These are exciting times indeed for proud Lakeland College graduate and successful Sheboygan entrepreneur Caitlin Brotz, the founder and owner of Olivü 426.
On Aug. 22-23, Olivü’s signature anti-aging/moisturizing serum and lip balm will be included in “swag bags” for 90 celebrities and nearly a dozen major media representatives attending the Emmy Awards in Beverly Hills.
On Monday, Milwaukee TV station TMJ4 visited Caitlin’s boutique to film a segment for an upcoming piece, and on Tuesday, Sheboygan Mayor Mike Vandersteen swung by to say hello and congratulate Caitlin on her success.
“It’s been a bit overwhelming, but overwhelming in a good way,” says Caitlin. “Right now it’s destination unknown for us. Things are happening fast.”
Caitlin, who graduated from Lakeland in 2005 with a degree in business administration, says her time at the college helped shaped her into the business professional she is today.
“Oh my goodness, Lakeland has played a huge role in my life,” she says, smiling as she points out the school’s pennant hanging in her store. “All of the classes I took there help me make the important decisions I make every day. The writings skills, Lakeland gave me those, and I use those skills while corresponding with other business professionals on a regular basis.”
And then there’s public speaking. Caitlin is poised in front of a video camera, a reporter’s pen or a classroom full of current Lakeland students. She was a guest of the college at a business colloquium this past spring.
“I remember the first time I spoke in front of a group at Lakeland — I was so nervous,” she recalls. “But today, I get up in front of so many people and groups and I am comfortable.”
Olivü 426, which opened in 2006, is located at 511 N. Eighth St. in Sheboygan. Brotz and five other employees sell a plethora of all-natural face and body care products, including its anti-aging face serum and its well-known variety of lip balms and soaps. Long popular in the Sheboygan area, Olivü products have taken off nationally and around the world via brisk online sales and word-of-mouth publicity. Caitlin’s creations are hand-made, hand-poured, hand-bottled and even hand-labeled.
Since a recent feature article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Caitlin has noticed a significant increase in customers from the Milwaukee area. Olivü’s customers will soon be able to purchase products directly from the store’s Facebook page. Olivü’s products are also available at www.olivu426.com.
Caitlin is working hard to stay a step ahead of her company’s growth. Recently, she rented out the space above her store, and she now has her own office and a large area in which to create products. With more and more customers in the quaint, lovingly decorated store, it gets crowded when employees are trying to make and sell products at the same time.
She doesn’t know how big Olivü will get, but Caitlin is enjoying the ride. And when she thinks of how far she’s come since leaving the University of Oregon her freshman year, she’s thankful she landed at Lakeland.
“Lakeland allows you to play such big roles in so many different ways,” she says. “When I was at Oregon as a freshman, I felt so lost. The thing bigger schools lack is that fostering of the desire to be a unique, outstanding individual. At big places like that, you’re just a little fish in a big pond.
“But once you go to Lakeland and start to feel like a big fish, that feeling never leaves you.”