Hi Laura, please tell everyone a bit about yourself and introduce your brand.
Hi! As a former hospitality industry entrepreneur, I found my love of interiors and natural homewares while buying and selling eateries in the UK and New Zealand. It was the process of transformation that inspired me to create spaces that flowed, were simplistic and decorated with natural products and fibres. Laura Thomas Co. optimises all that I saw in that vision in the early days, products that are stylish yet simple and are completely natural, we have home scents, all natural fibre herringbone blankets and towels and most recently launched our body and hair range.
Take us back to where it all began, and tell us how you started your company.
It was 2012 and I was living in New Zealand. I loved to visit the local markets in a place called Nelson and one day I found the most gorgeous, pure cotton embroidered bedding which had been made in Vietnam. I had never seen this high quality of linen readily available on the high-street. That encounter stayed with me and very quickly planted the seed for Laura Thomas Linen! I was based in Auckland, supplying all white, embroidered bedding made from 100% pure cotton.
A few years later I returned to the east coast of Scotland and settled in the lovely coastal village called Gullane with my two young daughters. Here, I knew I wanted to grow the business. I noticed though back in the UK there was quite a lot of white linen and being that this was the product that Laura Thomas was solely focused on, along with a newly created all natural Lavender Soy Candle launched before leaving New Zealand, I decided to change the direction of the business. I focused on what I loved the most, the ocean, big skies and sweeping wild beaches, this sung to my core.
Back in New Zealand the sun shone, kids walked to school barefoot, the simple beach life and slower pace of the day resonated with me. I decided that my love of the slower pace of living in New Zealand would be the mindset and the ethos of life in Scotland and this would be translated into my products.
At a time when the UK began to take note of recycling, no plastic, healthy eating, yoga and buying locally and buying natural products, which New Zealand was light years ahead of, I decided that LT Co. would focus on only products for the home that were 100% natural. I take constant inspiration from the natural environment and as time went on and my connection with my local Scottish coastline grew, a strong desire to steer Laura Thomas to create products that were purely sensory for the home became a very clear vision.
I found the smells and colours of the coast extremely uplifting, energising, calming and forced me to slow down, be mindful and present in that moment. It was also on these walks I realised the connection I was feeling between natural scents and colours and how that made me feel, it seemed to be so important to my wellbeing. It was an organic process of growth for the LT Co product range through these encounters with nature, I wanted to recreate how this made me feel with my products. An all-natural coastal candle range was created using 100% pure soy wax, pure essential oils and cotton wicks and later a scent diffuser range. Carefully mirroring scents of nature, which could be brought into the home for uplifting and calming personal spaces. It was so important it was natural, a clean candle which wouldn’t pollute with toxins.
Please tell us more about the wonderful products you make, and do you have any new products in the pipeline?
As a company that cares deeply about the natural environment all our candles, scent diffusers and body and hair care range are created with all natural ingredients. Raw ingredients are sourced within the UK, we buy from consciously minded companies who share our ethos of putting as little impact on our planet as possible and offer refill pouches to encourage the reuse of our glass bottles and the reduction of packaging.
Laura Thomas coastal candles are handcrafted in small batches using soy wax blended with pure essential oils, creating an infinitely superior scent throw when the candle is lit. The candle range is complemented by pure essential oil diffusers, packed with powerful pops of scents. For a fresh and clean smell try Lemon + Peppermint, or Lime + Basil, for those who love everything floral Flowers is a must; for the smooth and relaxed home space Sandalwood + Mandarin or Lavender will create that perfect ambience.
The Laura Thomas Body and Hair Care Range creates the ultimate luxury experience due to the finest naturally sourced ingredients enveloped in the purest pink grapefruit scents of essential oil; gentle to the body and the environment. Flowers + Wood Hand Wash offers light floral notes of rose, geranium and patchouli married perfectly with warm and comforting cedarwood from the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Citrus + Herb Shower Wash, along with Hand & Body Lotion nourish mind and body whilst uplifting with scents of Lemongrass, soothing Lavender and elegant notes of Bergamot.
