Kickass Entrepreneur: Lavish
Carly Hansen’s passion for aromatherapy, essential oils and natural body care started at a young age. Even in her teens she was stirring up bath salts, hand mixing lotion, pouring massage oils and bottling up air fresheners on her mom’s kitchen table. Eventually she decided it was time to sell her products and started first at swap meets and farmers markets. After a few years and lots of customer interest Hansen partnered with her sister, Jill Hansen, who also had a love for the handmade products, and together they opened their store, Lavish, in 2004 in Mission Hills.
Lavish offers essential oils, soaps, lotions, face care, makeup, baby products, bath products, alkaline water, vitamins and organic snacks. They make their products from scratch right in the store using 100 percent pure and natural plants and botanicals. Now in their 11th year in business, the sisters are still thriving and loving what they do.
Q: How is Lavish different from other products on the market?
Carly: Our goal at the Lavish store is to make skincare that is pure, natural, healthy, nontoxic and earth friendly. The foundation of our business is aromatherapy which means using essential oils for therapeutic benefits.
Jill: Our products serve a purpose -- better health. Many mainstream products these days burden your body with chemicals and toxins, but ours don’t. We call it healthy beauty. If you’re going to use skin, bath, body and home products, why wouldn’t you just use ones that are natural?
Q: What are the upsides and downsides to working with family?
Carly: Call me a liar, but I really see no downside at all to working with my sister. In fact for the entire 11 years of working side by side I have always said I can’t imagine doing this alone or with anyone else. We’re actually super compatible, have similar visions and goals, and support each other 100 percent. We’ve shared a lot of wonderful memories and had many moments where we are laughing so hard we can’t breathe.
Jill: Being able to trade neck massages, babysitting duty and clothes is definitely a perk.
Q: Describe your most perfect day in San Diego?
Carly: A day that involves eating a Jimmy Carter’s shredded beef taco, shrimp enchilada smothered in Tlaquepaque sauce, rice, beans, chips and salsa is completely fine for me. If you don’t know Jimmy, get to know him. Thank me at Lavish next time you come in. Oh, our zoo and beaches are nice, too.
Jill: I love anything near the water, like tide-pooling at Point Loma, kayaking Mission Bay or spending the day at the Maritime Museum with my son, followed by some yummy gelato.
Q: Companies or CEOs that you admire?
Carly: I admire the business strategy and story behind Amy’s kitchen. The husband/wife team started the organic food company from scratch, using their house and barn as headquarters. Today they are still privately (family) owned, employ more than 1,900 people and gross around $300 million.
Jill: The charity work of MalariaNoMore.org is very important to me. In fact, we donate 10 percent of proceeds from our brand of Botanical Me aromatherapy products to them. The funds we raise help buy bed nets and medical treatments to fight malaria in Africa.
Q: Motto or quote you love to live by?
Jill: “Follow your passion. Be prepared to work hard and have patience, and your soul will be fulfilled.”
Carly: “You never know until you try.” And I am glad I tried.
Q: Best part about doing business in San Diego?
Carly: Our customers are so sweet and loyal to us. People are really friendly and relaxed here and they love supporting their local shops. We live in a city where people care about their health and their appearance, so they appreciate a store like ours, which is so nice.
Jill: Our weather! We literally keep our door open pretty much every day out of the year. I think we take that for granted sometimes.
Q: The beauty regimen or products you can’t live without?
Carly: I have the worst chapped lip problem! I don’t know what it is but they flake and peel so much! Our lip balm is transformative. I formulated it with so much vitamin E; I don’t know what I was thinking. Plus, it has raw shea butter, mango butter and beeswax. Best lip balm on earth. It makes my lips look brand new or what I like to call a “lip replacement.”
Jill: I can’t go through a day without using essential oils. I put eucalyptus in my shower to clear my sinuses. I put tea tree on my toothbrush. I clean my kitchen with lemongrass. Oh, and my family won’t sleep without spraying lavender Nighty Night pillow mist on our beds.