January 17 2023 – Kiara Jackson
After years of searching for truly natural skincare products for friends and herself—Mandi Tollefson noticed something major was missing from the market: clean, natural products for skin, body, and home. Specifically clean, natural products that are healing on a deeper level. Skincare products that touted non-toxic ingredients were easy to find, but ones made from safe and good-for-you ingredients that enhance your wellness was seriously lacking.
The team at CanvasRebel chatted with Mandi to learn more about her go-to podcasts, lessons she has had to unlearn, and how Tolly's Treatments came to be. We are excited to share insightful and inspiring stories from our founder in the conversation below!
Mandi, appreciate you joining us today. We’d love to have you retell us the story behind how you came up with the idea for your business, I think our audience would really enjoy hearing the backstory.
This is my journey into building Tolly’s Treatments.
Tolly’s Treatments began in 2012 when I searched for custom-printed lip balm gifts for guests of my wedding. I am a self-proclaimed lip balm addict and at-home DIYer, so it seemed like a good idea to explore creating my own lip balms to share with family and friends. I was already using natural skincare products, and quickly discovered that most custom lip balms had horrible, unnatural ingredients. Harmful ingredients I saw in these lip balms included: petroleum, synthetic fragrances, and many other not-so-good-for-you ingredients.
This discovery led me to my ah-ha moment—I knew I needed to create a cleaner and healthier product. So, I decided to formulate my own lip balms, and Tolly’s (a family nickname for Tollefson) Treatments was born. I formulated my first lip balms See Trust, Honey or Citrus Honey, formulated with essential oils and beeswax. So happy to give my wedding guests a natural, good-for-your-body gift. They didn’t have to use yucky petroleum-based lip balms anymore! With Tolly’s, they would only use lip balms with quality, natural ingredients. And they loved it.
In the few months following the wedding, I received requests from my guests for more lip balms. So I made more lip balms and began formulating and creating more products.
Tolly’s came from another life experience as well. For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with intense anxiety symptoms. When I started researching essential oils as fragrances, I naturally found that essential oils can help treat a whole slew of ailments—including anxiety symptoms. This is when lavender became my best friend, and I was obsessed with discovering new essential oil blends to help with my symptoms. To my surprise, the essential oils actually worked!
In 2016, my husband, Brian, and I were expecting our first son, Otis, I obsessively researched natural ingredients and tested more extensive formulations. It was from this experience as a first-time mom-to-be that I created my best-selling product, Hydrating Skin Repair and used it on my growing belly.
I passed some Hydrating Skin Repair along to friends, and they loved it, too. Eventually, I formulated a line of aromatherapy and body care products. So, it was finally time to take it to the masses! I made an Etsy shop and attended local pop-up markets. The reaction was terrific, and I was officially hooked to this new life as an entrepreneur. It was my business—it was Tolly’s. I made products that ensured a truly natural option, created an approachable wellness space, and promoted mental health.
Today, I’m a certified skincare formulator and am developing a complete natural skincare line. Tolly’s is thriving, and I couldn’t be happier to continue helping people through my business!
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers.
My name is Mandi Tollefson, Owner and Creator of Tolly’s Treatments—handcrafted Aromatherapy products to encourage clean living, mindfulness, and self-love in your everyday life. Our products, including our natural skincare, have proprietary blends of organic essential oils to enhance your mind, as well as your skin.
We are a grass-roots, family oriented company that was birthed from love and passion of approachable natural products. Toxins are far too common in everyday products—we are dedicated to providing an alternate option and education on the matter.
We believe mental health is a key part of overall health, in addition to the ingredients we are putting on or in our body. We promote this through Aromatherapeutic benefits and non-toxic formulations.
Our goal is to provide a safe space to educate and enhance the organic life through our products.
Are there any books, videos, essays or other resources that have significantly impacted your management and entrepreneurial thinking and philosophy?
I don’t come from a business background. Far from it—I came from musical theater, with a Communications degree. I have had to learn a lot about business and taxes and bookkeeping and marketing and mindset. Mindset has been the biggest part of entrepreneurship that I have struggled with. So, here are some books and podcasts that have helped me change my mindset and managerial tactics immensely:
“On Purpose” with Jay Shetty
“The School of Greatness” with Lewis Howes
“Goal Digger” with Jenna Kutcher
“Masters of Scale” by Reid Hoffman
“Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert
We often hear about learning lessons—but just as important is unlearning lessons. Have you ever had to unlearn a lesson?
I had to hardcore unlearn the lesson to “ask first, then act.” What I mean, is that sometimes doing something first—before you ask all the questions of whether it’ll work out or if everyone else thinks it’s a good idea or even asking yourself if you’re capable—is a better way to live life in general. Take risks, you can troubleshoot later.
I grew up in a very cautious family. They didn’t really like to take risks. We didn’t exactly strive to try new things too often or break any rules. Even asking for help or investment was hard. I am still unlearning this today – and it has the biggest impact on me still.