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PAOLA — Buying Fire Lake Soapery in fall 2022 allowed Laura Rozell to fulfill a longtime goal, she said: sharing the gift of all-natural skin care and cleaning products with her community.
The woman-run small business carries everything from bars of soap, lotion, shampoo and conditioner to candles, stain sticks, laundry detergent, and dog nose and paw balm. All are made in small batches, in house — right off the downtown square in Paola — with high-quality ingredients like organic olive, coconut, castor, and essential oils that are free of toxins and harsh chemicals in eco-friendly packaging, according to Rozell.
“It’s been my lifelong dream — and it’s finally here — to share with people what it feels like to feel good in their own skin, and their dogs, too,” she said. “I grew up on a farm with all-natural, organic things, so it’s always been in my blood to pursue the natural way of life.”
In October 2022, after retirement from the healthcare field, Rozell purchased and revamped Fire Lake from the previous owner, who opened it about five years ago. But she is no stranger to making all-natural items, she noted. Rozell has crafted similar vegan products to help out her family, friends, and physical therapy patients for 25 years.
“That’s kind of what brought us together,” Rozell explained, noting the similarities in talent and trades with the previous owner. “And she was looking for somebody that would be able to carry on the tradition of what she started.”
Although Fire Lake operates an online shop and a physical retail store — where it also carries products from other local makers, Rozell noted most of their business comes through wholesale orders, including for the hosts of HGTV’s “Fixer to Fabulous.”
Fire Lake’s soaps and a few other products can be found in more than 1,500 stores in five different countries. In the Kansas City area alone, Made In KC, Skin KC, and several of the Price Choppers carry items from Fire Lake, plus Whole Foods will soon join that list, Rozell said.
Click here to shop Fire Lake Soapery.
“We’re growing tremendously,” she added. “Honestly, it’s just exploded. And I don’t know if it’s from God or what, but it’s been amazing.”
Rozell and her part-time employee (soon to be two) make custom products and label and brand them for more than 100 companies — including local businesses Family Tree Nursery, Somerset Ridge Winery, and Netherfield Natural Farm, she said.
For example, all of the Family Tree Nursery locations carry the Fire Lake gardener’s bars — which is a gentle, exfoliating soap — and they are hand-stamped with the Family Tree logo.
“We put TLC and every single bit of it,” she noted. “We have been so, so busy, which is amazing. We just can’t keep stock of anything.”
Check out a gallery of Fire Lake products below, then keep reading.
From Kansas to the hands of HGTV stars
Marrs Mercantile — owned by Jenny and Dave Marrs of the TV series “Fixer to Fabulous” — in Centerton, Arkansas, recently started carrying some Fire Lake Soapery products. That includes three different soaps — all stamped with the Marrs Mercantile branding — plus stain sticks, essential oils, a scouring powder, bamboo scrubbers, laundry detergent, and liquid hand wash and body wash, Rozell said.
“We’re pushing out orders for them on a weekly basis,” she added.
Although the previous owner of Fire Lake met Jenny Marrs about five years ago, it wasn’t until Rozell took over that anything came of the meeting. The partnership was born, she shared, after she sent them a handful of samples and was invited to the shop, where she connected spiritually with the TV host couple.
“I’m just a small-town farm girl,” she said. “I can’t even believe all this is happening.”
Good for your body and soul
Fire Lake — which donates products to local community organizations like the Hope House and My Father’s House — also offers candle and bath bomb making workshops, Rozell noted, for events like birthday parties and bachelorette parties. The business also offers tours and custom sets and candles for gifts and events.
“We’re wanting everybody to be touched by our product,” she explained. “We’re not trying to be millionaires. We keep it at a price range that everyone can afford.”
Using all-natural, non-toxic products, Rozell shared, is better for your skin and your overall health.
“Your skin pulls in everything, so what you put on your skin goes into your body,” she said.
“It’s good for your body and good for your soul,” added Christa Gipson, a retired school librarian who has been working with Rozell since November.
This story is made possible by Entrepreneurial Growth Ventures.
Entrepreneurial Growth Ventures (EGV) is a business unit of NetWork Kansas supporting innovative, high-growth entrepreneurs in the State of Kansas. NetWork Kansas promotes an entrepreneurial environment by connecting entrepreneurs and small business owners with the expertise, education and economic resources they need to succeed.