Lust in the Dust: the soap we loved so much we refused to let it die
Posted on June 13 2017
Being in Joshua Tree makes me feel most alive.
The Outlaw Soaps logo (you know, with the joshua tree, the girl, and the dog) is actually just a slightly edited picture of a tattoo I have on my right arm. I got the tattoo over a couple years as I realized that Joshua Tree is where my heart lives, no matter where I physically am.
When I was working in Los Angeles, I'd often drive out to the high desert to hang out with friends, camp, and enjoy the particular open feeling of the sun rising.
It is a holy land to me.
And when we started making soap that smells like the best things in life, we knew we had to make one that smelled like Joshua Tree, California.
The scents came to us almost by devine product placement. In my quest for whiskey scent, I found a manufacturer who happened to make a desert sage scent. Desert sage is tricky, because a lot of the stuff on the market is inspired by hippie sage, which both Russ and I find repulsive.
This soap, combined with sandalwood and a little campfire, smelled exactly like Joshua Tree.
But it's hard to write about things that close to my heart.
We asked for help naming the soap, since in those early days, we were kind of adrift in our product direction. A friend came up with "Sage Copper Canyon." It worked, and we used it.
But it didn't sell.
The soap yet-to-be-known-as Lust in the Dust didn't find its audience.
So, we tried again with a different name -- and mind you, every time we try something different, we have to go through a whole rebranding campaign, order new packaging, phase out the old product, get a new UPC, etc. It's quite a thing.
This time, it was Dusty Trails.
Hey, I liked the name a lot! It seemed to carry the "journeying cowperson" vibe I was trying to capture.
But again, it didn't sell.
Finally, Russ and I were out in Joshua Tree at one of our favorite bars (in Pioneertown), Pappy and Harriet's. If we couldn't come up with a name there, at that time, having the best margaritas and nachos around... well, probably we were going to have to shut the door on our beloved Joshua Tree soap.
"Lust in the Dust."
Russ said it, and (because I know you have to write these things down or they're gone forever) I started furiously writing on my notepad. I knew we had struck gold.
There's no cell service in Pioneertown, so we had to wait until we got back to the 29 to look it up, and ... Lust in the Dust had been taken. It was already a movie (and a pretty epic one, at that). But we had gone ahead with Blazing Saddles and even filed a trademark on it, so ... maybe it could work?
That was it. Sales finally picked up, and now Lust in the Dust is one of our most loved soaps.
We love it, because it's like Joshua Tree. I personally use it every day, because it's just that good.
It was worth the journey.