Weekly Note;

12/8/19 7:19pm

It’s dark with a chill in the air now as the night settles in on our home aboard our sailboat. I’ve been sipping a hot coffee with a little bit of Irish Creme as I reflect on the last few days as I sit writing this at our chart table. With a whirlwind of a week, just when I thought LOL and I were going into our hibernation month, the emails picked up and we actually just made our sales goal inside of the first week. While that is extremely encouraging, I had many things that moved the needle forward for my company as well. After 2 months of disputing yet another deduction with a distributor, I almost gave up trying to recoup it but I decided to persevere and get to the bottom of it. Fortunately, heading straight for the top of the chain in command (thanks to an exceptional receptionist) I was able to resolve the problem for me and possibly others as there was a breakdown in the system that they didn’t realize. It reminds me yet again, that everyone out there is just trying to do their best work. Mistakes are not intentional, but accidental (mostly) and I was treated so well during the this final interaction that it completely changed my perspective of this distributor. When one moment I wanted to quit out of frustration, the next moment I was apologizing for being so demanding. Lessons learned; don’t quit, persevere and assume the best of people.

Next, I had a couple of super cool calls by press/media that may turn into something pretty amazing – will keep you posted.

After that, we had our end of fiscal year meeting with the CPA and really reflected on what a great learning year this was and how much of a difference we were making now for LOL based on those lessons. I feel that I owe it to LOL to be a good steward as I truly believe this company has been a gift to me when I thought nothing else was possible and I could never be excited in business again.

One of my goals was to attend a workshop or webinar every month to help me in my business – had a great one this last week by SCORE.org. I highly recommend you check out their website for resources to help grow your business.

And of course on the personal front, I made my fitness goals, meeting with trainer, ordered a new pair of running shoes and getting back to thinking of triathlons and running events again…

And, we welcome back the Ranch House in Ojai to our lemonade family who will now be carrying our lemonades again!

So as the night gets colder on the ocean, we close up the hatches, turn up the little space heater and I remember the things that I used to take for granted while living on land, the large kitchen, bathroom, a regular bed, a washer and dryer, a dishwasher, wi-fi, tv bigger than 20”. I remember, we are on the downhill slide of our goal now, only 10 months left on the Dave Ramsey Baby Steps plan now – staying focused we will have paid off all of the debt we started with just 6 years ago. I am humbled at where we are now, what we are achieving and look forward to the moment we can celebrate the last payment with you.

Fair Winds and Following Seas

Will check back in next week.


Lori Volk, Chief Believer Officer/Founder/Ironman

Lori’s Original Lemonade

Since 2011


I remember the moment I created Lori’s Original Lemonade. What would happen over the next 4 months to actual physical manifestation of the lemonade would be nothing short of a miracle. Still, I am in awe of the enormous amount of work and everything that had to come together to make the first bottles off the assembly line possible.

But it was during those first few months of creating LOL that I knew one thing for sure, that this would be the most difficult adventure I had ever taken on and for that I must have the most purposeful mission that would be to serve a bigger purpose than just paying off my kids college expenses so that when times got tough (and they did) that we would have a bigger purpose to push through the hard times. I searched for ways I could give and donate and set up an infrastructure for the “passion project”. I soon realized that margins were thin and costs to start were beyond what I could have ever imagined. So under funded, naive but full of hope I had only one thing that I could latch on to and that was I believed I could make it work so that some day I could help others in a bigger way.

Fast forward 8 years while I haven’t been able to get to that personal “passion project” up and running, I have been able to help people in so many other ways. I recently saw a piece on recycling from KCET https://www.kcet.org/shows/socal-connected/episodes/life-in-plastic-californias-recycling-woes

I have been guilty of taking styrofoam cups for my coffee and now I notice the words “DART” on them. I have started to bring in my own cup to fill. As I live on a boat, we see all of the trash that comes floating from the land into the ocean, whenever we can we are picking up plastic out of the ocean. We’ve even stopped on our way to the islands to pick up Mylar balloons. The micro particles of styrofoam are being found in fish, being washed up on beaches, stuck in landfills, along our beaches and its not going away.

