BB Spotlights feature Edmonton individuals that intrigue, inspire, and interest us and will be published throughout the year. Photography by BB Collective. Written by Fiona Dempsey.
Entering into such a competitive industry like the cosmetic and skincare industry is a daunting task, but that’s exactly what our next spotlight has done, and to say she’s killing it would be an understatement. Founder of Edmonton-based, non-toxic, vegan, and eco-friendly skincare, Pura Botanicals, Lane Edwards has taken it upon herself to ensure women have the option to use skincare that is not only effective but also kind to both our environment and our bodies. Having only opened a space for Pura on 124th Street in the summer of last year, Lane has already converted many women to all-natural products and aims to reach and educate more women that skincare products can be both all natural and effective. Living by the philosophy, “natural ingredients enhance our natural beauty.”
Lane explained that it was the times she spent sitting on the edge of the bath, chatting to her mother while she took a long soak and applied a mud mask that solidified her love and appreciation for the beauty ritual. Looking back on it now, Lane realized it was the time her mother took for herself, to feel rejuvenated and connected with her own womanhood, that influenced her as a woman and mother today, “I grew up with a mother who was really into natural, holistic therapies and nutrition, so I think when you learn from a young age how beneficial it can be to take care of yourself from the inside out, it’s so shaping of who you’re going to become as an adult.” Lane has more than just an appreciation for skincare; she truly understands it and what your skin needs. Having traveled a lot in her early twenties, landing her in Australia for a while, she began studying aromatherapy and the native Australian bush flower essences. It wasn’t until Lane was pregnant with her first child that she became extremely sensitive to all of her beauty products due to her heightened sense of smell, causing her to smell all the chemicals and synthetic ingredients her products contained. After much research she realized how toxic many popular beauty products are, opening a whole new world of skincare and beauty products. It was this realization that lead Lane to start Pura Botanicals, “I really think beauty products, as they’re something we use every day, they should be pure and natural. I think there is this misconception because things are pure and natural, especially when it comes to skincare, that they aren’t as effective. That’s something I really feel strongly about. You know these natural ingredients are extremely effective and powerful and I always ask people how do chemicals make us more beautiful?”
Not only does Lane ensure her customers receive all natural, non-toxic skincare, she also ensures Pura leaves as little a carbon footprint as possible. From making all the products by hand, to the packaging and even the ink used, Pura operates as earth-friendly as possible. This sense of responsibility to the earth is something Lane has always had, “I grew up with a natural appreciation for preserving the earth. I love nature, I love animals, and I have three children and I want them to understand the value of preserving the earth and looking after it, and treating the earth as our own child in a sense.” When I then brought up the new law made in the US, which will ban personal care products as of July 2017, that contain microbeads, Lane agreed it was a step in the right direction but there’s still room for improvement. “I think big brands have a long way to go, I do, I think that you’re paying for very, very cheap inexpensive chemicals, that are really of no value to you or the earth whatsoever and it’s just the brand and the packaging essentially.” Lane explained that it’s ultimately up to women to advocate it. Big brand companies will only change their ways if women demand clean beauty and only buy products that are good for the earth and good for ourselves.
However, Lane truly walks the walk with Pura making everything by hand through using a huge variety of ingredients, and not seeing the need for big machines. Pura’s amazing ingredients are sourced from all over the world, however, being a local business herself Lane believes in supporting local, working with as many Canadian farmers as possible. It’s not just the making of the products that’s done by hand; it’s everything, from bottling it to putting a label on it and shipping it off, every bottle has been made with a little TLC. Making products in the most authentic way possible is something very close to Lane’s heart, “I’ve always been passionate about the power of creation, there’s something liberating and deeply meditative about using your hands to create something from scratch.” With 23 products and counting available at Pura, making everything by scratch and by hand is a huge task to bare, but one Lane works very hard to maintain. While talking to Lane about the products, she gave us a bit of an insight into how she makes each one, “It depends on whether it’s a cream or oil, we use different butters and oils that are either liquid or solid.” From there Lane begins adding the other core ingredients, like watermelon extract and silk peptides, “That’s why we have our professional KitchenAid back there,” she explained, “That whips everything up for us. It just really depends on the product, depends what it is, but essentially all products start with oil or butter.”