LT also supplies beautiful linen and textiles, super soft to the touch and ethically sourced and free of synthetic fibres. We supply linen to many beautiful accommodations and hotels, looking for exquisite quality and the luxury sleep experience.
We are always thinking of the next range, much of this growth is very receptive to the seasons and my personal journey. I am currently working on a very exciting Spring range, I love to push the boundaries with scents and discover truly unique and authentic tones which hopefully resonate and fit perfectly with the brand and my clients. It’s my favourite element of my job, to create, to evoke a response when someone picks up one of my scents, it sparks conversation, memories even, what does that smell remind you of? scent is so powerful. I am also working on the Summer Beach Range, and a collaboration with a local business, so there is lots going on!
Your motto is “Simple is our style. Chemical free is our philosophy.” can you share more of your ethos with us?
“The hardest thing in the world is to simplify your life, it’s too easy to make it complex” – this is written on the wall in one our spaces at work, I look at it a lot, a constant reminder, I want to be able to bring to my customers simple solutions, and to provide them with a brand whose ideals and values align with their own. We try to keep it simple, natural, reusable, refillable, but without losing the style aspect. For example, our washes are in gorgeous amber glass bottles with a soft fresh green label that epitomises with the floral palette of nature that would look great in any interior space. Every little detail is thought of with the style aspect at LT, but equally important is the wash ingredients, it’s chemical free and harmless to the waterways, kind to the skin with the added health benefits of the essential oils nourishing the skin and leaving a lingering delicate scent to uplift you through your day.
I LOVE your packaging, especially knowing that it is made from recycled coffee cups, and that many of your products are refillable. Can you tell us more about how this works, and the benefits?
Thanks so much! LT are so passionate about the natural environment it runs deep in the DNA of the business, myself and the team work really hard to always look to source consciously made packaging and refillable solutions. Every step of the way we are asking ourselves “how will this impact the planet?” “what can we do better?” “where will this bit of packaging end up?” I have found through the innovation of others we have the freedom to change and no more so than with our latest boxes for our hair care and body range and scent diffusers. It has been one amazing collaboration of like minded businesses coming together, from the innovative recycling process of the paper mill in England stripping the plastic lining from the single use coffee and beverage cups to make pure paper once more, a process known as ‘cupcycling’; to working with our incredible paper smith who take the cupcyled paper and turn into a beautiful palette of soft colours, which are a gentle nod to nature.
Our printmakers are innovators and problem solvers too, creating a completely biodegradable ink foil; they offset the carbon of their paper and foil production by working with important charities The Woodland Trust who plant trees to combat climate change and The World Land Trust an international conservation charity that protects the world’s most biologically significant and threatened habitats acre by acre. Through a network of partner organisations around the world, WLT funds the creation of reserves and provides permanent protection for habitats and wildlife.
We are looking to partner with like minded businesses to bring this level of conscious thinking to boutique accommodation and retreats, we offer a refillable service that allows businesses to buy larger quantities of our products in jerry cans that can be returned and refilled and they can top up their amber glass bottles in guests rooms. It is more cost effective for them and less waste and packaging used. Local hotels and accommodations are able to pop by our studio and refill. It works really well and it’s a simple system. We offer this service for all of our toiletry range.We supply refillable pouches for our home scents, toiletry range and hand sanitiser, allowing people the buying power and control reducing their waste, avoiding buying a new glass bottle and box that they may not need. It’s more economical for them too.
Many of Scotland’s beautiful accommodation choices use your products, can you share some of these places with us, and let us know where else we might find your products pop up?
Yes sure! To name a few…..and growing!
The Bonnie Badger | Tom Kitchin (Gullane)
Saorsa 1875 (Pitlochry)
Wildland Limited (Aviemore)
Taybank House (Dunkeld)
Williamstone Farm Steading (North Berwick)
Garleton Lodge (Haddington)
Dod Mill House (Lauder, Scottish Borders)
Netherbyres House (Eyemouth)
Smiddy Cottages (Isle of Islay)
Islay Estates (Isle of Islay)
Whitekirk Hill (North Berwick)
Some of the stockists of Laura Thomas Co.
