Original | Meet a family trio of soap makers just won 26 weeks of free rent at an area shopping mall

Winners of the Small Shop Showdown, Sierra and Dakota Frazier will join their mother Margo to open a new "Lilly Bloom" handmade soap shop in Spotsylvania Town Center.

Spotsylvania Town Center announced the winner of its Small Shop Showdown.

Soapmaker, Lilly Bloom, owned by Margo Frazier and her children Sierra and Dakota Frazier will be the recipients of six months free rent from the shopping mall, starting April 1.

Frazier credits her children, daughter Sierra, 22, and son Dakota, 16, who will be the owners and operators of the business while she works in the background making the products to sell.

“We make bath and body products,” says Margo, “We try to strip it down to the most natural, wholesome ingredients. We use cocoa butter and shea butter, void of toxins. A lot of times you use deodorant and it will have aluminum in it and you’re putting that in your body. We try to strip away all of the toxins and bad ingredients and make something that you can feel confident using and makes your skin feel smooth and fresh.”

Margo said she got the idea to start Lilly Bloom four years ago from watching a YouTube video.

“I said, ok, I’ve got to learn how to do this,” says Margo,” Four years later, I’m self-taught and network with sixty other soapmakers around the country.”

Margo said that the small network of soapmakers shares recipes, ideas, and research.

“We’re able to fast track what we do because we’re a collective mind.”

Margo manufactures all of the products for the business and sells them to her children, Sierra and Dakota.

“We move products and sell them as fast as we can,” says Dakota, “Our product is very dynamic. It can be sold to anybody and it grabs the attention of people walking by.”

Sierra said they will use social media platforms such as Instagram to promote their products.

“All these things are natural and made out of premium ingredients but they’re also very cute,” says Sierra, “Most natural ingredient products are very plain.”

Margo said their top-selling products are their bath bombs, soap and body butter.

Sierra said she has previous experience working in retail to add to her experience as a shop owner. She is doing general studies at Germanna Community College.

“It is a great opportunity to learn behind the scenes of a business,” she says.

Margo said they will hire an employee to manage the store, and expense they’ve already accounted for in their existing budget.

“Sierra has classes and Dakota has after school activities and I’m making the products and working full time,” Margo said.

Margo works in banking when she is not making products.

Margo said they are talking to the mall about the location of their new store. She said they are contemplating three locations. “It’s all about foot traffic,” Sierra says.

“Our products are interactive so we want to demo our products in the windows to attract people as they walk by,” says Margo, “One of our main competitors is Lush. Our products are whimsical and designed to make you smile. Lush uses more natural ingredients but maybe not in a whimsical way.”

Margo said their interactive experience may include customers trying their hand at making some of the products in addition to trying them out.

“You have to feel it, touch it and experience it,” Margo says, “That’s why retail is so important to us because we’ve done the pop-up shops and the craft shows.”

Sierra said word of mouth has worked best to promote their business.

“Craft shows are great,” Sierra says, “but you have to contend with the weather.”

Sierra said she learned about the Small Shop Showdown contest when she saw an advertisement on a windowpane in the mall. She said she took a picture and sent it to her mom.

“I thought we have nothing to lose if we do this,” she said, “It’s a long shot but we should go for it.”

Margo said she has always known retail was the way to go for their business to thrive, but the challenge of maintaining rent was a deterrent.

“We even talked about getting a space and making it mercantile, where we sublet it to antique dealers, just to cover the rent,” Margo said, “To make that leap from a craft show to a mall was huge. We see this as an opportunity of a lifetime. We can’t thank Spotsylvania Towne Center enough. It’s phenomenal that they’re doing this for the community.”

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