Today we’d like to introduce you to Lisa Dolan.
Lisa, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
Nearly five years ago, I was turning 30 and feeling completely lost in my life. A few months prior, my mom had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. I sat down to meditate, and the idea for LARK — everything from the original branding to the products — came to me. It was the most intense experience I’ve ever had. After my meditation, I looked over to a tree and a flock of tiny larks flew out.
This wasn’t the beginning of my obsession with clean ingredients; that started a few years prior when I became pregnant with my son. But it was like my knowledge and passion aligned and for the first time in years, I felt a sense of purpose. I got to work right away, launching the brand and developing the products. I channeled all my grief and my anger into my work, creating a line of products that are safe, multi-functional, and effective. My mom was there cheering me on the in those early stages, and she was excited to share in what I was doing.
My mom passed away in October of 2016. She was the strongest woman I’ve ever known. She fought (and beat) three other forms of cancer before her relapse. She was a woman who refused to give up no matter the odds. I’m proud to be her daughter. I carry my mother’s legacy and spirit with me in everything I do, and I channel her strength when times get hard. She’s the inspiration behind this brand and the driving force behind the products.
Our vision, team, and product line have grown exponentially since those first few months. We opened up our first brick-and-mortar in 2018 and now offer Holistic Facial Treatments in our Shop — the first of its kind in St. Louis. I created LARK because I truly believe that safe skincare should be accessible to everyone and that beauty and wellness go hand in hand. I believe in building a space for community and connection where we can offer natural alternatives to traditional beauty products.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Haha, it definitely has not been a smooth road. I think all small business owners could agree that there are so many road bumps along the way that seem impossible to prepare for! Obviously, one of the biggest challenges we had thrown our way was figuring out how to pivot during the Covid-19 pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, our store and services made up a large part of our sales, and with those two components closed indefinitely, we had to shift our focus to our online sales. It was definitely a challenge (especially because I was responsible for running our son’s virtual learning, too!) but we made it through and are so excited to reopen our shop this fall!
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I’m the founder of a natural skincare company and spa. One of the things I’m most proud of is juggling running a skincare brand and a spa. After working in the beauty/spa industry for years, I knew that I wanted something different. I also wanted to create a different type of spa experience that I didn’t see in St. Louis yet. It’s been so challenging to keep two very different types of businesses running (one being experiential and the other being more consumer goods based) but it keeps me on my toes!
When we opened our spa in 2018, we launched our Ritual Bar – the first of its kind in the area. The concept was so important to me – to have a place where clients could come and have an expert create custom products just for their skin type. The Ritual Bar is what our entire facial service centers around, and I believe it’s such a unique experience.
Can you tell us more about what you were like growing up?
Growing up, I was painfully shy and quiet. I loved music and played the piano, violin, and flute. I went through a terrible awkward phase in middle school and always felt very self-conscious about my appearance. My Mom was so not into hair and makeup so I always felt totally lost in that department – despite her best efforts! After graduating high school a year early, I went on to get licensed in cosmetology then got my degree from UMSL in Sociology and Photography.
Despite my shyness, my entrepreneurial spirit started at a pretty young age. I remember being 6 or 7 years old and setting up a stuffed animal sale in our driveway! I was always putting together business ideas so it seems natural now that I’m a small business owner.
- Products range from $22-62
- Treatments start at $115
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.larkskinco.com
- Instagram: @larkskinco
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/larkskinco
Photos of Shop: Steph Masat Photography Photograph of girl with product: Maddie String