By Christopher Nyerges
Every Tuesday, Victor Limon, 39, can be found standing in front of his booth at the Highland Park Farmers Market proudly displaying his home-made soaps and natural underarm deodorant.
His carefully wrapped soaps are displayed on wooden racks he built himself from an old bookcase. He talks to the curious shoppers as they walk by, explaining how his soaps are made and the history of his business. He gives away little samples of coconut soap and notes that many of his customers are people who came back to buy after trying those samples.
Limon, who lives in East L.A, always wanted to be self-reliant, to be his own boss. He is a trained electrical engineer and found that work challenging and fulfilling to a degree. “But,” he says, “it really wasn’t ideal for me. I wanted something else.”
His interest in natural soaps and natural skin products began around 2013. He had sensitive skin and regular soaps were not helping. “I began researching all the ways to make soap at home,” he says with a big smile. “I spent a lot of time on YouTube to learn the basics of traditional soap-making.”
In addition to online research, he read everything he could find, and finally made his first batch of soap. “It wasn’t successful for my sensitive skin,” says Limon, but he continued to experiment once he understood the chemistry basics of soap-making.
“I kept going,” he says. “Once I got the formula perfected, I began to give soap to all my friends.” He knew he was doing something right because his friends kept asking for more soap.
Today, Limon sells his soaps under his business name, Vita Renovaré, which means “life renewed.”
He has five types of soaps that he sells on-line and at two local farmers markets, the Highland Park Farmers Market and the Lincoln Heights Farmers Market. He also developed a natural deodorant to avoid the chemicals used in some underarm deodorants. Developed by trial and error, Limon’s deodorant contains shea butter, beeswax, kaolin clay and his special blend of essential oils. He uses no dyes in soaps.
He is currently developing two new natural products, which he’ll roll out as soon as he’s ready. One is a skin moisturizer, and the other is a toothpaste. He says that the toothpaste is not like a regular toothpaste in a tube, but instead a puck of soap – what he calls a “soap for the mouth.”
Limon says that his family and friends have been very supportive of his business, and what started as a hobby some eight years ago is now a full-time venture. He advertises on Instagram and other social media and plans to sell his natural products to boutique shops and wholesale to other retailers.
To reach Vita Renovaré and Mr. Limon, contact him via email, at firstname.lastname@example.org, and at Instagram at vitarenovareusa.
Christopher Nyerges is an educator and author of “Extreme Simplicity,”“Self-Sufficient Home,” “How to Survive Anywhere” and other books. For more about his classes and publications, visit: www.SchoolofSelf-Reliance.comC