This post was originally published in June of 2013. It has been edited to reflect updates in the Outlaw Soaps story

When I started germinating the seed that would become Outlaw Soaps, I worked in a cubicle in the Los Angeles offices of The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). I lived in a concrete warehouse just East of Downtown.

Two of my favorite places in the world, Lake Hughes and Joshua Tree, were only an hour or two away, but I rarely made it out of the artist compound where I lived. It's easy to get into the habit/rut of waking up, going to work, coming home, going to bed, waking up, going to work, lather, rinse, repeat (do shampoo bottles even say that anymore?).

I felt like if I just had a little connection to the places I loved, that maybe I could be inspired and motivated to go there more often. Like if I had their scent on me, that I would be carrying a little patch of them with me, reminding me why I was alive.

And such was born Outlaw Soaps. Deciding on soaps as that mechanism was pretty easy... it's easy to make soap (relatively), soap involves very dangerous chemicals, and everyone uses soap (mostly). Given our mission, I knew we would probably also branch out to other things like lotion and room spray.

Outlaw Soaps is a way to connect yourself with happy memories, good places, inspiring environments, and, more than anything, to remind you to live your best life (thanks for that, Oprah). All of our scents, including desert sage (Dusty Trails), whiskey (Hair of the Dog) and all the others (Unicorn Poop is its own story) are designed just to get you outside and remind you the daily grind is not the grind of your life.

It's easy to get spun out on office politics. That stuff used to keep me up all hours of the night. I got hernias, ulcers, and migraines because of it. I suck at office politics. It scared the hell out of me. I felt like either people were going to expect too much of me or not give me enough credit, were going to steal my ideas or not use them at all, were going to talk bad about me to someone I wanted to respect me or overlook me entirely... it was like being in high school again.

But you know what's honest? Trees. Dirt. The quiet of the redwoods. The sound of wind through sagebrush. The spiky silhouette of a joshua tree. You are always good enough and smart enough when you're in nature. You are exactly where you are meant to be.

 handmade soap that smells like natureRuss (my husband) and I moved to Oakland shortly after the Outlaw Soaps launch on March 15, 2013. We adopted Roxy, our dog, on May 10th, 2013. We started out in a big concrete warehouse in a pretty crappy part of Oakland, with workshop downstairs. Russ was the building manager, so we got free rent.

It wasn't exactly what we wanted, but we knew it wasn't going to be too long before we could move. And we had the most important thing: a clear vision of where we wanted to go, thanks in no small part to the vision it takes to create the soaps.

Most recently, we moved to Antioch, about 45 minutes outside of Oakland. It's still not the forest, but it's much more rural than the violent and depressing neighborhood we lived in before.

Eventually, we want to move out to the forest and live there, making soap and taking walks and loving everything.

You may think, "oh sure, that sounds easy for you, but you don't have xyz responsibility that I do." That is absolutely true. But all I hope for you is that you keep a connection with your dream. That you keep a connection with the reasons you have chosen your responsibilities, whether that be so you can enjoy a camping trip on the weekends or so you can have whiskey and play poker with your friends on Thursday nights. Because I truly believe that if you remember these dreams, they'll be more real every day.

And yeah, I think the way to do this is to buy Outlaw Soaps, but if your way to do it is having coffee out of a metal cup every morning, just like when you're camping, or keeping fresh flowers on your desk, do that.

You can see our adventures in our Instagram feed and liking us on Facebook.

I'd love to hear from you... what inspires you? What memories drive you? Where do you want to be?

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Andrew Roberts

Sorry. I posted this in the wrong place at first…I meant to post it to your question “what inspires you? What memories drive you?”

I’m from Toronto Canada. 2 hours north of me is an area known as Muskoka…lots of white and red pine trees, maple trees, oak, birch…and in the mid to late fall, after an afternoon rain, sun obscured by clouds, in the cool (40 degrees F) breeze, the scent of damp, cold leaves, mixed with wet pine needles, dark earth, moss growing thick on the rocks and the faint smell of a hardwood fire in the distance is absolutely Canada to me… a soap idea maybe?

I can’t wait to get my shipment of soaps from you, I love all the descriptions you give!