Love+Leche is founded on the love of Mother Nature, an appreciation for things natural, handmade, and beautiful; and the passion to create a meaningful life that will inspire others to do the same.
From Our Family to Yours
Hi there, my name is Jon Paul Dobratz (pictured on the right side in the brown shirt). Thank you so much for clicking here and supporting us, allow me to introduce you to myself and my family! I am 22 years old and recently graduated college from Florida Southern with a degree in Business and a minor in Exercise Science. I love all things health and fitness. I also find myself fascinated with business and the idea of providing a product to someone who will love, enjoy, and benefit from it (seems like Love+Leche really fits the mold).
On the left of the photo you will find my parents, JD and Laura, the two hardest working entrepreneurs I know. This is something they have worked passionately at and it has rubbed off on all of us kids (my sisters run a pretty great business too!). My mother and father work tirelessly operating their yarn shop, overseeing my sisters and I's work, all along with homeschooling my younger brother, Thomas (as seen in the really cool hat right in front of me).
My sisters, Aspen and Emma, round out the Dobratz family crew. They work together as a prolific tandem in their own personal handmade craft - they are yarn hand dyers, creating custom color ways found all over the US and even a few shops internationally! (their business is named Emma's Yarn)
One beautiful thing that has come out of Love+Leche (aside from the excellent designs of the bars and packaging facilitated by Daven Lee and the extremely talented artists local to Santa Fe, New Mexico), is the reality of working alongside my family on the day-to-day. It's something I never knew would be so rewarding, and it remains one of the many beauties of Love and Leche.
The history of this company is strong, dating back to 2005 as "Milk+Honey" when it was created by Daven Lee. She devoted herself to the family-operated business from 2005 - 2019. She debuted at the renowned Santa Fe Farmers Market, selling handmade goat milk soaps and beeswax lotion bars. Daven’s business was inspired by living a very modest, but satisfying Farm Life out in Glorieta, 20 minutes outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Her typical day went like this:
“Every day I go out to milk my ‘girls.’ They greet me with a range of personalities: gentle, loud and demanding, patient, surly. They always appreciate being fed and scratched, and, with no sense of personal space, rub and push against me; I am part of the herd. In exchange for my caring for them, they give me their milk—rich, frothy, white and oh-so-fresh! Then there are the bees. Those girls are buzzing in and out, very busy, ignoring me. But when I open the hive every couple of weeks in the summer, I am greeted with a stunning gift of warm, sweet, golden honey—it seems too good to be true. Into the house these precious products come, and how can I describe the satisfaction and pride I feel as I watch my children dip their fingers into fresh honey, chew on beeswax, and drink fresh, cold milk? This milk, honey and beeswax goes right into my soap and lotion bars . . . and then I get to watch the delight and wonder on customers’ faces when they find out just what is in these products and where it came from! It is an honor to be able to share this bounty with strangers. . . who soon become loyal customers and friends.”
Since moving from Glorieta and into the “urban” environment of Santa Fe, Daven no longer kept her own bees, and her goats have gone to live with a lovely, country-singin’ cowboy, Archie West. But the focus and heart of her business remained unchanged: making beautiful, natural products with the bounty of rich goat milk and warm golden honey and beeswax–and satisfying customers who are astonished by the purity and efficacy of these products. When you received one of her soaps or lotion bars, they may have been hand-poured by her son Simon, and packaged by her daughter Roan.
In 2020, my mother, Laura Dobratz purchased the company, as Daven was ready to pursue other ventures. Daven wanted Love and Leche to live on as a family owned and run business, and she got her wish.
These days, Love and Leche bars are hand poured in the same fashion and with all the same all-natural ingredients Daven used, in Winter Haven, Florida. I work alongside my sisters, as they hand dye yarn, I am pouring and packaging the lotion bars! They find time to chip in and help with the process, and I typically repay them by carrying their heavy boxes of yarn! My mother is in and out, helping all of us as we need and making sure things are running smoothly. When we say From Our Family to Yours, we truly mean it! :)
Love + Leche firmly believes in creating a product that sends love towards both the customer and the environment. The packaging was designed by a Santa Fe designer, and strived to be as green as possible for the size of her business: recyclable, reusable, re-giftable, or keepable-foreverable! The artisan designs were thoughtfully created as a collaboration between Daven and local sculptors Stephanie Huerta and Bien Irizarry.
Thank you for anyone who has made it this far, listened to our story, and gotten to know who we are as a family a little bit better. I truly appreciate your time and support. For more information on our product, it's ingredients, and the benefits, please feel free to check out our Ingredients+Benefits page. (I promise it is much more to the point than this one!) And again, thank you. Stay Well!