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Trend Report: Beauty Goes Minimal

Complicated skincare is a thing of the past as we head into 2020. Gone are the 12-step routines of the Korean skincare trend and in its place are multipurpose products that do double, triple or quadruple duty—in less time. Meet a few of the Opal Avenue brands leading the pack in our latest Trend Report.

Divine Scents Aromatherapy Stress Relief Inhaler

The power of essential oils has been on beauty’s radar for a while now, but this upcoming year, you’ll see even more multipurpose products relying on EOs to do heavy mood lifting. This Stress Relief Inhaler from Divine Scents is an on-the-go mood booster, which is key to the minimalism trend. Stick it in your purse or leave one in your car or on your desk and inhale the scents of rosewood, coriander and sandalwood to produce a deeply warm, relaxing and soothing feeling anytime you need it. It fights stress and promotes relaxation, all in a tube smaller than your lipstick case.

Ava Isa Aurora Rose SPF 45 Ultra Matte with Bio UVA Ultra Sunscreen

You know that perfect tinted moisturizer with sunscreen you’ve been searching for? This one from Ava Isa is IT. With a nude-rose illuminating tint, it’s the most light-weight, ultra matte sunscreen to date—with Ecocert certified organic 15% Zinc Oxide as its active ingredient and the brand’s patent pending Bio UVA Ultra in a tinted form. This extremely dry touch finish feels instantly weightless when applied to the skin and it does double duty because it also provides exceptional UVA and UVB protection with zinc oxide as its only active ingredient. It streamlines your makeup routine, while being beneficial and protective to skin. Talk about minimalism (without losing the potency).


You can’t talk about beauty minimalism without talking about this multi-purpose balm. Created by a makeup artist to prep skin before makeup application, this ointment softens dry skin and be used for pain relief on cuts and burns while reducing redness. Ouli’s Ointment also acts as a multi-application beauty product with uses including smoothing fine lines under the eye, perfect for chapped lips, and as a barrier under makeup to create a healthy glow. It even tames flyaway hairs. It’s the only thing you need in your pre-makeup routine.

MakeupDrop Everyday Set

Streamlining makeup application is yet another way beauty minimalism will take 2020. You can skip basically all your makeup brushes by adding the MakeupDrop Everyday set to your routine. The carefully designed silicone makeup applicator can be used to apply foundation, concealer, eye makeup, blush, highlighter, bronzer… you name it! It also eliminates makeup waste by reducing the amount of product you use. These two silicone applicators distill all of your favorite makeup accessories into one succinct device, clearing clutter from your makeup bag, and your life.


Neeta Naturals Elaadi Face & Body Oil

Whenever you find a product that works for both your delicate facial skin and your body, hold onto it tight. Perfect for traveling or just for minimizing your beauty routine, The Neeta Naturals Elaadi Face & Body Oil manages to work wonders for both your face and your body. The ancient Ayurvedic recipe infuses herbs in sesame oil and a water decoction to extract both oil and water soluble phytoactive components of these beneficial herbs. It has been used for centuries for soothing irritated skin conditions including eczema and dry skin, and it’s known to improve complexion, skin texture and to reduce appearance of acne and eczema scars.

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Motivating Your Team When It Comes To Retail Selling (Part 5) – The Reception Team Earns Customer Trust

In the ongoing series on implementing a successful retail culture, How Can I Motivate My Team When It Comes To Retail Selling?, we have touched on the importance of the customer journey, the manager’s mindset & the staff members role in generating sales. Today, let’s discover the 4th key element to growing your retail culture – your reception team. 

    • The Customer
    • The Manager
    • The Staff Member
    • Your Reception
    • Your Marketing
    • Your Merchandising

A pleasant reception experience is essential to the success of any retail shop and spa business as they are the first people customers see. A top-notch reception team can increase your revenue without much effort by simply delivering on excellent customer service with each and every customer. Yes, the reception team tends to juggle a lot – interaction with managers, customers, teams, deliveries, ringing phones…. you name it. And they certainly manage a dynamic environment and situations while being professional at all times. But as your first and final points of contact, it is essential to enlist them in creating a pleasant journey for your customers. 