Moleta Munro (Edinburgh)
Archerfield Walled Garden (Dirleton)
Restoration Yard (Dalkeith Country Park)
Quince + Cook (Perth)
Loch Levens Larder (Kinross)
Knight Frank (Edinburgh)
Spice Pots (East Lothian)
NB Gin (East Lothian)
Jolly Nice Farm Shop (Gloucester)
Food Story Cafe (Aberdeen)
Brand Farm Shop (East Linton)
Indica (Jersey + Lyme Regis)
Can you tell us a bit about the area you live/work in?
I live in a lovely little coastal village called Gullane, 20 minutes south of Edinburgh. I have a 5 minute walk to the beach, it is mine and my family’s playground, we love to surf, paddleboard, sea swim, BBQ on the beach – it’s our sanctuary! all summer long after work you will find me on the beach! Now I have a new addition to the family, baby Ossie who arrived in late July, I am taking him to the beach as much as possible, it really is lovely to be able to raise a family in this special place. We have many unspoilt beaches and coastline and you can regularly spot dolphins, seals and we have countless wild deer.
The Laura Thomas workshop is 5 minutes along the road in the equally beautiful town of North Berwick, it has a fantastic relaxed beach vibe. Many independent shops and enterprises and a real sense of community, like Gullane. We have our workshop in a business centre, full of independent enterprises which is perfect for networking and collaboration and it has a really creative feel to it. We also have a shop alongside the working space, it’s lovely to welcome in members of the public to see Laura Thomas products being created and candles being hand poured, it allows our authenticity and creative process to be seen. It sparks conversation and curiosity, we love to impart our knowledge and draw people into learning about essential oils and all about the ethos of working with natural products.
What would you recommend seeing & doing to people visiting your area?
Visit Laura Thomas at our workshop and retail shop in North Berwick of course! Definitely walk the coastal trails, we have amazing coastline, sweeping beaches imposing cliffs and endless skies, swim in the sea, bury your feet in the sand! Grab a picnic and enjoy all the beaches have to offer, there are many open spaces and local estates to explore. From Gosford Park in Aberlady, great for a stroll in historic grounds and a great Bothy farm shop, Aberlady Nature Reserve, Coffee at Archerfield Walled Garden and pick up a few LT gifts in their shop! They have a lovely Fairy Trail for the kids and lovely grounds, gardens and play area. Visit the Seabird Centre in North Berwick and take a boat trip out to Bass Rock for seal spotting, at the right time of year the puffins are nesting, Bass Rock is also the home to the world’s largest colony of gannets. A site to behold during the summer months. There is also many gorgeous independent shops on North Berwick high street. Drift Cafe is another beautiful spot to enjoy a coffee and look out across to Bass Rock, set on the rugged cliffs and its incredible spot. For those who want more action, book yourself some surf lessons down at Belhaven Bay with Coast to Coast, amazing surf coaching and a great experience. There are also many fantastic places to eat, The Bonnie Badger in Gullane owned by Tom Kitchin, amazing food and so stylish, with a great garden area. Rocketeer in North Berwick is a must for fresh lobster and catches of the day and there are just so many small eateries and cafes around the area as well pubs.
Can you pick out 4 or 5 things in your working space that you can’t live without?
An LT candle of course! or in the very sunny months an LT scent diffuser always scenting my space and a sense of calm and a feeling of happiness to me.
My mood board – I am constantly creating and new ranges are evolving, seeing my ideas on the wall, married together with other aspects in texture, colours, quotes, bits of foliage or flowers, anything I’ve picked up through my day to day life that have resonated with me end up on the board, alongside my vision statement for LT – keeping it fresh and what I’m striving for.
Plants – I have plants dotted all throughout my home, not only do I love to bring the natural world into my home but they also help to clean the air by absorbing toxins.
My large diary of notes – it goes everywhere with me and it keeps me straight when I’m juggling my priorities.
My yoga mat, propped against the wall, I stop for a break at lunch and yoga is a huge part of my life, its important to keep the balance, stay grounded and have some down time during the day.
WHERE CAN WE FIND YOUR WORK?