When it comes to picking a favorite from Pura, it’s a tough choice for anyone, especially Lane, “I’m so passionate about all of our products, I love the Neroli Eye Ritual, I love the Desire Mist and the Night Cocoon with turmeric and pomegranate oil is to-die-for. We also have different essential oil blends like Marshmallow Guru which is just fun for bed, bath and body.” However, there is one particular product that sounds out to Lane, “Our most unique product is the watermelon mud mask. Usually a mask is a clay-based product so it dries and it cracks, but is very clarifying. It can also be very drying and with our climate over the winter months we all seem to suffer from dry skin, so essentially you put it on and sleep in it. It’s creamy and it feels a little bit different from a face cream and when you wake up your skin is plump, dewy and hydrated.” This is a product that delivers everything it promises, as Lane was sweet enough to give us some samples. We got to try out the watermelon mud mask ourselves and to say it feels amazing is an understatement. But don’t worry if you’re an all-natural newcomer, Lane has the answer for you, “If you’re looking for skincare I would definitely recommend something that you’re using every day, so the sweet face daily moisturizer or the night cocoon, something that I know you’re going to be able to enjoy every single day.” If you wanted to try out something a bit more luxurious, Pura also has an amazing Bespoke Perfume service where Lane sits down with you one on one and builds you your very own fragrance from scratch, great for if you have a sensitive nose or just want your own signature scent. “Perfume is beautiful and it’s such a deep reflection of this imaginary essence of who you are as a woman,” Lane explained, “We can create something that is totally unique to yourself and we also keep your formula on file so we’re able to tweak it and change it as you evolve and change as a woman too.” There’s no denying Lane is a wealth of knowledge, so you can’t blame me for trying to pick up some tips for the perfect skincare routine, her number one tip; “Taking off your make up every night before bed is actually really important, our skin heals the most while we sleep, so to give it the opportunity to be clean and to breathe. Not only that but when you don’t remove your make up you're obviously not hydrating and hydration is so important.” Lane made it very clear that skincare products can only do so much, what you’re putting in your body is important also, and Lane ensures she takes everything into account when consulting with a client. “When I look at someone’s skin we also talk about things like; Are you getting the hydration you need? Are you drinking enough water? Are you getting your omega fish oils? All those things, it matters, topically you can only do so much for your skin and I think stress is huge for skin, I think being comfortable in your own skin is also really important, too.” Another top tip; be consistent, leading Lane to make the heart of Pura the beauty ritual. “We can’t really see results unless we’re actually using our skincare every single day.”
When it comes to making all-natural skincare the hardest aspect facing Lane is changing a little bit of the perspective of beauty care. “It’s helping women understand that you don’t need chemicals to slow down the aging process, you don’t need to spend $120 on something just to get the results you’re looking for. Natural ingredients are powerful,” Lane explained. Running a business is hard work, let alone one in such a competitive industry, but there is one thing Lane identifies as an important aspect of any business, especially hers. “I think social media is interesting, it has really changed how business is done and especially for women because women are using it far more than men and it’s amazing because our reach is so international.” However, she did identify one aspect of social media that isn’t perfect, “Appearances are different, people don’t always see the dedication and commitment behind the brand, they just see sort of the magic that’s on social media.” What does running a business take? A lot of discipline, hard work and a huge amount of self-assurance, according to Lane, and also ensuring you surround yourself with people who obtain the strengths you lack.
Starting a business in Edmonton, Lane is among a lot of businesses she loves, but it took time to get there. “Everyone was really supportive,” she said of people in Edmonton, “But you have to get to a certain point where people actually know about you for them to be supportive,” she quickly added. It’s being among the stores on 124th Street that Lane finds so special, having frequented the area long before she started her business, “I love to support local businesses and 124th is a magical little place.” Lane also loves the local markets and parks in Edmonton, some little aspects that make the city so special to her. “I love the markets in Edmonton; I wish I could get to them more often for fresh fruits and vegetables, locally made treats and preserves. I love the parks; I think they’re awesome too, like Hawrelak Park and the River Valley.”
Running a business as well as being a mother of two, Lane has to choose how she spends her free time very wisely, with her number one priority being a mother. Lane attributes having taught Yoga for a number of years now helping her keep her life balanced, taking time in the day, even if it’s just five minutes to get in a flow sequence and meditate. Lane also ensures she takes time for those who are special in her life, “I spend as much time as possible with people who I feel inspired and uplifted from. I think that’s important. No time to waste, life is short, time is precious.” Surrounding herself with great people is something Lane takes very seriously, having started a founder’s assembly for other women in business here in Edmonton. Aiming to support each other and help each other get things off the ground that they feel really passionate about. Lane also aims to not just build a thriving business, but also create a legacy that helps women elevate their sense of wellness, health and self-esteem, through using products that are truly nourishing. As for Pura’s future, Lane loves companies that are multi-generational and hopes she’s building a foundation for Pura so it’s around for a long time, “I would love to see Pura and other companies like Pura in every woman’s bathroom and beauty cabinet.”