We had the good fortune of connecting with Leila Baroudi and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Leila, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Handmade soap by heart is an essential need in everyone’s active life and I always disliked how commercial soap dried my sensitive skin and would not lather. My brother began making organic soap from Unrefined Organic Coconut Oil and Extra Virgin Olive Oil; he encouraged me to follow his steps. I instantly began making my own soap for my family and friends. A friend told me that my soap made her skin feel smooth and did not need the use of lotion after a shower. Another friend claimed my soap helped her eczema condition. My mom stopped buying any lotion, shampoo, or soap and appreciated how it did not create scum around the tub. Everyone around inspired me to start my own business. I developed my business with unscented and uncolored organic soap. I would add Unrefined Organic Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, along with many other organic oils from nature. A lot of my customers wanted more of the customized, colored soap including their favorite essential oils. Primitively, I was a bit adamant about including colors and scents. However, I needed to expand and satisfy my customers’ needs. That opened a whole recent selection of colored, scented soap, liquid soap, bath bombs, lip balm, lotion bars, and body butters. I plan to continue to grow in the future. 

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a full-time teacher and soap making is my hobby. I have been traditionally teaching for 30 academic years. I passionately love being an enthusiastic and an understanding teacher. Shaping young minds and making it a fun experience at the same time can encourage students to succeed in class and the future. I sincerely believe in every students potential and that everyone has the ability to invariably succeed. I fondly believe in perseverance and growth mind set.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I appreciate nature, so I naturally feel like going to lovely lakes, local mountains, Botanical Gardens, Zoo, and Museums all boost my general happiness. I perceive nature as a relaxing place to be and explore unfamiliar places. Preserving the ecosystem is extremely important to me and that is why I find making handmade and organic soap better for the environment due to not containing harmful chemicals. I think that being thoughtful about the environment around you can reshape the world to the better. Due to my love to nature, I add relaxing scents to my products, I personally choose the scents that relax me and provide me with comfort.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I owe the beginning of my success to both my brothers. As one encouraged me to begin to make soap and my youngest brother supported me to start my business. I chose the name FLANA for it represents the first initial of my own family names, as it begins with my husbands name and ends with my children’s. I am the L in FLANA. My friends encouraged me to expand my products to satisfy a variety of customer’s needs. I would like to dedicate my sincere appreciation to my family for their moral support in the beginning years of founding my business. A significant appreciation to Crescent View Academy for supporting me by selling my handmade soap. I also would like to thank R Bazaar, Ruby’s Market for gallantly helping immigrants and refugees. I am a proud US citizen that originally immigrated from Lebanon. Since I do not have a local store, RBazaar aided me to participate in craft fairs and profitably sells my handmade products in her store.

Website: http://www.etsy.com/shop/flanasoap
Instagram: flanasoap
Twitter: FLANA Soap
Facebook: FLANA Organic Soap Bars
Other: Ruby’s Market in Denver, Colorado

Image Credits
Governor Jared Polis

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