened up an etsy account and started with about 6 products. Fast forward 6 years and I’m now fully self employed working out of our old farmhouse in Vermont, and I ship worldwide from my own website. Growth was slow but consistent, and I’m so thankful I listened (sic) and just started where I was. I can’t imagine what my life would look like now if I hadn’t taken that leap.”
Her products are now sold around the world, something that might not be imaginable for a small business before the spread of social media. (Instagram @lala_earth).
“I hands down wouldn’t have a business if it wasn’t for social media. Living in a small town I would never get the sales I’d need to keep persuing my business. My life and my business aren’t separate on Instagram, and I think that has really helped me grow to the business I am now. I think people are drawn to PEOPLE, not corporations, and it’s been so lovely to be well received and appreciated.”
Slow and Real
The products made available through LaLa Earth come at a time when people are thinking about more diverse options, and environmental impact. However, making these changes is a gradual process, as many people are hesitant to try something new. “There’s definitely some education involved when explaining different products, and I typically do that via an Instagram post or on the product listing in my shop.”
“I definitely think self care is a natural desire and most people look for it…I just like to provide people with the healthiest products to bring that self care to the next level…I’ve also seen that sometimes people start with a face cream, and then they move onto elderberry syrup for their immune system, and then they replace chemical cleaning products in their home with white vinegar, and then they start being environmentally conscious about their clothes and their food sources. All of these things are related and I like to think that my products sometimes inspire someone to radically change their life, even if it starts with simply switching a drugstore face cream for an herbal one that I made.”
It is not always easy to demonstrate the simultaneous beauty and struggle when working from off the land, but is important to show all sides of the picture. Lauren describes her experience:
“I definitely think social media promotes farming and homesteading as charming and whimsical, and sometimes doesn’t show the truly difficult parts. I try to be very transparent and honest, but I always do that behind a pretty photo. Mainly because, that’s what I want to look at! But that doesn’t take away from the realness that can be expressed through writing. I have shared a lot about the grief about losing my chickens, and the response I get is amazing. People are so supportive, and also amazed that I care for them and love them so much. I think it opens up peoples’ hearts a little bit.”
Nevertheless, its not always about the outcome, sometimes it’s more about the way of life. She also wants to inspire people to, “slow down, cook for themselves, value local ingredients, drink that morning coffee on the porch while watching the chickens peck around.”
Her best advice for those who want to follow their passions: “Do it even if you don’t know how you will make a living.”
“Start small and do something that you enjoy. You will draw likeminded people towards you that will not only support you, but inspire you and become a deeper part of your community.”
“I almost didn’t start my business because I had no idea how to ship orders and it really got in my way. I decided to just do it and opened up a shop with a handful of products. Now I have over thirty items, and I doubt I would have ever started if I thought that was something I needed to accomplish.”
Find out more about Lauren and LaLa Earth at:
EdibleSci Rapid Fire:
Hometown (where the heart lies): I grew up in Plymouth, MA and my parents still live there, but my home is definitely now Southern Vermont.
Favorite book or book character right now: Harry Potter, always.
Tool you cannot live without: A garlic press. “I love garlic, especially raw, and it’s way easier to digest when I can spread it through my meal.” Agreed!