It’s not like Sonoma County needs help branding itself, but Oak & Ashland’s Instagram account does it a great service. On it, hills and sunflower fields, lavender bouquets, cozy cafes and rose gardens make a strong case for the region’s appeal. A smiling woman in braids also appears in the many of the shots.
That would be Danika Lamb, 37, founder of Oak & Ashland. She doesn’t just use Sonoma County’s natural resources as a photogenic backdrop; she also bottles and markets them for one of the area’s only homegrown beauty lines.
Lamb wasn’t always a Sonoma County girl. She grew up in Ashland, Ore., on Oak Street (Oak and Ashland, get it?), where she worked for more than a decade as an esthetician. Then came a seven-year stretch in Los Angeles at the celebrity favorite Kate Somerville clinic. Tending to famous and not-so-famous L.A faces led Lamb to dream of starting her own line of beauty products.
“After visiting Sonoma several times, my husband and I fell in love with the open space, beautiful scenery and small-town charm,” she says. “So we decided to put our house up for sale in Southern California to relocate to our little dream town of Sonoma.”
Oak & Ashland’s production is modest. Lamb makes everything herself in a small studio. She hand-mixes, hand-bottles and hand-packages everything. Her company has already gotten some big buzz. Since launching last November, her products have been featured in Sonoma Magazine, on Martha Stewart’s website and on several lifestyle blogs.
The product that caught Stewart’s eye is a packet filled with pretty pink dust—a rose and coconut exfoliating mask. Similar flower themes and attractive hues are found in facial oils, three varieties of body oils and two lip balms. The lavender flowers and the majority of the essential oils utilized in the products are from local sources. Other ingrendients come from Oregon and Washington. Everything is cruelty-free and vegan.
On her blog, Lamb shares info on new products, models designer finds and celebrates all Sonoma County has to offer.
“In Sonoma, you have wide-open space with fresh air and breathtaking scenery,” she says, “but there is also such a feel of community, and so much culture and things to do. From the local Tuesday night farmers market in the historic Sonoma square, to the [Sonoma] International Film Festival and wine happenings, there is always something fun and local to participate in.”
Wasn’t L.A just as happening?
“Los Angeles has some great things to offer, but it’s just too crowded, fast-paced and polluted for my taste,” says Lamb. “Los Angeles is just worlds apart from sweet Sonoma.”