Lauren Padawer


"You know what they say, ‘When in Rome…’, well, Cordova is a fishing town and I couldn’t have built my skin care business without having multiple jobs."
"Even after starting my business, I continued to moonlight by fixing fishing nets."

Lauren Padawer founded Alaska Glacial Mud Co. based on grassroots activism and years of bootstrapping. To date, the company is still 100% owned and operated by Lauren, known as “Aunt Lolo” by her nieces and nephews. She is a self-proclaimed independent, motivated and happy resident of Cordova, a quaint coastal fishing town in Alaska. Her journey from a suburban home in St. Louis, Missouri, to the salmon culture of Alaska is marked by her love for wilderness, passion for adventure and quest for sustainably living off the land!

After completing undergrad at Washington University in St. Louis with a major in Biology, Lauren accepted a non-partisan internship in Anchorage working in politics. After the election season ended, and throughout the next year, Lauren rafted the Copper River (in Alaska) and worked part-time at a geriatric spa – two events that she says, “wove together in my mind and changed the course of my life.”

At 23, Lauren returned to Alaska for the third time to solidify her bond with the beautiful landscapes and rich waters. She worked for an environmental nonprofit and as a salmon biologist, all the while moonlighting and saving money to start Alaska Glacial Mud Co. by mending and hanging fishing nets.

Lauren was doing all this while running Alaska Glacial Mud Co. which she started in 2006, several years after that life-changing river trip. “After years of market and scientific research,” says Lauren, “I brought mud masks and soaps to market made with extremely mineral-rich glacial mud from the Copper River Delta. Even after starting my business, I continued to moonlight by fixing fishing nets.”

Working on the docks and being around the buzz of the commercial fishery served as a “gateway drug” for Lauren, who purchased her own boat and permit to become one of the few women in the Copper River salmon fishery in 2009. “I learned marine navigation, diesel mechanics and became part of the economic fabric of Cordova. You know what they say, ‘When in Rome…’, well, Cordova is a fishing town and I couldn’t have built my skin care business without having multiple jobs. For the first eight years, I reinvested every penny back into the business and those years during the 2008-2010 Great Recession were especially hard!”

Alaska has allowed many of Lauren’s talents to flourish, including backcountry ski mountaineering, mountain biking, hunting, food preservation, gardening, carpentry and endless creative pursuits. Most of all, it has given her the opportunity to become a philanthropist and give back to the environment that has given so much to her.

“As a resource harvester, it’s always been important to me to give back to the land and community from where the resources are derived! I registered Alaska Glacial Mud Co. as a B Corp in 2014, and we donate 2% of our revenues or 10% of our profits (whichever is greater) to regional organizations that love, fight, restore, educate and protect the wild salmon habitat” in the Copper River Watershed.


"You know what they say, ‘When in Rome…’, well, Cordova is a fishing town and I couldn’t have built my skin care business without having multiple jobs."