Lauren VanScoy was sitting on the kitchen floor of a friend’s house having an emotional breakdown. She wanted more than anything to be anywhere other than where she was in that moment. She hadn’t seen her close girlfriends much since having her second baby several months earlier. And while moms with newborns often spend more time with family than socializing, something seemed different about Lauren. Her friends were concerned, so they were asking questions. Where had she been? Why was she so distant? Was there something she wasn’t telling them? The hardest part was that Lauren didn’t have any answers and struggled to even speak at all.
Lauren was aware of post-partum depression but hadn’t experienced anything like it after the birth of her first child or even in the first few months after her second baby. Then something began to shift. There were signs that things weren’t quite right, but she couldn’t put her finger on it. She struggled with social anxiety nearly all of the time outside of family conversations. Friends’ social media posts and messages were making her feel excluded and even paranoid. Were they leaving her out on purpose? Was there a reason her name was last on a group email? She couldn’t figure out why it upset her so much, especially since she didn’t want to leave the house.
And then there was that moment on her friend’s kitchen floor when it all came to a head. While it was incredibly painful at the time, it’s what pushed Lauren to make an appointment with a counselor to see if there was something that could be done to lift the darkness. As it turned out, there was a medical explanation for what she’d been experiencing. She was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and it was manifesting as anxiety. She learned about treatment options, and after six weeks of working with her doctor to get her medication right, Lauren’s mood improved significantly.
In the process, Lauren began exploring natural remedies to complement what her doctor prescribed. She learned about aromatherapy and essential oils, which immediately helped relieve her anxiety. Finding the right balance of traditional medicine and all-natural remedies was life-changing for Lauren. It inspired her to learn the science behind it and become a certified aromatherapist. She started formulating her own products at home in the kitchen and developed a talent for it. She’d share samples with friends and family and, based on their feedback, eventually started selling them.
The Birth of a Business
Lauren officially launched Essence One in 2016 while she was still working in her full-time position as the chief operations officer for a company that produced music tours. She manufactured all of her own products and sold them on her website. She participated in pop-ups and special events on evenings and weekends, including farmers markets and the Minnesota State Fair. At those events, she had a unique opportunity to educate hundreds of women on the therapeutic properties of essential oils as well as the benefits of living a life free of the toxins often found in beauty and home products.
She also talked about her anxiety and depression and the role natural remedies played in transforming her own health. As she shared her story, Lauren learned that countless other women had experienced similar issues. She realized how important it was to talk about mental health to help eliminate the stigma associated with it. Lauren became so passionate about it she began donating a portion of the proceeds from her business to organizations dedicated to mental health education.
In 2018, Lauren took the leap to full-time entrepreneurship. She had already hired a part-time team to keep up with product demand and knew she couldn’t continue to grow the business unless she was completely committed to it. That shift opened doors for Lauren to explore new shared retail space opportunities in the Twin Cities, Minnesota. Essence One became a long-term vendor at Fourpost at Mall of America and Rose and Loon at Rosedale Center.
Bringing Six Female Founders Together for Good
As Lauren began building a network of women-owned businesses, she connected with many that shared her philosophy that businesses should give back to the communities they serve. So when an opportunity presented itself in early 2019, she proposed the idea for a new venture, Six for Good, to five other female founders—Ginger Neilon of Baubles & Bobbies, Anna Hagen and Nikki Hollerich of Hagen and Oats, Robyn Frank of Thumbs Cookies, and Sairey Gernes of Towel Topper and Urban Undercover.
Six for Good launched in April at Rosedale Center, and all of the women involved are committed to putting people and planet over profit. They make decisions as a team, share staff and other resources, split business expenses, and each donates a portion of sales to causes she is personally committed to—from putting an end to sex trafficking to ensuring everyone has access to clean water. In June, Six for Good began offering space to support emerging entrepreneurs and showcase new products. And there’s even talk of expansion to other markets.
Photo: Essence One
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