The bath and body industry is extremely competitive, but that didn’t scare Scottie Lawrence from opening Magnolia Soap and Bath Co. in December 2020 at 1325 E. 15th St., Suite 102. Unlike the “big guys,” Magnolia specializes in plant-based products handmade on site without chemicals or preservatives.
The Cherry Street launch went so well, Lawrence opened a second location — in Woodland Hills Mall — within the year, and purposely chose a storefront next to a major competitor.
“Strategically it was like, ‘I’m going to go and compete arm and arm with Lush, knowing our products are superior, and then let people eventually find us,” she says. The bold strategy paid off, with the Tulsa stores ranking top 1 and 2 in 2021 sales among the company’s 15 locations, according to Lawrence.
The businesswoman grew up in Kansas, but her parents were from Skiatook and she spent many vacations with family in Tulsa. She met her husband, Drew, when they were both in chiropractic school, and they married and moved to Arizona.
“Then in 2006 we had a life change, and we decided to move back to where my family was,” she says. “I wanted to move to Oklahoma.”
After settling with their two children in Jenks, the couple opened a south Tulsa chiropractic office, where they practiced together until 2017. Then, Lawrence decided she wanted to be an entrepreneur again.
“Just being a chiropractor wasn’t fulfilling for me, but it’s what my husband loves the most,” she says.
In the past Lawrence had flipped houses and owned rental properties on the side to scratch that entrepreneurial itch. In 2019 she started mobile photo booth and mobile bar businesses — both popular wedding rentals — but in 2020 the wedding industry took a nosedive. Lawrence found Magnolia while looking for a new business that was “pandemic proof.”
“Our product contains lye, so we can always be open because we’re a sanitizing-type product,” she explains. “So we never have to close (due to pandemic shutdowns). We’re considered essential because we’re a different kind of store.”
Since opening on Cherry Street in December 2020, Magnolia Soap and Bath Co. has been awash in shoppers curious about its plant-based products for sensitive skin, according to local owner Scottie Lawrence. In November, she opened a second shop in Woodland Hills Mall.
Made by Lawrence’s son, Mason, bar soap is the stores’ top seller, followed by laundry detergent, which comes in nearly any scent or fragrance-free. Bath bombs also are a hit. “Everything here is customizable,” Lawrence says.
With two locations, time management is now Lawrence’s biggest challenge. She has committed to open two more Magnolia shops in the area in the next two years. Although she’s not ready to announce plans, she says the new locations will be no more than 30 minutes from the others to help her “management wise, time wise and sanity wise.”