By: Elise Phillips Margulis
Leah Berzak spends evenings and weekends mixing small batches of sugar scrubs, whipped sugar scrubs, rainbow scrubs, lip balms, bath salts, shower fizzers, bath bombs, lotion bars and fizzy bath salts in her kitchen workshop.
Berzak, the owner of Homemade Happiness by Leah, is an enterprising 14-year-old who created her all natural personal product line in 2018. Her luxury bath and body products are carried by several New Jersey boutiques and are also available on her website. She was inspired to produce her own products after noticing that many commercial soaps are made with unnatural and unhealthy ingredients. Berzak had always enjoyed making DIY products so she researched natural soap ingredients and experimented until she perfected her handmade assortment of bath and body products.
Berzak explained, “With all my recipes, I research the basic ingredients and their benefits, then customize each product to make it my own! I started by making lip balm and just used the simplest ingredients: Organic coconut oil, beeswax, & essential oils. However, over time the recipe evolved in the oil and butter filled lip balm with organic coconut oil, sweet almond oil, beeswax, organic Shea butter & essential oils.”
Berzak, a freshman at West Morris Mendham High School, makes all of her products by hand. Occasionally she recruits friends to help. She plans to continue her body product line while she completes high school and college. Homemade Happiness by Leah already has a large following.
Berzak’s goal is to empower girls around the world and to inspire others. The name Homemade Happiness by Leah refers to the joy she feels while making her beautiful and pure creations. Berzak’s motto is Use. Love. Inspire. “I started my all natural cosmetic line last June as a way to represent females around the world that don’t feel like they have a say in topics they’re passionate about. Every product of mine contains an inspirational quote or card.” Homemade Happiness products are meant to spread positivity.
When asked which of her products is her favorite, Leah revealed that, “One of my favorite products is the sugar scrub. Plastic micro beads are being prohibited in markets by 2020 in the state of New Jersey because of their horrible effect on our oceans & marine life. They are an alternative to many scrubs with micro beads on the market are sugar scrubs because they have a positive affect on your skin and our earth. Aside from using pure cane sugar and organic coconut oil, I utilize fruits & spices as colorants rather than unnecessary dyes.”
Berzak has juggled other impressive extra curricular activities. School is a priority. She enjoys learning and studying and knows the school precedes business. Leah has also been involved in her school drama program. In addition, she is working on her Girl Scout Gold Award. Her project is to “target ocean pollution & plastic micro bead usage.” Saving the oceans is synergetic with her plan to “create cosmetic products that give back to the earth.” She added “I am slowly switching my plastic packaging to alternatives like paper that are better for the planet.”
Last year, she earned her Girl Scout Silver award when she and two other Girl Scouts, Lucy Geldziler and Gianna Galiano, made 30 care packages consisting of art supplies, activity books, toys, bracelets with motivational sayings and letters (that they wrote) with inspirational messages to children at the Morristown’s Goryeb Children’s Hospital.
Berzak’s organic personal products are already favorites at unique boutique shops that carry special artisan-made items. Homemade Happiness by Leah items are available at Harmony Brookside in Brookside, Statements Boutique in Madison, Purple Aardvark in Chatham, and will soon be at the Pink Bungalow in Montclair.
Her business plan is “to find more unique gift shops and clothing boutiques where my products would fit best. I hope to expand Homemade Happiness by Leah to big retail stores across the US in the near future.”
Leah has a bright future and the more popular her brand gets the more she’ll continue to inspire others and to help save the environment. Visit www.homemadehappinessbyleah.com to see her products.