Everything about LA-EVA inspires you to take a moment of calm to fully appreciate the deeply considered beauty of their collection. We are so proud to be adding this brand to our skincare and beauty offer.
We are utterly entranced by LA-EVA's approach, which is both poetic and cerebral, and we are so impressed by their products. The LA-EVA capsule range is ocean friendly, certified to the highest natural and organic standards, and made on a farm in the UK. All of the skincare is certified organic and vegan, as well as being accredited by the Leaping Bunny programme as completely cruelty free.
We met up with Louisa Canham, the founder of this exceptional brand, in her Oxfordshire studio and frankly we didn't want to leave. The space is of course a workshop and office but this workspace feels more like a creative artist's studio with carefully selected but casually arranged objects in beautiful vignettes on every surface, regularly refreshed and carefully curated by Louisa. A feast for all of the senses, very much like the LA-EVA collection itself.
Here Louisa tells us in her own words about LA-EVA's inception and journey so far.
How did LA-EVA begin?
LA-EVA opened its doors in February 2017 with a wash and a lotion, a holding page, much passion and little expectation. I had been working on LA-EVA for about a year before then but it was all little more than a twinkle in the eye. I still think of the LA-EVA journey as an against-the-odds one, and myself as a fortunate, unlikely candidate to be on it. Professionally by background I am a Clinical Psychologist, having completed my doctorate and clinical training in my early twenties. For a decade I worked closely with children and adolescents with a range of developmental, behavioural and emotional difficulties. I started off working with children with autism and learning disabilities, a time which I loved and which taught me so much about the complexity, delicacy and importance of our sensory world. Later I came to work in many different contexts including paediatric care, adolescent inpatient units and young offenders’ institutions. On a personal level it was an interesting, largely rewarding time and I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet and work with some special individuals and families over the years. But once I had my own children, I found combining work where there were serious issues involving harm and risk to children with being a mother increasingly emotionally challenging.
Looking for something gentle and therapeutic, I discovered traditional cold-process soap making. I would often make soap late at night after the children had been put to bed and just loved working with my hands, learning about nature’s beautiful raw ingredients and getting lost in plumes of aromas. Eventually, as the soaps improved, I started selling them occasionally at farmers’ markets and in due course decided to take an open-ended break from psychology. I came to set up an artisan soap studio with a close friend in 2013. Colourful markets, music festivals, and a few local shops were my new working backdrops. LA-EVA evolved from there.
Nowadays we produce gold-standard ethical products, including certified organic and vegan skincare and cruelty-free hair care. Central to the LA-EVA experience lie layered essential oil blends, offering an emotive scentscape to everyday self-care rituals.
Our values and LA-EVA:
Minimal waste, pollutants and emissions
Made in the UK
What are the three things about your business that make your heart sing?
Our eccentric, wabi-sabi, transformative concept studio tucked away in the middle of nowhere. The incredible people that I have had the privilege of meeting, connecting and working with over the course of this journey. The layers - of essences, ingredients, collaborations, concept - that we are immersed in and the rich complexity that comes with these.
What are the key sustainable and ethical elements of LA-EVA?
We sit very much in the sustainability world - we are certified organic by the Soil Association, vegan by the Vegan Society and of course cruelty-free. We work with as little plastic as possible - our bottles are made from recycled glass, we offer optional stainless steel dispensers, and we are one of the first certified organic brands to launch refills, very much in keeping with a belief in the beauty and importance of reducing waste.
LA-EVA is generally built around a philosophy celebrating the alignment of luxury with simplicity - when we take a step back, some of the best things in life are simple, beautiful and meaningful. The ‘less is more’ belief affects everything we do, including keeping our range to a capsule size. All our skincare products are multi-purpose, so created looking at skin as one unitary organ, so for face, hands and body, as one.
I do want to say that I - and LA-EVA as a brand - do not come to these decisions from a position of purism or green-eco perfectionism. The angle is much more about integrity. And about beauty. Ethical integrity and thoughtfulness as an essential ingredient in the creation of wellbeing products.
Do you have a signature product, something that really sums up what your brand is about?
I am particularly proud of our most recent addition to the line, the ROSĒUM Exfoliant Salts. It is the first new product we have introduced since I opened doors with LA-EVA three years ago. We are making the salts in a new, second studio that we have taken on and it is wonderful being surrounded by all the aromas of the beautiful organic essential oils that we are using. We are sourcing our flor de sal directly from a wonderful salt farm in Portugal and have collaborated with fine artist Meinke Flesseman and ceramicist Célia Maria de Sousa Mendonça on the packaging and scoops that we have created for the products. The salts are fine and elegant, so simple yet so layered. And the ROSĒUM essential oils blend that we use is one of our most popular signature scents.
What about Plum & Belle feels like it has particular synergy with your brand?
There is very natural alignment in our philosophy. Your belief in transparency, respect and meaningful beauty is what LA-EVA is all about so we simply sing from the same songbook.
What are your future aims for your business?
Beautiful new additions to our range. Beautiful creative collaborations. And reaching further afield.