Katie Fowler Hawkins has always been a bath person. “It was the treat as a kid, to get to use mom’s big jet tub,” she says, “And as a grown up it’s my favorite place to read and watch copious amounts of television.” It’s no wonder she founded Lavish Bath Box, a monthly subscription service that brings gorgeous, all natural, cruelty and paraben free bath products straight to your door.
It was an out of town shopping trip with her best friend that was the genesis of her small business idea. They visited Lush, a chain boutique store famous for its natural skin, bath and body products, and upon the advice of a “sweet, blue-haired boy” that worked there, Katie made a purchase that led to a wonderful bath. Unfortunately? She was from a rural town with no Lush store—the closest metropolitan area to her home was two hours away. “I thought about how unfair it was that my access to fun, eco-conscious, natural products was so limited because of where I lived!” she said. “So I grabbed my laptop and started searching online. There were options but I didn’t know what to try. What I needed was someone to send me recommended products to try each month. I’d totally pay for that!”
The 2017 Holiday Bonus Box, “Sugar Plum Fairy”
It struck Katie that she might not be the only one wanting to try luxurious new bath products on the regular, and that maybe she was the right person to offer the service. While doing her research, Katie found that there were artisans all over the country making products that were just as natural, ethical and fun as the ones sold by Lush. She wanted to get them into the hands of consumers. “The whole reason I started this venture was because I come from a small town made up of ‘Mom-and-Pop-Shops’. My family owns a few such businesses and I was always taught that supporting each other is how we stay alive alongside the mass-produced chains,” she says. “Every month the box features not only the products but the crafters and businesses who made them. I give my subscribers an information card on how to find them online, and where to go to order more product as many of the companies even include coupon codes for new orders.”
The Lavish Bath Box is themed each month, a process that Katie loves. “Coincidentally, my favorite theme we have done was probably the hardest to curate—our ‘Fairytales Grimm’ box from October of this year,” she says. “I wanted to do something that gave a nice nod to the Halloween season without being obvious. It had a lot of custom exclusive items in it, but it was absolutely worth the work as it turned out to be a subscriber favorite. Our June ‘Southern Charm’ theme was another personal favorite of mine— but I could be a little biased coming from the deep southern part of Illinois where cobbler is a staple dessert and you might hear a ‘y’all’ slip out of my mouth occasionally.”
In this hectic, often difficult world, Katie finds bathing more than just a luxury—to her it’s a necessity. “I’ve found that if you don’t give yourself the permission to take that alone time, or indulge a little bit and make yourself a priority in your own life, that you won’t be your best self for others either. So why not?” And in building her business, Katie has found more than just bubbles and salts. “Our customers are the best. They are so passionate about not just these products, but these brands as well. They are often even bigger louder promoters of the brands we feature than we are,” she says. “It’s like a family, honestly, one I feel very lucky to be on both sides of, as a fellow business owner and as a buyer.”
S&C readers receive a discount for any new monthly subscription. Enter the code “SC11LAVISH” and get 15% off! Visit the site at http://www.lavishbathbox.com
The November 2017 Box, “Zen Master”
Lavish Bath Box Review
The November 2016 Lavish Bath Box’s theme is Zen Master, and it is aptly named. Between the scents of lavender, vanilla, green tea, mint, eucalyptus, and cedar wood and the inclusion of calendula and valerian root in the ingredients list, this box is definitely geared toward clear-minded, calm reflection. The products all have their own unique scent but the box was very harmonious—no scent dominated over the others. And the box was heavy. You get a lot of product for the money.
The following full-sized products were included in the box:
- Zum Tub Bath Salts by Indigo Wild– a shaker of shea butter bath salts infused with relaxing aromas that restore the skin and revitalize the mind
These salts smell gorgeous—a beautiful balance of lavender, mint and a little something more to round it out (the rosemary extract, maybe?) Perfectly suited to the theme, the lavender calmed me while the mint cleared my head. The salts and the shea butter infuse into lovely water that leaves your skin soft and refreshed. A light scent is left behind that I really enjoyed. These would also be wonderful for a foot soak.
- Calm Balm Anti-Stress Salve by Austin Apothecary – a soothing balm infused with nutrient rich oils, made with calendula, cedar wood, lavender and valerian root
This salve was very soft and easy to apply. It smelled of real lavender—not the artificial kind but honest to goodness lavender buds, some of which were sprinkled on top. I put some on my wrists and temples and massaged a little bit of it into my hands (a little goes a long way) and the scent gently wafted up to my nose. I found it very soothing.
- Just Chill Bath Bomb by Bomb Body Co.– an epsom salt based bomb scented with French lavender, Egyptian jasmine and pure vanilla with a hint of musk
This bath bomb fizzed and swirled, turning my tub a lovely blue with a white froth on top. The water was very soft and conditioning—after toweling off it felt as though I had used a light body lotion. The lovely scent lingered after the bath and—bonus—my husband thought it smelled nice, too.
- Lemongrass & Green Tea Truffles by Cooper’s Handcrafted – bath truffles with cocoa butter and kaolin clay, scented with lemongrass and green tea
I used one truffle in a full bath. It dissolved, leaving the water a slight milky color, no doubt because of the clay. The scent was exactly like advertised—it was like bathing in a big cup of green tea. After the bath my skin felt soft and nourished, and I was left with a pleasant, woody, almost grassy smell that was subtle but present.
- Zen Stone Shower Steamer by Butter Cosmetics– a fizzing aromatherapy stone to place on the floor of your shower that releases essential oils into the steam
Since the stone was large (and in an effort to be make it last as long as possible) I cut it into three pieces and used one in a shower. I’m not sure I would recommend that as the scent was not as strong as I would have liked, but it did release eucalyptus and mint into the air as I washed, and I liked the combination. I think this would be an excellent product to use if you are at all stuffy or have a cold.
- Zen Garden Bubble Bar by Once Upon a Candle– a bubble bar scented in oakmoss and amber, infused with sage, lavandin and orange essential oils
This is a big bubble bar (over an inch thick and bigger than my palm) that could easily be used for two to four baths. I used ¼ of the bar and still ended up with a mound of fluffy bubbles, the majority of which lasted for the whole bathing experience. The bar scented the bathroom nicely but barely scented the skin after, which would be good if you have a preferred scent of body lotion or perfume to wear post bathing.
All in all, I found the November Lavish Bath Box delightful, and I will likely order more products from the vendors included in the box (especially since some of them included discount coupon codes!) It was evident the box was curated with care, and the compatibility of the products was such that you could even use them together in a bath “cocktail” for the height of luxury. I look forward to seeing future themes, and I hope Santa brings me a subscription for Christmas.