Alaina Lipsett is the mom-turned-entrepreneur behind Sweet Lavations, specialists in handmade, small-batch bath and body products. From modest beginnings, she’s turned this hobby into a fast-growing cosmetic and skincare staple with deep roots in the 100 Mile House Community.
We caught up with Alaina to learn more about this awesome small business.
What’s the story behind the business?
I guess it all started when we moved from the Vancouver area up to 100 Mile House. We have family up here and we wanted to get out of the big city and change our lives up a bit. When I got up here, I soon realized I couldn’t get access to the same kind of cosmetic products I could in Vancouver. I’ve always thought of myself as a hardcore ‘do it yourself’ kind of person, so I just started on this path of making my own stuff. In the beginning, it was for my own use and I shared some with friends and family. Turns out, everybody really liked it and it just went organically from there. I started at the local Farmer’s Market and it just grew and grew!
How do you come up with ideas for the products you sell?
I would describe it as a very sporadic process. I’d describe it best as I wait for inspiration to come to me. I live in the Cariboo region and it’s just so beautiful and filled with nature. So often I’ll be out on a hike in the woods and a flower colour will catch my eye and I’ll think it will make for an amazing colour for a product. I’m lucky in that I’m surrounded by such natural beauty that inspiration just comes to me when I’m out and about. For other products, I really just try and create the things that I can’t find here, so a lot of it comes from necessity.
How can people buy your products?
Our products are available to ship across Canada right now from our online store. We’re also in a couple of stores here in the Cariboo region, one is Fraser & Pine who are a small business that showcase local BC artisan goods. The other is Midori’s Day Spa which is an awesome spa here in 100 Mile House, and finally, we’re at Station House Gallery in Williams Lake.
What are some of your most popular products?
So, I’ll answer that question in two parts.
The first part is that I don’t believe in over-selling something for more than it’s worth. I want to be transparent and have good morals behind my business. I’ve always wanted our products to be for all people, and I’m against the idea that high quality products should only be available to people who can afford something that might be overpriced.
With that in mind, our most popular products are probably our facial line and our body care line. I think those ones provide great dollar value. Our facial care line has just the highest quality ingredients, vitamins and things I can’t even pronounce but I know they’re good!
And then we have our body butter which is popular because it accomplishes so many things at once. I designed this product with busy people in mind. I’m in school, I have two kids and I have my business. I don’t have a lot of free time! I designed this product to do more than one thing. You can use it as a hair mass as it emulsifies into a lotion with water, you can use it as a thick body butter, or you can put it in the bath and use it as a bath oil. I really just love the idea of delivering this kind of value and different uses in our products.
This approach also helps with sustainability and minimalism. By accomplishing so much with one product, you’re cutting down on packaging, costs for the consumer, and helping the environment. It just has so many wins.
Why is it so important to support small businesses like yours?
Small businesses like Sweet Lavations are part of your community. We are the people who are here when the big stores are closed. You can come to us, speak frankly about our products, and we can hear and incorporate your feedback. I’m here if people have questions, I’m here if people need a donation for their school.
I love giving back to our community, I think it’s incredibly important Sweet Lavations stays involved and that we are productive members of the community. When people choose to shop with us, they know some of that money will go back into their community directly.
Another thing that’s important is that I live in such a small rural community and we need people living in these communities. We need to be doing everything we can to draw people to these communities. By supporting us, you’re supporting my family staying in this community and helping it to grow.
What’s your other favourite small business in BC?
I’m going to cheat a little and name two businesses. They’re both local to me so I’m a little bit biased. The first is Lolly’s Baking. It’s owned by a friend of mine, she makes gourmet marshmallows, they’re delicious and everything is handmade by her. My other favourite is called You are Lovely and she makes hair scrunchies. I always try to support other local small businesses as I see the impact they have in our community.
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Final Question: What’s your favourite place in BC?
Honestly, it’s just too difficult to choose. I’m not a big international traveller but I love travelling around British Columbia. We’ve got everything here from oceans, to mountains, fields, valleys – you name it, we’ve got it!
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We respectfully acknowledge our place of work is within the ancestral, traditional and unceded territories of the Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ilwətaʔɬ/sel̓ílwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and that we serve the Peoples of the many Nations throughout British Columbia.