In following up our recent product spotlight on Vetiver Black Pepper hair powder, we had the privilege of interviewing one Ms. Linda Aldredge, the head of hair behind Minneapolis-based company Lulu Organics. As a small business owner, treehouse dweller, DIY advocate and scent-sorceress, Linda had a lot of compelling stuff to share with us here at Blackbird. See for yourselves:
Blackbird: So, I’ve got to ask: What’s the longest stretch of time that you’ve gone without washing your hair?
Lulu Organics: I love this question. Because truly, I used to go obscene amounts of time without washing my hair. In college I had a serious routine of unwash, bathing like a chinchilla in baby powder. The longest actual stretch was three months. I had a beautiful, grotesque head of dirtbag hair.
Blackbird: From your investigations in the arena of aroma, could you describe the scent that stands out most prominently in your memory? What of that particular smell makes it so distinctive?
Lulu Organics: Hmm... I've never really thought about this before? I'm Italian so what immediately comes to mind are food smells. Cooking onions... and garlic. I do, however, remember an empty antique glass perfume bottle my mother used to keep on her dressing table. When I would try to spray the no longer remaining scent a poof of dusty, amber-y scent would escape from it which seemed so magical to me.
I love musky notes. And I love androgynous scents. Or a masculine scent on a woman—nothing could be more attractive. Tobacco and Amber is what I wear but have yet to work that combo into a product, not for lack of trying. I also like scents that make you double take.. kind of like WHAT exactly is going on in there? I find that creating that dynamic in natural scents is more challenging.
The origin of my scents though are very personal. All of my scents are the favorite scents of all the women in my life. I could name a friend for each product.
Blackbird: I’ve been looking at your blog, and I see that you live in a tree house for part of the year, which of course means that you’ve somehow managed to realize almost everyone’s childhood dream. How’s life up in the branches? How has your time spent in the woods affected your perceptions of more “conventional” lifestyles?
Lulu Organics: Life in the branches is perfect. I really prefer to be in upstate New York than to be anywhere in the world. My little mountain and house is about as magical as it comes. Time in the woods grounds me and reminds me to not take life too seriously. It would be easy for me to get caught up in the whole beauty world, chaining myself to my computer, twittering my life away. But being stripped of all worldly possessions, electricity and modern plumbing reminds me of what's important. My family, the woods and the plants. Making a simple meal, singing around a campfire... it's all a person needs to feel complete.
Blackbird: Does it inform your process when creating new products?
Lulu Organics: It definitely informs my process in creating new products. I am an herbalist at heart so I spend a lot of time harvesting medicinal plants on my land, cooking them down with oils and making balms. I have an entire first aid kit made with plants from my land. Complete with homemade cortisone, burn + rash remedies. I am beyond inspired when I am up there!
Blackbird: Apropos of the fine print here on a container of your hair powder: this ingredient list is pretty stellar(horsetail powder—very cool). Can you adequately describe how you went about developing this concoction without giving too much away too many trade secrets? It’s such a fresh take on an idea that’s actually—well— really old.
Lulu Organics: Well coming up with the Hair Powder was actually quite simple. I just thought to take all the natural powders that effectively absorb smell and odor and put them all together! The work is getting the ratios right, which took me some time and balancing the fragrance. Horsetail is the only (herbal) 'medicinal' powder in there. It's has thickening properties when used both topically and internally. I love horsetail!
Blackbird: I just used some of your Patchouli Amber hair powder last night and I’ve got to tell you, it really did the trick. Despite how well it actually works, I don’t feel like anyone really even knows about hair powder anymore . Would you consider yourself to be a sort of revivalist? A Marie Antoinette sympathizer? A beacon of old-fashionedness for the retrosexual set? Inquiring minds want to know: why are you in it? And for the stereotypical bad interview question: What makes the minds behind Lulu Organics tick?
Lulu Organics: There is absolutely no grand plan behind what I do, truly. I could care LESS about beauty trends, what's hot, etc. I simply love to use powder in my own hair and hated the fact that talc is the base ingredient for all powders. When I'm inspired to make a product the desire is simply born out of my own (or a friend's) need for it. Though, I do confess when I hear rumors of some famous so-and-so being obsessed with the Hair Powder, I love it! I love the idea of our little naked girl donning the shelves of some pretty lux boudoirs.
Blackbird: Anything you’d like for our readers to know about your company?
Lulu Organics: I guess that we'd rather people get inspired (by us) to carve out their own little world of DIY. I'd rather the world learn to make all the things they use in their daily life than to buy them. This might sound ridiculous coming from a small business owner (!) but I do actually feel this way.
A big thank you to Linda for chatting with us here in Seattle. Now, off to build our own home in the trees.