Leilihana, 60 years old
My journey with botanical aromatics and oils begins in India, where I was born. My female ancestors have always produced all their snack-foods and body-care cosmetics at home, due to strict rules of purity in accordance with our Brahmin culture. I was always around the herbal ingredients traditionally used and loved watching the womenfolk concoct all their wonderful aromatic stuff at home. You might say that I am genetically programmed to produce cosmetics by hand!
I started out as a one woman company way back in 1989 when I was working for Aroma Vera as their Los Angeles rep. I have been very fortunate to have met many of the luminaries in the world of Aromatherapy-- these are the people that actually brought Aromatherapy, as a bonafide science, to the United States from Western Europe. Marcel Lavabre, the founder of Aroma Vera and my boss at that time, was very supportive and generous to let me attend the classes that he conducted at his company. I had just returned from living in France for a couple of years with my children and mother, and was still in a French mode of mind when I decided the name of my little company would be La Ligne Alchimique, which translates to The Alchemic Line.
In 1990, I began working at Co-Opportunity in Santa Monica after having started there first as a vendor (I had 5 products in the beginning). They hired me to be the person that answered customers' essential oil and aromatherapy questions in the Health & Beauty department.
In the early days at Co-Opportunity, I used to give my creations as gifts to my co-workers and friends. Pretty soon I developed a little following and it seemed everyone wanted to buy my blends. My boss at the time was very supportive and happily allowed me to expand my line at Co-Opportunity. Within a couple of years my little 5 product line had over 100 different items! I had hair, body, baby and face oils, flower colognes, and anti-varicose, anti-cellulite, anti-wrinkle, anti-blemish, anti-bug blends... you name it, I had it! To my delight, my little line gathered quite a fan base simply by word of mouth.
During that time, my line was mentioned more than once in Allure Magazine; the Essential Mouthwash and my flower perfume blends were featured in the Editors' Favorites. Over the years, I have done a few TV interviews, written for various periodicals, given talks at colleges and health food co-ops, and have been a featured guest at holistic healing talks/product parties.
In 2001, I moved to Portland, Oregon. I lived there for over a decade and continued with my small business. My line has gone through a few incarnations-- starting as La Ligne Alchimique, it was then known as The Alchemic Line, then Magdalena Beauty. In 2012, when I moved back to Southern California and my daughter decided to join me in the business, I opted to change the name of my company once more to Lalila Beauty, as this name seems to resonate best with me.
I myself handcraft all my cosmetics in small batches. I am much, much less a businesswoman and more a traveller on a path, as there is a very ancient sacred path attached to the blending and using of genuine flower oils. In this tradition, the flowers and their exquisite oils are viewed as the sacred body of Goddess Mother Earth, and as such are to be treated with utmost respect, reverence and love. It is important to do the actual blending in this state of reverence.
Locally, a limited version of Lalila Beauty is sold at Co-Opportunity in Santa Monica and Lassen's, Ventura. We will keep expanding the line in the stores at our discretion. Our product list is more extensive on line and continually growing-- these products have our simple black and white labels. My daughter and I often do demos in person at above mentioned stores. Please feel free to come in and meet us and ask us questions regarding hair/skin/nail care. We love answering questions and sharing our knowledge/experience. Also, I'm not going to lie about this, I do enjoy getting compliments on my lustrous, silvery hair and youthful skin... heh heh! ☺
I have a great love for the flower oils, waxes, and hydrosols and I cannot imagine my life without them! I will always be blending concoctions and producing my own body care products for the rest of my life. I also design genuine gemstone jewelry that is constructed by myself and my super talented mother. Our necklaces, earrings and bracelets are set mostly in sterling silver and some in 18kt gold. We have a vast collection of unique one of a kind jewelry that will soon be featured on our website. I do see the precious metals and the gemstones also as the very sacred and beautiful body of Mother Earth and as such, my mother and I have handcrafted the jewelry with a lot of love and appreciation.
I find it very interesting that the two materials I have based my livelihood upon (essential oils and gemstones) are some that possess the lowest entropy of just about all the various molecules of matter that have been studied by modern scientists. Maybe this is why my mother, my daughter and I all look younger than we actually are?!! Additionally, whenever I take my two grandchildren places with me, folks tell me that these are the most beautiful children they have ever seen!! Yep - the flowers have beautified even the next generation!
I feel truly blessed to be in the profession that I'm in and I have a genuine passion for flowers and gemstones. Regarding the flowers, I am working on my goal of creating a garden that has only aromatic flowers growing in it. I'm also passionate about my adorable little grandsons and when I'm not working, I spend a lot my free time bonding with them - especially going to the beach with them. I also love dancing. I studied Bharatnatyam (classical dance of India) for a decade in India as a student of guru Krishnan Kutty. I sprained both ankles a couple of years ago, so that put a bit of a damper on the dancing, but dancing can still take me to states of bliss!
I do have one last secret. I am in the process of birthing myself as a storyteller. My desire is to give the world stories that can go beyond simply clever entertainment. I want my stories to do everything. To entertain, first and foremost, but I also want to feed the soul, as in enriching and lighting up the heart and mind. I feel that my stories can be of service as roadmaps to the Ocean of Tranquil Bliss. This is like saying a perfect meal should not only be tasty, but also very nourishing. My stories are stories of Love so expansive, I hope they will serve to forever expand the known horizons of humanity's collective Love Stories. I'll keep you folks updated on the arrival of the stories.