From a customer’s point of view, the reception team IS you. They see no difference. Whether positive or negative, the reception team reinforces the feelings customers have while engaging with and shopping in your business. The smoother the customer journey, the more your customers will trust you and will leave with a feeling of satisfaction each and every time. The truth is that it’s not solely the products you stock that keep customers coming back. Customers, at their core, desire to frequent environments again and again that make them feel GOOD. 

There is something called the Peak-end Rule, which was explained to me a long time ago as being, “ a natural and psychological thought process where people judge an experience largely based on how they felt at its peak (i.e., its most memorable point) and at its end, rather than based on the total sum or average of every moment of the experience.” Our brains are wired to remember the highest point of an experience as well as the end, no matter the in between. When are these critical points happening in your business? Can you identify them? And what reputation are they cementing for you? If you haven’t had an opportunity to reflect on this, I highly suggest testing your current environment through mystery shoppers or by simply asking existing clients for their honest feedback. 

So how can you ensure that you have a strong reception team that delivers great customer experiences? There are 5 areas that you can help your team improve on right away:

  1. Phone Calls

A critical point of all good first impressions. Reception teams need to deliver efficiency and professionalism straight away regardless of what is happening in the moment. It is crucial to help your team understand what you want them to prioritize. Must the phone be answered within 3 rings for example? What happens if there are people in front of them? All great teams will honor your expectations so be clear as to what these practices are but remain open to listening to their feedback.

On a phone call, the reception team is able to create organic moments for up-selling and cross-selling with mindful open-ended questions, collect data and understand the customer’s needs before they even enter your business. Kind communication and setting expectations is important to lead the customer into having a positive experience with you. Having a reception meeting every month can also be helpful for clarifying questions your team might have on current protocols as well as for sharing learning experiences within the group. 

  1. Merchandising

Tidying, facing and restocking of retail products can be looked after by the reception team. This keeps your retail area presentable and easy to shop in. With my store and spa clients, I typically create sustainable systems and procedures for them that ensure this is done at certain times of the day and to high standards. 

  1. Customer Journey

Creating a repeatable process and flow for your customer journey is key to ensure your customers feel good. It is important to train your team on how your business says hello & goodbye, how they offer recommendations or explain products and services, and more. 

As you establish this flow it then becomes your standards and your customers will always feel confident about what they can expect when they shop with you. 

  1. Customer Data

Keeping detailed customer records will earn you your bread and butter! Your reception team is essential in this. With data your business can do so much. Are you launching a new retail line in store that’s organic? Well, thankfully, your database holds notes about specific customers who are ultra health conscious or tend to book an organic facial with you. They’d surely be interested in hearing about it. Or want to send out an appreciation discount to customers who have birthdays this month? Good news, you already have customer birthdays in your database. Data allows you to generate leads for many revenue initiatives and ensure that details are correct. Without capturing data, it becomes difficult to target your marketing so that it generates results (income!) for you.  It is essential to train your team to do this and to carry out regular checks to ensure vital information is entered accurately in the system. 

  1. Retail

As the beginning and end contacts within your customer journey, the reception team becomes the biggest influence on retail sales. With a customer’s excellent experience comes their trust in your business and your expertise. Your reception team is in a role of service and its natural for customers to engage in genuine and meaningful conversations with them.  These conversations can naturally lead to additional service bookings as well as retail product suggestions and purchases. There are many creative ways to organically create these moments. For example, I had a spa client that would spray the spa’s signature room spray in each shopping bag. Naturally, that sparked clients to ask what that pleasant scent was. She could never keep enough on the shelf!

Now, take your owner’s hat off and take me up on this exercise. Spend a day observing the experiences you have wherever you go. How do they make you feel? Why did you feel this way? I personally enjoy doing this exercise at any restaurant or hotel. Someone recently told me about their favorite Italian restaurant and how they are always welcome no matter how packed it is. They feel right at home and are greeted with open arms. They’ve never heard “let me see if I can find you a table or sit in the waiting area until we call you.” Tell me, which of the two above scenarios would you want to walk into?

“I have learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” – Maya Angelou

In our next article, join me in understanding the importance of a heavy hitter within your retail strategy – marketing.  It is going to be an absolute eye opener. 

Love retail and retail will love you back! 


Valerie Delforge is the founder and CEO of Delforge Management Consulting LTD whom is dedicated to setting up spas and retail boutiques for ultimate success through expert bespoke programmes and accessible online workshops. Learn more about Delforge Management Consulting here:


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Retail Reflections: Motivating Your Team When It Comes To Retail Selling (Part 4) – Staff Members Transform Into Experts.

