Jayna Anderson and Justin Roy are dreamers, makers and partners - in business and in life. They share an entrepreneurial spirit - running dual businesses - as well as a flair for hands-on creativity.
Together, they own and operate Boonies, a design and fabrication studio that produces home decor, including plant stands and candlesticks, as well as furniture and custom installations for homes and businesses. Through her own enterprise, 5th Dimension, Anderson formulates alcohol-free herbal extracts and a line of botanical skin care products.
From L.A. to La.
The two met in 2016 while living in Los Angeles and although they envisioned a life together, they did not see themselves as part of the L.A. scene.
“It was just too much,” recalled Roy. “We had one car and Jayna was working in Beverly Hills, so I would drive her to work.” Although the distance wasn’t great, the route was a grueling commute that took hours out of each day. Living in L.A. was expensive and the pace of life was taxing.
Almost every weekend, the couple retreated into nature. One of their favorite destinations was the desert region east of the city, including Joshua Tree National Park, a scenic wonderland with hiking trails and campsites.
“It didn’t make sense to live in the city anymore,” said Roy. “It was obvious that wasn’t where we wanted to be.”
Because his work was based in Los Angeles, moving would require a leap of faith, but Roy had taken a leap of faith before. At 17, he moved from Youngsville to Los Angeles to become a pro skateboarder. He found some success, but his career was ended by an unexplained illness, an infection in his right hip. By the time he recovered, his competitive days were behind him.
New opportunities unfolded. He began building sets for movie shoots and commercials. Then, he took a job with Bakerboys, a skateboard distributor.
“They really supported my creativity,” he said. In addition to serving as the warehouse manager, Roy became the company’s in-house fabricator, creating displays and themed trade-show booths. In doing so, he added design skills to his résumé and found his calling. “I didn’t get a second salary, but I got to keep the tools I used. And I found out that I really like to build things.”
In early 2016, he launched the business that would become Boonies. In November, he met Anderson. By April of 2017, the two of them had moved to the Joshua Tree community, leaving the frenetic energy of Los Angeles behind.
In the fall of 2018, they moved again, setting up shop in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Anderson, who grew up near Philadelphia, knows her way around a metal shop. Her father Pat is a machinist who started his own business in the 1980s.
It’s not unusual to find her on the Boonies’ shop floor, cutting metal pieces for some of the distinctive objects Boonies produces by hand: geometric plant holders and industrial-inspired candlesticks. Roy follows up with expert welding, then the pieces are delivered to another Lafayette business, Fry’s Coatings, for powder coating. One popular design features lengths of chain that are welded to become the vertical stems of candlesticks.
“The first time I walked in there with one of these,” said Anderson, holding a chain-frozen-in-the-air candle holder, “they looked at me like I was nuts.” More commonly, the shop turns out industrial pieces, such as farm equipment and outdoor furniture.
Undeterred by employees’ odd looks, Anderson asked, “Can you paint it pink?”
“They said, ‘Are you going to sell that?’ I told them, ‘I’m gonna sell the hell out of these.’”
Today, Boonies’ decorative items are sold online, locally, and in retail stores in more than 20 states across the U.S. and in Canada. Roy also takes on custom residential and commercial jobs. He recently completed installations for two downtown Lafayette restaurants: Scratch Farm Kitchen’s bar (along with shelving made with reclaimed wood) and a display of planters at the Spoonbill Watering Hole and Restaurant.
Blending Herbs and Community
Anderson divides her time between the fabrication shop and her own workspace, where she uses decidedly different materials: organic herbs and oils.
In 2019, she completed training at the Samara School of Community Herbalism in New Orleans, learning how to identify, prepare and utilize medicinal herbs.
The coursework was a formal continuation of her own studies. “I have sensitive skin, so I’ve been looking for alternatives to commercial cosmetics for a long time. Caring for my own skin led me to become an herbalist.”
Those explorations have resulted in a line of skin-care products that includes a cleanser made with clay and beeswax, herbal toners and balms, facial mists and masks. The products contain ingredients such as rose petals and orange-blossom water, chamomile and calendula.
5th Dimension is a one-person operation. Anderson prepares all of the products by hand, by herself. Her best seller, Sub Rosa facial serum, has “kept the lights on,” she said. The serum takes time to prepare - the process begins by soaking rose petals in hemp oil for six weeks. It smells divine, with an underpinning of frankincense and notes of clary sage and rose.
Sub Rosa played a starring role in December, when Anderson’s business got an unexpected boost. The amber-colored oil was included in a beauty box distributed by Petit Vour, an online retailer that offers vegan, cruelty-free products.
That opportunity came with some challenges. Because the box would include a sample size, Anderson would need smaller bottles and new packaging. And she’d have to fill an order for 7,000 units. Meanwhile, she was preparing to update the packaging design for her entire line.
Fortunately, it all came together. She put the redesign on a fast track and met the deadline. “It worked out well,” she said.
5th Dimension also offers herbal extracts, products with names like Stress Less, Gut Health and Daily Glow. In preparing her herbal extracts, Anderson takes an alternative approach. Most extracts contain alcohol because it is commonly used as a solvent to extract active ingredients from plant materials. Anderson creates alcohol-free extracts by using natural glycerin instead.
By preparing her products in this way, Anderson sees an opportunity for community service. “Some people, particularly in the recovery community, choose not to use alcohol in any form and alcohol-free extracts can be hard to find,” she explained.
“It’s important to us to be part of a community,” she added.
Roy said the name of their joint venture -- Boonies -- is a nod to the kind of lifestyle they are building. “One day, we’d love to live out in the country. For now, we want to be connected with nature, support our community, and live a creative life.”