Doing the [Small Biz] Hustle feat. Lemon Laine

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If you want something done right, sometimes you have to do it yourself. Laura Lemon, founder of East Nashville’s Lemon Laine, is dedicated to reinventing the beauty retail experience. Her early experience working within the traditional beauty world left her deeply dissatisfied, so she decided to do something about it.

“I started all of this with a chip on my shoulder, honestly,” Laura said in our recent chat, “So many of my friends and family were sharing with me that the department store or mall retail skincare and beauty experience left them feeling intimidated or overwhelmed. And I feel like the beauty industry likes to tell you things you need to change about yourself and want to sell you a miracle cream.” Thanks to the entrepreneurial spirit in her DNA, Laura was motivated to take matters into her own hands to change the way that women interact with products.

Her storefront on Eastland Avenue is arranged not by brand but by step in the skincare process – Cleanse, Treat, Hydrate. “Women don’t like to shop by brand anymore,” she said, but rather they’re looking for the best product for their needs. Displayed like the best-stocked medicine cabinets you’ve ever wanted to peek into, the store’s shelves invite testing and sampling. “We encourage folks to take home samples – I want you to absolutely love this product.”

But for Laura, even the most elaborate and intentional skincare regimen isn’t the whole solution. “You can’t fix a bad diet with skin cream!” she insists. While working for natural beauty brands in San Francisco, Laura took night courses on health and nutrition in Berkley. There she learned the many ways our bodies react and respond to our diet and habits. “That is really my passion – the fact that we have beauty and skincare products in the shop really just opens the conversation to health and overall wellbeing.” The full wall of nutrition resources and a friendly and knowledgeable staff makes for an informative and accessible conversation. 

After 9 months of consistently providing Nashville with hands down the best skincare shopping experience, Laura says she has learned a lot and is looking forward to the next parts of growth. “Of course, there are things you can’t predict when starting a business,” she said, “You learn something new every day, and then just when you get comfortable with them, you take on a new role or a new hat.” Team-building has been a huge part of learning the small business hustle for Laura. In hiring a team that is passionate about the mission of the company, she says, “I love discerning and tapping into what each team member’s strengths are. When the team is relied upon to bring their very best, this allows Lemon Laine to build trust that goes so much deeper than a traditional retail store.”

Another part of that team growth has been adding her husband, Evan, to the roster. He recently went full-time with Lemon Laine, providing Laura the number-crunching support that allows her to grow into other areas of the business. “There is never a time when we’re not talking about the shop,” she says, “The most important thing is setting the tone for the day, deciding what needs to be focused on, and having the right team to get it done. … The hustle is now working smarter, not harder!”

Keep up the boogie, Laura! 

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