Not everything born out of the COVID-19 lockdown was temporary—at least not for Elke Anderson.
“I was recently divorced and my children and I were feeling a lot of anxiety,” she said. “Everyone was definitely worried and the world seemed pretty bleak.”
Elke and her two children (Haley, 27 and Cade, 14) started making clean beauty products and baked goods at home. The long-time stylist (who has worked in Reno, Los Angeles and Australia) used it as a way to revisit a passion she developed in junior high and share it with her kids during a difficult time.
“I mainly wanted to do it for our mental health and to give my kids something to feel good about,” she explained. “I’ve always made my own beauty products and have always been highly tuned into ingredients.”
With delicious flaky pastries, infused olive oils and sugar scrubs, Anderson realized she could share their new hobby with the community in the form of Lemmon Roots Botanicals. In true COVID-19 fashion, she launched a Facebook page and began offering contactless front door drop offs of gift baskets containing all of their goodies.
When life started to shift back to normal, Anderson couldn’t stop thinking about the venture she and her family had created in lockdown. So, she decided to quit styling and launch Lemon Roots as a full-time, small-batch, eco-friendly and clean beauty business.
Lemon comes from her childhood, a wink at the lemon tree she used to pick fresh fruit from as a child; roots is a nod to her hope to establish roots, a contrast to her own rocky childhood; and botanicals refers to the base of what her products are derived from.
It took about a year to launch her storefront. She was lucky to find an inexpensive place, but it was in bad shape. A lot of the year was spent renovating the storefront, which hadn’t been occupied since 2008.
Luckily her brother, Sawyer Williams, was keen to help.
“He has been such a great help in this process, sometimes believing in me more than I do,” Anderson said.
And while Williams was putting effort into getting the physical space ready, Anderson was designing the products, formulating and making, all day every day for months getting an inventory ready and packaged to be sold.
In May 2022, Lemon Roots Botanicals opened to the public, selling soaps, candles, skin care products, body butters, bath bombs and more. As an added bonus, the prices are reasonable when compared to other all-natural skincare brands. Vegan soaps and bath bombs are under $10 each, serums and night creams may cost as little as $25 and clay masks are $32.
“I make all the products using chemical and preservative-free, raw ingredients,” Anderson said.
She also places an emphasis on eco-friendly and sustainable packaging along with a rewards program — for every four glass vessels returned, patrons get a free candle.
While Anderson’s brother was paramount in getting the business on its feet, the duo doesn’t work together often. Williams has a full-time job. Most of his efforts were in getting the space ready, but he now steps in to run the front desk when Anderson has a workshop going.
“He has been my biggest cheerleader and support system,” Anderson said. “I could not have done this without his help.”
Above all else, Anderson wants people to know they can trust the products purchased from Lemon Roots Botanicals to be packed with eco-friendly, clean ingredients that also work to reduce waste.
“They can rely on us to always keep our integrity when creating the products,” she said.
Everything is also made in store, including soaps and body butters. “Customers can see us making in the workshop while shopping,” Anderson shared, a unique aspect of the physical business.
“My daughter and I also like to do a community act of service quarterly, handing out food, beanies, soap, etc. near the Riverwalk and Wingfield Park,” she said. “We hope we will be able to do this monthly and also get some other businesses and customers involved.”
To order products online, visit lemonrootsbotanicals.com. Customers can also shop in store at 44 W. First St. or sign up for a workshop.
“We love our community and really want to make a difference in someone’s day.”
44 W 1st Street, Reno , NV 89509