If you’ve been joining along in this special Retail Reflections series, How Can I Motivate My Team When It Comes To Retail Selling?, we’ve learned that there are 6 key components that activate an increase in sales. And so far we have explored the Customer and the Manager’s vital role in the process.

  • The Customer
  • The Manager
  • The Staff Member
  • Your Reception
  • Your Marketing
  • Your Merchandising

Today we dive into the importance of a staff member’s role in increasing your store’s retail sales. Their individual hard-skills of up-selling & cross-selling is, of course, influential in reaching your set targets. However, we cannot ignore key soft-skills they need to nurture in order to maximize their interaction with every customer that walks through your doors.

I’ll come out and admit this. In the retail landscape of today, it’s somewhat outdated to think about selling in this cookie-cutter way: “find out the needs of the client and answer their needs”. Although true and essential to a strong sale, clients of today come into retail environments more researched and prepared than ever. Would you agree? Thanks to social media, review forums, and digital advertisements, product information is available at their fingertips. They may already KNOW what they want when they walk in your store. This can sometimes leave you or your team members feeling like there is no room for further item suggestions and consultative selling.

To adjust to this shift, many store owners work hard to anticipate a customer’s unspoken needs and focus on creating more and more impulse-buy opportunities in their stores. “Oh I didn’t know I needed a strawberry lip balm as I am finishing my shopping and waiting to pay. I need/want/must have it!”, thinks the customer. Meanwhile, you say a little woohoo! to yourself.

That organic up-sell feels good, right? But let me tell you, there is a significant danger in becoming comfortable with passive selling like this. It’s important not to assume that every customer doesn’t need or want anything more than what they say they walked in the door for. How? Every team member should continue to cultivate their inner expert. Experts are sought after and cannot easily be replaced. It’ll be hard for your customer to take their business elsewhere if you are an EXPERT in their eyes. They’ll always trust your suggestions.

How can staff members quickly ascend to expert status? Here are the skills to get them there:

Know the ‘why’.

Understanding the why of your client is crucial to your retail culture: why are they here? what do they want? what are they looking for? No matter what, don’t forget to ask.

It allows us to gain insight into their unmet needs and establishes a genuine connection. Over time, this connection can only grow. From taking an interest in our customer, we can find natural opportunities to consult and guide. For example you can uncover: the habits that lead to their current want or concern, why they use the products they do today, or if their intended purchase is a step towards them achieving a greater lifestyle goal. How can you support them?

A Customer’s WHY is the heart of everything else that you will create to enhance retail sales because this messaging trickles down to your marketing & merchandising. It also becomes the foundation of your staff member training including that of your receptionists (if you employ any).

The art of listening- really actually listening.

Let me tell you something I experienced recently which happens all too often.
I was asked to mystery shop for a brand in Selfridges London UK in order to uncover what was happening at the customer consultation stage.

The sales associate asked me a few questions (so far so good!). As soon as she learned that I was over 45 years old she immediately overtook the conversation by only talking to me about the brand’s anti-ageing range from that point on. What did I tell her my main concern was earlier in the conversation? The blemishes on my chin.
I left that interaction feeling deflated with both my wrinkles (I didn’t think they were THAT prominent!) AND my blemishes. No solution was offered for my blemishes. Did I buy something? No. I was, however, given a bundle of samples that were not explained to me nor relevant to my conscious needs.

Now, don’t get me wrong, of course I am concerned about wrinkles. I have 20 eye creams at home to prove it! But because the sales associate decided what my main priority should be she unknowingly suggested items which were not going to move me to make a purchase with her. The conversation could have remained on track: what brought me to her counter? Why did I want to buy this specific brand? How long have I been experiencing these blemishes? And did I notice them after a specific incident or using a certain product? Now that could have lead us down so many consultative and product suggestion paths.

The biggest lesson here is: never assume what the customer’s needs are. Customers literally tell you what they are willing to purchase. Listen and you’ll hear these answers.

Believing in your expertise.

To set yourself up as an expert is to ensure that the customer leaves with not only the products that are answering their needs but also with ones they learned about from you as a hot tip. How do you feel when you are lead to discovering an ingenious new hack or trend forward idea? Hopefully, inspired right!? By sincerely believing in your expert suggestions, you invoke this same feeling of inspiration in your customers. Creating this circle of trust makes a lasting impact.

