The Lemon Laine Oil Bar Makes Wine Bars Seem So Yesterday

There are some wine shoppers who buy Two Buck Chuck at Trader Joe’s, throw back a few glasses and call it an evening. Then, there are those who frequent wineries, discuss distinct bouquets and relish information about the perfect farming conditions for their varietals of choice.

In beauty, there’s no such parallel because customers hungry to delve into what’s inside the bottle have few outlets for their interest. But Nashville clean beauty retailer Lemon Laine is changing the game for beauty buffs craving a deeper understanding of what goes into their skincare products with an oil bar where they can dissect seed, nut and plant oils, and pick the right ingredients for their skin.

Lemon Laine

“I love that intimacy that you create with customers at the oil bar. They really get to love the product they are buying and have a ritual with it. It’s the personalized aspect of it that’s appealing,” says Lemon Laine founder Laura Lemon. “I didn’t want the store to be so transactional. I want to have a conversation with my customers.”

The appointment-only, five-seat oil bar occupies about a third of Lemon Laine’s 750-square-foot space on Eastland Avenue. The price is $65 per person for a 1-oz. customized facial oil, and the experience lasts 30 minutes to an hour for two people and an hour to an hour-and-a-half for larger groups. For customers that gravitate to the customary wine bar experience, Lemon Laine serves complimentary wine from Tavola.

Lemon Laine worked with Clary Collection, a fellow Nashville company, to develop base oil blends that provide the foundations for the tailored skincare remedies oil bar customers take home. There is a calming blend for sensitive skin, a clearing mixture for oily- and acne-prone skin, a hydrating option for dry skin, and a rejuvenation blend boasting anti-aging benefits.

“I’ve never seen an oil bar anywhere where it’s so personalized. Lemon Laine recognizes that no two people are the same. Everything’s curated for your skin,” says Jen Auerbach, co-founder of Clary Collection. She continues, “To be able to have a one-on-one experience with someone breaking down an entire product ingredient by ingredient is so reassuring as a customer. You can be told exactly where the herbs come from and how the oil has been infused. Every ingredient has a story that can be told this way.”

“I’ve never seen an oil bar anywhere where it’s so personalized. Lemon Laine recognizes that no two people are the same. Everything’s curated for your skin,” says Auerbach of Clary Collection.

Lemon Laine’s oil bar service starts with the oil bartender exploring the skincare needs of customers. They are next guided through the different oil blends available. After base oils are selected, the customers choose essential oils to add to their mixtures like ylang ylang and sandalwood. At the end, their individualized facial oils are completed, and the recipes are kept on file for them to order again. Refills are priced at $52.    

Lemon believes the oil bar helps Lemon Laine forge a connection with its customers, fosters return shoppers reordering personalized skincare recipes, and separates her store from others. “I have to think about the retail landscape from a business perspective. You look at all these retailers that are closing. It’s because they are so transactional,” she says. “What makes you an authority and trusted resource? The oil bar allows that to happen in my store, and I differentiate myself from all the places where you walk in and leave.”

Lemon Laine oil bar collaborators
Jen Auerbach and Laura Lemon

The oil bar concept could travel beyond Lemon Laine’s current location. Auerbach and Lemon share a big vision for it. “I would love to see Clary Collection and Lemon Laine oil bars all over the place. This is something that you could take globally, and that’s what we are looking at,” says Auerbach. “It’s not something we want to keep in Nashville, but Nashville is a great place to test the market, and it’s doing super well.”