You may not know it yet, but tucked behind the stairs at Heights Mercantile is a new beauty store that is as dreamy as it is adorable. Lemon Laine offers skincare, haircare, body, makeup from personally curated collections, more well-known brands such as Tata Harper, Kjaer Weis, Indie Lee, and also less-known brands like Clary Collection, Mother Dirt, Ora Organics and Osea. The store even carries wellness products to help improve gut health, stress, and collagen. Lemon Laine also has a curated oil bar for custom facial oils.
This truly unique beauty store caught the attention of the Heights Blog, so we sat down with owner Laura Lemon for an exclusive interview about her store and its origins.
Lemon Laine is the brainchild of its founder, Laura Lemon, who created Lemon Laine to elevate the experience people have when shopping for beauty. Laura opened the doors to Lemon Laine in The Heights in November, having opened her first Lemon Laine in Nashville only 18 months prior. She says she chose The Heights as the location for her second store because it reminded her of home: the charm of her childhood neighborhood in Tulsa, the energy of San Francisco (where she lived in her 20s), and the fun vibe of her current residence in Nashville. “I only want to have stores where I can feel at home,” Laura told the Heights Blog, “and in The Heights I felt it instantly.”
“My hope is that Lemon Laine is a place where women feel comfortable,” Laura said. “Comfortable enough to try products they’ve never tried before, discover things that they love… and hopefully just have a bit of fun along the way.”
While Laura is new to Houston, she isn’t new to beauty. Laura spent 10+ years in the beauty industry. Gravitating to beauty as a child, Laura became a product-junkie after having cystic acne as a teenager and turning toward makeup as a means to help with her confidence. After working as a makeup artist in high school and progressing through college, she landed a job as a buyer at Walmart where she led the store’s initial launch of natural beauty into 2,000 stores over 10 years ago.
After Walmart, Laura moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where she worked in sales & marketing for Yes To (the maker of natural beauty products) and then in product development for Juice Beauty, where she worked to develop Juice Beauty’s products and Gwyneth Paltrow’s goop product line.
After her experiences on the corporate side of beauty, a void remained–Laura still felt uninspired by the beauty shopping experience, which ultimately led her to want to start her own retail store.
“It might sound crazy, but when my husband and I moved to Nashville in 2016, I started Lemon Laine with very humble expectations,” Laura said. “Sure, I had hoped it would be successful, but I really just wanted the space to be what I selfishly wanted a beauty store to be.”
Probably the best part of Lemon Laine is its noticeable dedication to being approachable–from its customer-service to the products offered. When curating the products to offer in the store, Laura is steadfast on a commitment to having products that offer something for everyone–there are incredible organic moisturizers for those customers where price doesn’t matter, but there are also $2 lip balms and everything in between.
“Beauty is a bit like buying wine,” Laura told Heights Blog. “Sometimes the best bottles are only $15! I am more focused on what works.”
Outside of the standard beauty products, Lemon Laine also sells wellness products. While working in beauty the Bay Area, Laura took night-classes in Berkeley to learn about holistic nutrition. She says that she’s always been driven by a desire to create a conversation around the root causes of the things we don’t like about our own skin.
“Sure, I could sit here and tell you that there’s some miracle cream. But there’s not, and all women know that. What I hope that our customers start to see is that there are things they can do on the wellness side that can substantially impact their skin, their mood, their ability to get better sleep, the strength of their nails and lashes, you name it.”
The wellness products carried by Laura are focused on gut health (which severely impacts our skin’s health and well-being), proteins and collagen (which is what our skin, nails and hair are made from), stress relief (stress being a big factor in the health of your skin) and energy (what everyone wish they had more of).
The Oil Bar
Another unique feature at Lemon Laine is their Lemon Laine Oil Bar, located right in the center of the store. Here you can sit with a Lemon Laine barista and have them work with you to create a custom facial oil for your unique skin. Experiencing the Oil Bar lasts about 30 min to an hour (depending on how many people are with you), and is very akin to sitting a wine bar–but instead of just having wine, you also get to leave with your own custom facial oil.
“The Oil Bar is the heart and soul of Lemon Laine,” Laura said. “It recognizes that no two people are the same and that the best in beauty needs to be custom. The world is moving past a one-size-fits-all approach. At the Oil Bar, we take the time to get to know your skin, your beauty and wellness routine, and not only make you the best facial oil for you, but also recommend other items that would fit your unique skin.”
Appointments can be made either by phone or at www.lemonlaine.com, but they also take walk-ins.
While Lemon Laine is certainly family-owned and operated, the design of the space clearly has the fingerprints of non-amateurs. In keeping with her commitment to having each store be a reflection of the community and city in which each are located, Laura partnered with Houston-based architects and designers when creating the Lemon Laine in Heights Mercantile.
Content Architecture helped Laura ensure the Houston location maintained Lemon Laine’s commitment to having each store look and feel like a home, while giving the space its own Houston flavor with custom, Houston-inspired wallpaper designs. Laura worked with Houston-based James Dawson Design in creating the ever-so-playful bar-top for the Oil Bar, where Lemon Laine baristas craft custom facial oils while guests sit and enjoy complimentary beverages.
Lemon Laine hosts weekly educational events that help spread knowledge, start conversations, and empower women to be their best selves. The names of some prior events are telling: “Understanding Your Hormones,” “Women in Business: Work-Life Balance.” “Adaptogens for Stress & Energy,” “Natural Makeup Masterclass,” and “Probiotics 101.” In its Nashville store, Lemon Laine has become a bit of a beacon of women empowerment and education for the area–with its Heights store, Lemon Laine is seeking to do the same.
What is your favorite oil from the Lemon Laine Oil Bar? Do you have any tips for skin care? Comment on the Heights Blog or send us a note with your ideas!