So great to see everybody this year at the annual Taste of Ojai! It was a pretty warm day at the Ojai Valley Inn but we kept the Lavender Lemonade and our new Wild Strawberry Lemonade ice cold for everyone. Lots of laughing, eating and dancing all to benefit the local Rotary. We are excited to be able to be attending our 5th year at this great event. Thanks so much for all the words of encouragement that everyone had for us! We love you Ojai!
The sky is filled with brilliant colors this morning casting pink shadows over the harbor where my husband and I now live on our sailboat. Four years ago I took my life shook it up and today, have nothing that resembles my former life or self. Selling our family home of 25 years to cut down our expenses and launching into the beverage world with a little lemonade recipe that I used to make in my kitchen for my kids has now put me into a new life/world of discovery, possibilities and the “anything is absolutely possible” place where nothing is impossible.
But what does it mean? Why was I given this opportunity? After listening to Zhena, Founder of Gypsy Teas speak last night at a new Women’s giving group I realized again I was asking these questions of myself and my company. As she spoke of pioneering Fair Trade for her tea company in the early days I started to think about the growers again of our lemons, sugar, lavender, ginger and lemongrass – who are they? While we only purchase organic ingredients, we haven’t gone fair trade yet. How are we to help? Is it to help our industry to bring more awareness to the customers how important organic and a clean label is? As a mom, I see young children come up to our “lemonade stand” in the stores as they sip our lemonade and I know that providing them a pure product free of chemicals, preservatives and additives is the most important thing we can do. So, with that, I set off this morning back to the office with one of my quests to find out more about the people behind our lemonade, the farmers, the bottlers, the sustainable glass manufacturers to bring you closer to the lives of the people who are really working to change the industry – we are just the vehicle for helping them…
https://lorisoriginallemonade.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/loris-original-lemonade-logo-1.gif00Lori Volkhttps://lorisoriginallemonade.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/loris-original-lemonade-logo-1.gifLori Volk2016-01-27 15:30:412016-01-27 15:30:41Who are we and what is our purpose?
My lemonade took me to a wonderful woman who is 89 years old this week. A special delivery as the local store she shops at didn’t have full cases for her to buy. She buys our lemonade for her worker who drinks exactly 1 lavender lemonade every day – she said he only drinks natural drinks, not coke and she was running low and wanted to keep the refrigerator stocked up for him.
It was late in the afternoon and I agreed to meet her wherever she would like – she had some shopping to do and said she could meet me at her commercial office. While I wasn’t exactly comfortable meeting someone as it grew dark by myself, I trusted that it would be okay.
What happened next was one of the most amazing experiences I have had yet. This woman and her husband were collectors and as she took me through her large office of collections of antiques and things so lovingly acquired from decades of collecting I listened to her stories about the history of special things she selected to talk about. I loved her story about the picture of her skydiving when she turned 70! She described the story in such wonderful detail she almost had me convinced it was a bucket list item for me.
At almost an hour later we ended in her office (she’s 89 and has a fully functioning office!) She starts inserting the paper into an antique player piano, I look at the music and faintly printed are the words on the paper that will soon be spinning through the roller and can’t believe my eyes. The music “Show me the way to go home” is starting to sound as the keys are playing by itself… I sing to the music as I remember the last time I heard that song played was my grandma who played it on the ukulele for me every time I would visit – eventually I learned to play and sing it myself as soon as I was old enough. Tears came to my eyes as the music finished and I looked at this wonderful woman who had hugged me the moment I met her.
As I sit writing this I remember the moment I created LOL and as I was feeling so alone as my 25 year job of raising our 3 children was over as the youngest headed off to college and losing my part time job with the local school district I didn’t know what I was going to do. I remember I just kept thinking connecting to people was what I really wanted – and what better way to do that but through the lemonade I had made for our kids, family and friends?
I turned to my new friend and asked her what her secret is? Without skipping a beat she said, “I just keep busy, I have things I need to do and oh I have so many interests!” She is now trying to decide what she will do to celebrate her 90th birthday.
And now, it was dark, my husband no doubt worried where I was but I stood in the parking lot not sure about how I got to this place to meet this amazing woman. She gave me another hug and was so thankful that I had brought our lavender lemonade to her – I looked back and told her any time I would be happy to hand deliver our lemonades to her and thanked her for being such a wonderful example of how we can all achieve happiness and fulfillment no matter our age… I love that I said yes to starting Lori’s Original Lemonade and wonder how many wonderful people I will get to meet along the way-
https://lorisoriginallemonade.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/loris-original-lemonade-logo-1.gif00Lori Volkhttps://lorisoriginallemonade.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/loris-original-lemonade-logo-1.gifLori Volk2016-01-22 20:14:392016-01-22 20:14:39What will you do when you are 90?
People tell me all of the time that it takes money to make money! While it would be nice to have a lot of extra money to run our lemonade company, the reality is we have what we need and that is it. Four years ago I took out a 5k loan from my local credit union with a small piece of artwork held tightly in the palm of my hand feeling the adrenaline running through my veins. It was my logo, newly drawn in pencil by a local artist.I believed this logo would change mine and my family’s life forever. I just knew that we could sell lemonade and help defray our living expenses and pay for our 3 kids college as I promised them. I was desperate to believe in something to help us- Lori’s Original Lemonade was born.
Last week we had to make one of the most difficult decisions, to lay off one of our team members. It is never easy, but this was especially difficult for so many reasons – we all cried. My accountants say its winter, we are seasonal, but it doesn’t make it easier. We are growing at such a rate that its harder and harder to keep expenses down. It’s the holidays, I envision beautiful gifts for my valued customers who feel like my new family. But, instead we decided to wrap a bottle of lemonade up with a candy cane and a nice note.
As we enter our 5th year we realize that it is making the tough choices that we are making now which is enabling our company to continue to be successful year after year – Staying scrappy is helping us learn valuable business principles and finding alternative solutions and resources we didn’t know we had.
This is a place to gather to talk lemonade! In our short life with LOL we have come across many people who really love lemonade! We want to produce the best, organic lemonades that are different and unique and would love to hear what types of lemonades you have had that you would love to see in your local store.