What we put on our bodies is just as important as what we put into them. This mindful practice is what led Blair Wagoner to open her holistic, clean beauty shop, Lovejay. With a background in nutrition and wellness, and one clean beauty business already under her belt, Blair provides the community with a welcome space to learn more about natural beauty products and the holistic lifestyle.
Below, Blair shares her thoughts on clean beauty, takes us through a typical day in the life of a shop owner, and shares her best advice for starting a business.
Tell us about your background. What were you doing before Lovejay Beauty, and what led you to start the business?
My educational background is in Nutrition and I worked in private practice, diabetes centers, corporate wellness programs, pharma & medical device sales, and digital health sales. While I was getting my Masters in Nutrition, I had a long list of ingredients that I avoided in food including artificial colors. One day, the lightbulb went off that even though I was avoiding artificial colors in food, I was ingesting them through lipstick. The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep site which ranks cosmetic safety had just launched so I entered every single product I owned into the site to see how they ranked in terms of safety. They were all moderately to extremely hazardous so I got rid of them all and started from scratch.
That was almost 15 years ago and the accessibility of clean beauty wasn’t what it is today so I ordered everything online. After several incidences of receiving products that I didn’t like – whether it was a different color than pictured, the consistency was weird, the shade didn’t match my skin, etc. – I decided I wasn’t the only one who wanted to touch, feel, and see natural cosmetics and skincare before buying. This led me to open Fig & Flower Natural Beauty in Atlanta in 2014. I quickly sold my half to my business partner and moved to California for a couple of years before landing in Austin in 2017. There was definitely a lingering sense of loss after I sold Fig & Flower and I knew I wanted to open something similar one day. After settling in Austin, it seemed to be the right fit at the right time to launch Lovejay!
You previously opened a natural beauty store in Atlanta. What lessons did you take away from that experience and how are you applying them to Lovejay?
Opening Fig & Flower really highlighted my strengths as well as areas in which I struggle. I am a very big picture person and it’s easier for me to be in the creative clouds than do day to day tasks. I have a history of starting things and then walking away. Fig & Flower was one of those things and after walking away, I felt a great loss. Since then, my meditation practice has increased tremendously, helping me focus on one thing at a time and completing tasks and projects. Additionally, I’ve learned to ask for help and collaborate with people I trust and find inspiring in their respective fields. I am one person running a business and not only do I need help, I need interaction with creative people!
Take us through a typical day in the life. Do you have any routines in place?
Initially I planned to be open 7 days a week. About a week before the grand opening, I realized that I was already really tired and that working 7 days a week does not align with the mission of Lovejay or my personal mission. So, we are closed Mondays & Tuesdays. Those are my days to rest and recharge – and clean our house! We are open Wednesday – Sunday for both our retail section and appointments. Each day is different based on the type and number of appointments that are scheduled. We do have opening and closing routines as well as service prep and clean up. I’m currently working on building time and space to build more community partnership as well as planning our next big project which will launch at the end of the year.
As a shop owner, where do you go for inspiration? What fuels your creativity?
I am constantly inspired. Whether it is through stillness in meditation, spending time with my fiance, walking through Austin–or any other city–driving, noticing the animals/insects/creatures that are all around us, having conversations….the list keeps going. It’s easy for me to get distracted by new ideas and inspirations, so I am really practicing staying focused on whatever the current project is – but I have a long list of ideas for what will come next. 🙂
At Movers + Makers, we believe in the value of storytelling as a way to connect. How has storytelling played a role in your work?
A lot of people ask how and why I opened Lovejay. When I tell the story about eating super healthy and then realizing that I was ingesting all kinds of nasty things via lipstick, I watch the lightbulb switch on for a lot of people. I also tell stories about the brands we carry. Most of them are very small batch, cool brands that have a great brand story. There is also a lot of storytelling that goes on in general in the store! The conversations and the stories we hear from customers are incredible and inspiring!
How do you like to spend your time when you’re not working?
I love yoga, meditation, reading, visiting coffee shops, and spending time with my fiance and two pups. Currently, I am also wedding planning!
Is there anything you’ve recently read or listened to that’s made an impact on either your professional or personal life?
I just finished The Power of Intention by Dr. Wayne Dyer and am re-reading The Untethered Soul. Both are incredible books that have impact across all areas of life.
What is your best advice for someone who wants to start a business?
First and foremost, follow your heart. When you align with your passion and operate from your heart, it’s amazing how opportunities begin to unfold in front of you. Second, choose to trust in the universe/God/whatever you call it instead of clinging to fear. It’s exciting and extremely scary opening a business but keeping a positive mindset and trusting that everything you need will be provided is key. Lastly, take time to rest. 🙂
Images by Cassandra Klepac