(This photo taken this morning of the plastic and foam on my way up the dock from our boat)

I realized that every time someone chooses our lemonade over another brand that is in plastic they are helping the environment by choosing us. We are in glass, we are organic, we now have our glass made in the USA not overseas. I am proud of what we represent. I couldn’t imagine us being any other way. Yes, it is expensive. Being organic, I pay as much as 4 x more for my ingredients than non organic ingredients, but it is the only way. Glass is a 100 percent renewable and recyclable resource.

So, today, I am proud of our bigger mission – to help in a small way to support the health and sustainability of our planet by committing to organic and glass. Thank you for your continued support of our mission.

Lori Volk, Chief Believer Officer/Ironman

Lori’s Original Lemonade

since 2011

”Lori Volk, You are an Ironman!” These were the words that I heard almost 20 minutes to midnight on 11/18/2012 in Tempe Arizona.  I had trained for a solid 3 years with focused training for one year prior to the event. I am compelled to write about this on the anniversary that I accomplished a goal that I never thought I could achieve. While I finished with just 20 minutes to spare, crossing the finish line was more rewarding than I could ever have imagined. Everyone there, from the spectators, my coach, my team, was a part of the energy that goes into the Ironman event. I remember a woman passing me near the finish line – she had one leg and one prosthetic leg, I was in complete awe and admiration for being part of such a revered event. My mind had brought me to the finish line many times during training. During the most difficult training days, I would repeat the mantra and vision me running through the finish line as I heard my name and You are an Ironman in my head. Each time I envisioned it, it became more real and detailed. As far as my mind was concerned it happened. I learned to visualize my goals early in my 20’s when I worked for a very dynamic cellular telecommunications company in the early 80’s. They taught me how to visualize in detail achieving goals. This practice came in especially strong during my training. It would become the biggest physical achievement of my life so far. Before I started I had been literally afraid to put my face in the water without a mask. I had to learn how to swim and had the most amazing Coach Rick in Ojai to teach me. It was the perseverance and carefully orchestrated training plans that Coach Julianna put together so mindfully that we were so connected by the end that we were a well orchestrated team making the mission impossible possible. It was this very important time in my life that gave me just the right amount of confidence that I needed to start Lori’s Lemonade. As I was getting stronger physically, my company was building a solid foundation and most of my ideas would come during my long training days in Ojai as I looped the valley for hours on end, either on foot or bike, after I swam at the pool or ocean. It was clearing and freeing being outside all of those hours and it was the only time I could be free to create and dream of what I could do with LOL. I remember distinctly another Ironman friend said, once you are an Ironman, you are always an Ironman and no one can ever take that away from you.

So, break from the pack, dream big dreams and remember Anything is Possible…

Lori Volk, Chief Believer Officer/Ironman

Lori’s Original Lemonade

It’s a bright sunny Sunday morning as I sit sipping hot coffee in the salon of our 41’ cruising sailboat that I live aboard with my husband writing this.  It’s been 6 years since we’ve been aboard full time. After living aboard when I was in my teens, I vowed that I would come back again, and here we are. The temperature is changing as I feel the chill on board. It is here that I have celebrated, laughed and cried over LOL for the last 6 years.

It’s hard to believe that it was 8 years ago that the little idea of bottling my lavender lemonade recipe became a reality. That one fateful day that I was let go from my job with the local school district due to budget cuts after 12 years of working turned out to be the best day of my life. I was stuck in a job that wasn’t a representation of who I was nor what I could do and it was like I was on a hamster wheel running and running, without a way to get off. And literally, the day I was running on the Ojai trail, training for an Ironman Triathlon, I got the call that would change my life – they didn’t need me anymore. And after a few weeks, I realized I didn’t need them either. I got forced off the hamster wheel and couldn’t have been happier. As soon as I let go of the anger and frustrations, everything started to change – my entrepreneurial self came back, I was flooded with ideas and possibilities, and then LOL jumped into my life and I embraced it with every ounce of my being. An idea I had thought about for a few years came back with a vengeance and this time I was ready. October 17, 2011 was the day I stopped feeling sorry for myself and became the Chief Believer of Lori’s Original Lemonade.

LOL and I have had some amazing times together, but we’ve had our share of heartaches. Life as a new entrepreneur is frustrating, exhilarating and terrifying every day 24/7. But, I feel the need to be here, pushing my limits to see where we can go next. We have learned so much this year and I have adjusted the sails of my ship for a new course. And like the new sail we have on our trusty sailboat, I have put new sails on LOL and we are headed for a brighter horizon going into our 9th year.

