Our Story

lori ruth cassie

Since 2003, The Nova Studio has been a trusted source of education & information for those interested in making their own soap and natural bath & body products. Some people turn to us because they have a loved one with a skin condition that is aggravated by (or caused by) conventional products. Others simply want to make personalized natural gifts for family & friends. Many of our students are interested in making products to sell & after taking classes with us, they start a business. No matter what brings them to us, Nova students are creative people who love to make it themselves. And we love to teach them.

Our story started when Lori Nova Endres opened the doors of her brightly colored studio in charming downtown Point Richmond, California on 9/7/2003. The very next weekend, she taught a small group of eager wanna-be soapmakers how to make handmade soap. At first Lori taught all the classes, but soon invited other talented teachers to come & share their passions as well. Between 2002 and 2015, The Nova Studio hosted over 1,000 classes (nearly every weekend) to teach people from all around the world how to make Handmade Soap, Natural Perfumes, Candles, Bath & Body Products, and much more. In 2013, Studio Manager Cassie Durant & Soap Teacher Ruth Esteves (founder of Sirona Springs Handmade Soap) both partnered with Lori to form The Nova Studio, LLC. In December of 2015 we closed the doors of our brick-n-mortar studio and our current focus is providing online learning opportunities, where anyone can attend from anywhere in the world.

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Lori’s foray into the world of making bath & body products began in 2000, after finishing graduate school, when she began making natural bath & body products in her kitchen as a way to make family & friends homemade, sustainable gifts. Shortly thereafter she began teaching classes, combining a passion for this addictive new hobby with her training & love for teaching. Lori is a proud member of The Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetics Guild (HSCG) since 2005, and has presented at four annual conferences (Hot Process Soap in 2007, Cold Process Swirling in 2008, Coloring Soap with Confidence in 2009, and Natural Perfumery in 2013). When not working from her home office in Northern Louisiana, Lori enjoys trying to keep up with her little boy Sammy, who loves to smell soap almost as much as she loves to make it. Check out what you can learn from Lori at home here.



Ruth headshot

Ruth started making soap in 2006 because it was fun, creative & practical. She took up what looked like a simple little hobby & fell in love with a centuries-old tradition that blends science & art. This love led to Ruth’s founding of Sirona Springs Handmade Soap, teaching soapmaking classes, & ultimately becoming one of the co-owners of The Nova Studio. She has spoken at annual conferences for the Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetics Guild (HSCG) in 2012 (Making Cold Process Soap with Alternative Liquids), 2013 (Soap Cupcakes and More) & 2014 (Testing Natural Colorants in Soap), and published her first eBook, Coloring Soap Naturally. When not making or thinking about soap, she’s probably watching a DIY renovation TV show or playing a word game. Check out what you can learn from Ruth at home here.



Cassie 10 year party

After a string of office jobs as a student at Pepperdine University, Cassie replied to a Craigslist ad for a “Rock Star Administrative Assistant” in 2010 & got far more than she bargained for in The Nova Studio. After spending 2 years as an administrative employee, coming on board as an owner was a huge step – but one she’s thrilled to take. Her favorite tasks at The Nova Studio are (believe it or not) accounting & social networking. If you’ve spoken to someone from the other side of the screen or phone, it’s probably Cassie. As far as products go – Cassie is particularly hooked on natural soap, lotion & lip balm. Cassie once won a typing competition against her husband with a record 92 WPM.


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