Sarah Walor photo
Last summer, Erika Hollen ended her six-year stint as an art teacher at Skipwith Elementary School to devote herself full time to a dream she'd been tinkering with for 15 years — building her own line of beauty products, which she branded Jackson Sage. Converting the second floor of her Woodland Heights home into a studio, including a secondary kitchen, the 33-year-old spent months experimenting.
"A lot of error, a lot of trial, and eventually it all starts to solidify," Hollen says with a laugh. "When you are doing cold-press soaps, you think you have got it, and then you will botch five batches in a row." Hollen launched a new Web site, created a new logo and solidified her offerings, including an all-natural face-care line with lavender, rose and tea-tree scents, each featuring a cleanser, toner, mist, serum and micro-scrub. Jackson Sage also has a body-care line with bath salts and more than eight handcrafted varieties of soap.
Hollen's hard work paid off. When Whole Foods came to Short Pump late last summer, they noticed Jackson Sage. "I got an e-mail from Whole Foods. They found me on Etsy," Hollen says. "They wanted to find a local skin-care and soap maker. I happened to fit the bill."
Whole Foods, Gallery5 and Bon Air's Sterling Boutique now carry Hollen's products, including the recently launched Doggie Sage, an all-natural line for canines that includes a liquid shampoo, a shampoo bar, a therapeutic mist, a conditioning mist and a balm for hot spots. Hollen's Yorkiepoo, Buttercup, is featured on Doggie Sage's logo. "I have four dogs and I train them, and one of them is a therapy dog, so it seemed very natural to have a dog line," Hollen says.
On Oct. 22, she will discuss her skin-care products at Whole Foods during the Fall Face Treats event, at 7 p.m. The evening includes mini hand treatments, free samples and Hollen's advice on preparing your skin for winter. For more information, visit jacksonsageshoppe.com.