I appreciate the hard lessons I have learned this year and I thank each and everyone of you who continued to believe in us even when I was questioning everything. Thank you for those who have pushed me to be better at what we do- I started LOL to reconnect with people after becoming an empty nester – connect is what I have done- to the most amazing people. My reality in LOL is beyond anything that I could have imagined when I was creating it.

Thank you to all of you – every day for supporting us. I am dedicated to bringing you the most delicious, organic and unique lemonades.

Lori Volk, Chief Believer Officer

Lori’s Original Lemonade, since 2011

Hello again, its my weekly update only its three weeks late… While I continue to write out my weekly updates in my head, it never seems to make it to print. We have been so busy at LOL working our new distribution plan and seeing the positive results from it couldn’t make me happier as we barrel down into summer.  After long 13 hour days for weeks it was time to take a short break and head south to our other off the grid house in Baja, Mexico for a few days. While I can work from there using our solar system internet, I spent time getting organized in what projects were going to happen next. It is a place I can free my mind and be creative while I dream whats next for my company. We have cut our distribution by several hundred stores since January to shift to a new local strategy of being sustainable and profitable (imagine that!) – it only took me 7 years to figure this out. But, at the same time I have been wondering if it was the right approach even though the numbers confirm we were absolutely spot on in our decision. As I sifted through the pile of mail on my desk yesterday, I saw a familiar car drive up to my office. I stepped out and saw my dear customer, Elaine. Elaine is a most treasured customer who found us one day because a local retailer kept running out of our product and she needed my Lavender Lemonade for her worker as he drank one bottle everyday. Elaine is 92 and as spry and so full of life that I am sure she could run circles around most people I know half her age. She is all smiles as she opens the car door as she steps out to give me a hug. “I have a present for you!” Elaine said. She opens the trunk of her one of a kind specialty built Subaru that is in mint condition. As she reaches into her trunk she pulls out this beautiful sign “Believe” it says in gold. She says, “You are the Chief Believer and this is for you!” I hugged and thanked her as I gave her a case of our special Lavender Lemonade. As I sat back down to the pile of mail at my desk I remembered back when I started this company. While yes, I wanted to pay for college for our three kids, I had also made another wish, to connect back to people after becoming an empty nester. And while I thought I started this business to “sell bottles of lemonade” Elaine reminded me its much more than that. There is magic in this company, a special feeling that I have whenever I am working in it. I am so proud of what we have created and more thankful for the people who have helped us along the way.

From our family to yours, our mission is to bring you the most delicious organic lemonades to share with those you love.

Lori Volk, Chief Believer Lori’s Original Lemonade since 2011

loris original lemonade beach

Breathing in the warm salty air of the Sea of Cortez as my husband Tom and I have escaped the chaotic world of building companies for a bit of peace before lemonade goes into full swing.  After making massive changes in how my lemonade will arrive to you, my amazing customers, I have been depleted of any creative energy and needed to find peace in the slow pace of Baja. For over 39 years we have travelled the Baja Peninsula and fell in love with its people, culture and the intense and ever changing beauty of this magical land.

As I sit here now day 5 in our off the grid 30′ round Mexican brick house, I reflect on the short time we have had here as we will be leaving in a couple of days.  Orders from our valued retailers and distributors our still flowing in via my solar powered casa that is connected to a series of repeaters along the coast to get us wifi service.  I am eternally grateful for those retailers I have chosen to keep. The retailers and distributors who value the small manufacturer and appreciate the quality of our lemonades even though we are not the least expensive option. In cutting over half of my distribution to become profitable and more importantly sustainable, I just realized I have already achieved my new projections for March – and its only 7 days in! With each day that passes through the lemonade company I realize how much more I can learn from it by listening to my heart and staying true to my mission. I started this to pay for college for three kids, but I believe it is much bigger than that now and I am learning to enjoy the process of bringing the lemonade company to its full potential- albeit the most challenging task I have ever taken on – I wish you continued success as you push for your dreams!

Our mission is to bring you the most delicious, organic lemonades to share with those you love.

Lori Volk, Chief Believer/Ironman

Lori’s Original Lemonade since 2011


lori volk