This Life: Laura Thomas on her passion for wellness and the planet


Inspired by the benefits of living free from synthetic chemicals, Laura Thomas’ business, Laura Thomas Co, started with a lavender candle to naturally enhance sleep

 words Catherine Coyle photography Laura Tiliman

Laura Thomas can trace her connection to nature all the way back to her childhood in rural Perthshire.

Growing up on a farm, life was busy and the working day was long. Laura would get on her horse and spend hours in the forest, just riding around, heading home only when she got hungry or when darkness fell.

It was a different time; screens weren’t really a thing for kids then, and her home life revolved around the outdoors.

Those early years of picking flower petals and smooshing them into a homemade perfume, smelling of pine after a day spent kicking about in the woods near the farm; it was here, even though she didn’t yet know it, that Laura’s affinity to scent, natural materials and the desire to be grounded to the earth took hold.

Laura Thomas on a wander to the beach in North Berwick
IMAGE | Laura Tiliman. Nothing beats a barefoot stroll to the beach. Laura and her family spend as much time as they can living the outdoor life

Fast forward to 2003, and she was in New Zealand, buying and selling cafes for a living.

The beach, the early morning rises, the exposure to organic produce, a much greater awareness of environmental issues, a bigger commitment to sustainability and a huge focus on wellness: the New Zealand lifestyle really seeped into Laura’s bones.

Laura Thomas photographed on the golden sands of East Lothian.
IMAGE | Laura Tiliman. Laura Thomas photographed on the golden sands of East Lothian. Her first store is in North Berwick

Despite loving life overseas, Laura came back to Scotland and settled in the East Lothian beach town of Gullane. She had originally moved overseas for love but when that relationship ended, she was resolute that “a separation wasn’t going to ruin me”.

She found a two-bed flat almost instantly on Gumtree, viewed it that afternoon and by the evening had secured the lease and was moving in with her two young daughters.

“The girls were in one bedroom and there were boxes of candles and products in the other, my makeshift office,” she recalls of those early days. “I would fold out a futon in the living room every night to sleep on after working late getting Laura Thomas Co off the ground.”

Handmade personal care products and scents in Scotland, environmentally conscious brand LTCO
IMAGE | Laura Tiliman. All the LTCO essential oils are blended by hand

Her big break came when Wildland, the group that owns and conserves large swathes of the Highlands and which is behind some of the country’s most stylish holiday retreats, agreed to use LTCO products – refillable hand soap, shower gel, body lotion and shampoo – for its guests.

Gleneagles and W Edinburgh hotel followed suit, as did venues in Sweden and Iceland.

Laura’s commitment to reuse and recycle has come from seeing how other countries deal with single-use plastic.

“I was travelling in Vietnam and Cambodia with the kids, surfing in the South China sea surrounded by rubbish,” she recalls. “Wildland took a punt on us. It wanted to use natural, refillable toiletries and that’s what we were making.

Interior shot of shop LTCO in North Berwick
IMAGE | Laura Tiliman

As her company grew, it was time to move on from the rented flat. Laura is one of those people who is never happier than when she has a new ‘project’ on the go – several at once, in fact, as her track record proves.

It was her love of interior design that connected her with her partner Justin (owner of the Edinburgh furniture, lighting and design store Moleta Munro).

Living room shot of founder of LTCO's home
IMAGE | Laura Tiliman. Laura Thomas is a big fan of Scandinavian design, so her home features strategic colour placement amongst the neutral whites and sleek layout

A couple of self-confessed interiors geeks, they bonded over a love of Scandi furniture and the great outdoors. They have a son, Ossie (3), who joins Laura’s girls Lily (17) and Olivia (14) at this buzzy family-oriented home that has a distinctly beachy, relaxed ambience.

By adding an extension and opening up the roof space, Laura has brought in as much natural light as possible.

Living room shot of Laura Thomas, founder of LTCO
IMAGE | Laura Tiliman

The original layout is long and narrow but deceptively spacious, and now has a clear focus on modern family living.

The kitchen is the place they all congregate; sheepskins hug wooden benches, shelves are lined with well-thumbed cookbooks, the coffee machine chuffs and spits at regular intervals, and the walls are dappled with prints and photos of a life lived.

Interior bedroom shot with tall windows in North Berwick home
IMAGE | Laura Tiliman. A tranquil mood reigns in this self-confessed minimalist’s room

It’s clear that Laura’s drive comes from her need to be at one with nature (since being back in Scotland, for example, she has noticed that she finds winter particularly tough as a result of the limited daylight), but she also has an insatiable appetite to learn new skills, and relies on instinct to guide her.

“When it comes to the scents at LTCO, we blend them all ourselves. I’m self-taught,” she says. It’s important to me that each scent has its own story. They’re all unisex and are all representative of Scotland.”

Shopfront, Laura Thomas Co
IMAGE | Laura Tiliman

“We use essential oils because we want everything to be as natural as possible. Wave, for example, is representative of a dip in the North Sea, so the fragrance is sharp and awakening; whereas Pink Grapefruit is reminiscent of breakfast in a posh hotel.

“Scent and memories are so interconnected.”

Laura opened her dream standalone store after a successful pop-up in 2020. The LTCO store now stands proudly on North Berwick’s high street, offering a range of scents, soaps and textiles made from nature, for those looking to live a non-pollutant lifestyle.

Laura Thomas Co shopfront
IMAGE | Laura Tiliman. Laura and her colleague Mary-Clare

Laura Thomas Co

67 High Street

North Berwick

EH39 4HQ

The Laura Thomas Co store is open Monday – Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday from 11am-3pm.

Visit the Laura Thomas Co website | Follow Laura Thomas Co on Instagram | Follow Laura Thomas Co on Facebook

Read the full feature with Laura in our summer issue – out now! Find out how you can get your hands on a copy here.

Issue 155: What’s inside the latest Homes & Interiors Scotland

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