Evangeline Stacy is one of those people who emits good vibes. She’s a savvy businesswoman, but she’s equally passionate about causes like environmentalism and gender equality. Even better? She’s managed to combine her talents and interests, and spin them into her fledgling business, Roots Essential.
Roots Essential offers handmade bath and body products, from lotions to bath salts to aromatherapy sprays, using all natural and plant-based ingredients. “I had the heart for this kind of thing even before I started,” says Stacy. “I’m a big follower of clean products. I use a lot of essential oils, aromatherapy, body creams and so on.”
Stacy’s background is in massage therapy; her practice is located in Wayzata. She focuses on sports and has worked extensively with athletes, from University of Minnesota teams to the Minnesota Timberwolves. In fact, that’s partly how Stacy started making body products. “My practice is focused on sports, and I wanted to add a bit of personality,” she explains. She started customizing bath soaks and lotions for her massage clients, including a bath soak she made for a football player going through a difficult rehab. “He used it and asked, ‘Where can I buy it?’” she says with a laugh. “My clients wanted those products, so I would put together a lotion with my own essential oil mix and give it to them.”
Clients raved about Stacy’s healing, wonderfully scented products, and she started to get requests for more. “The first years, it was basically giving things away and letting people try it, and seeing the quality and working on improvements. Word of mouth,” she says. She officially launched Roots Essential in 2015 and now sells her products online, in her massage clinic and at several retail locations around the metro.
She sources her ingredients locally whenever she can, although some—like essential oils—necessarily come from farther afield. Stacy researches the farmers and distributors who produce her ingredients and focuses on keeping her mixtures free of additives and harmful chemicals. “Women, especially, are bombarded with [body and beauty] products,” Stacy says. “And I’m not exaggerating when I say, we’re just not aware of what we put on our bodies. On a daily basis, women are exposed to about 100 different chemicals. And that really scares me.”
Of course, “clean” beauty products are expensive these days. Stacy says she makes it a priority to keep the cost of Roots Essential goods reasonable. “That’s a big reason people don’t use clean products,” she says. “It’s so expensive. I believe I can create quality products that people can afford.” She keeps overhead and expenses as low as she can—for example, she prints her own labels—so she can pass those savings on to her customers. She’s done lots of research into the booming essential-oils market and knows the oils she sources are on par with much more expensive brands. “It’s important to me that not just wealthy people can afford clean products,” she says.
Stacy is also vocal about her passion for gender equality and creating opportunities for women. “The gig economy really works for women,” she says. Roots Essential is an example of a “side gig” that’s turning into something more for Stacy. “You can be a mother, you can be a massage therapist, and you can develop a business on your own time,” she says. She wants to set an example for her own daughters (her line of AromaMist sprays are named after them). And Stacy certainly is an impressive role model, exemplifying that grit, self-advocacy and creativity can pay off in a big way. “I take care of a lot of women athletes, and they are so empowered through what they do,” she says. Ideally, women (and men, too) should be able to balance working hard with taking care of themselves. “Everybody needs wellness,” Stacy says. She hopes to partner with some female athletes as Roots Essential continues to grow.
Stacy also oozes compassion. She’s constantly looking for ways to give back, both locally and globally. Roots Essential has partnered with Clean the World, an organization using a deceptively simple process to improve health and hygiene in developing countries. “The founder of Clean the World was staying at a hotel, and wondered, ‘Where are these little bars of soap going?’ After you use a hotel soap bar a couple of times, it’s not getting reused—it’s being thrown in the landfill,” Stacy explains. Clean the World works with hotels to recycle those soap-bar ends, working on two problems at once: reducing landfill impact and making hygiene kits for communities in developing countries where, literally, washing up can save lives. “In these countries, soap is a necessity—not a luxury,” Stacy says. She notes in our relatively cushy first-world society, we see bath products as frilly and luxurious. “This is actually saving lives,” she says. For each bar of soap purchased from Roots Essential, Stacy donates some proceeds to Clean the World, an organization that she also links to on her website. We’ll scrub up for that.
A few of our favorite products from Roots Essential.
Restore shampoo and conditioner ($12). “My favorite has rosemary and mint, and when you use it, it’s kind of like being in the forest,” Stacy says.
Soap ($8). A daily essential for turning even a quick shower into a mini rejuvenation session. We especially like the eucalyptus-spearmint and Himalayan salt bars.
My Mist ($10). This kit from Stacy’s AromaMist line allows customers to personalize their own aromatherapy spray. “It comes with eight essential oils, and you just add water to make your own blend,” Stacy says—perfect for revving up a tired mood or treating a cold.
Recovery bath soak ($8). This flavor of Roots Essential’s popular bath soak is designed for athletes (and other hardworking bodies), with lavender rosemary, wintergreen and peppermint.
Lake Minnetonka Magazine readers can get 25% off Roots Essential online orders with the code SAVE25.