Your team’s commitment to being experts will unveil a thoughtful journey for all of your customers and generate sales that are both meaningful & valuable to them. Price to your customer becomes an afterthought.


Team Member mindset is the soul of your retail culture. Motivation for achieving daily goals and targets simply comes from starting their day with a positive outlook. “Today I will sell 2 products per customer” or better yet “today, I will genuinely listen to and guide our customers.” Look for ways to encourage a mindset of healthy competition with themselves, them sharing their success stories, and digging further into lessons learned as to why a sale didn’t happen. An environment for safe, self-reflection will engage your staff members for the long term.

When you are not present, your staff members are the face of your business. And as an extension of yourself, they make sales happen for you.

Engaging them from the recruitment level will cultivate the thriving retail culture you desire in your business. It takes training and dedication from the manager, the owner, and individual team members to answer and exceed your customer’s expectations. It’s effort well spent.

In the next part of this series, we will be looking at reception teams specifically and their role when it comes to retail sales. Even if you don’t employ a reception team, there are several golden rules you won’t want to miss that will help mam a lasting positive impression on your customer and have them coming back to you again and again.

Love retail & retail will love you back!


Valerie Delforge is the founder and CEO of Delforge Management Consulting LTD whom is dedicated to setting up spas and retail boutiques for ultimate success through expert bespoke programmes and accessible online workshops. Learn more about Delforge Management Consulting here:

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Trend Report: Back to School Tools

With back-to-school just around the corner (or in full swing, depending on your locale), brands are stepping up to provide multi-purpose, dual-use and easy-to-use products that make a fast impact post-summer. The launch into the busy school-year fall season requires streamlined, proactive products that make life a little bit easier, without compromising on your #BetterBeauty standards. Here are four Opal Avenue brands ready to guide customers into the school year with back to school tools you’ll want to keep nearby year-round.

Terra and Co. Sustainability Oral Care Set

After all those sweet summer treats (did anyone else indulge in lots of ice cream this season?), getting oral health back in balance is a must. Terra and Co. has the answer with its ultimate teeth whitening set, in their signature “Sustainable is the New Black” bag, made from recycled plastic bottles. The set includes the full spectrum of their natural, healthy oral care: Brilliant Black Oil Pulling Ayurvedic oil made with activated charcoal and peppermint essential oil; Brilliant Black Activated Charcoal Toothpaste for whitening and removing tartar; a biodegradable bamboo toothbrush; and Brilliant Black Zero Waste Dental Floss, with naturally occurring anti-bacterial properties that effectively removing buildup a toothbrush can’t reach.

Full Unicorn’s Gemstone Resurfacing Treatment

Post-summer skin feeling a little, well, meh? With the inevitable outdoor time summer brings also comes the potential for sun damage and dullness, as well as dehydration. Enter Full Unicorn’s Gemstone Resurfacing Treatment made with juicy papaya and pineapple enzymes that gently slough away dead skin cells, helping to reveal brighter, more glowy skin. Hexagonal gemstone micro-crystals also work to build collagen, while multi-fruit AHA’s go to work on fine lines and wrinkles, helping to even out your complexion and skin tone. Then, a boost of hyaluronic acid draws moisture into skin as it helps build elasticity, so you can wave bye bye to dull, dry skin.

Who doesn’t need an all-purpose beauty balm that doubles as a quick-soothing treatment? Ouli’s Ointment All-Purpose Beauty Balm is truly multi-use. It works just as well as skip prep for makeup application as it does mixed with tinted powder to create a creamy foundation. It also helps soothe dry skin, eczema and psoriasis, and can help decrease irritation, redness and itching. It’s the perfect purse companion for busy back-to-school days (or full-on weekend errand days).

Nelum Botanics Rose & Geranium Aqua Vitae Rejuvenating Toner

Aging with grace can be challenging if you live in a harsh environment like a bustling city. To help ease into the natural course of life, with grace and gratitude, Nelum Botanics created the Aqua Vitae Rejuvenating Toner  for mature skin. This delicate blend of organic rose and organic geranium essence, botanical extracts and pro-vitamins works with you, and not against you, as it supports skin’s elasticity and beautifies skin tone. It’s a perfect addition to a fall skincare routine, when the busy season picks up and skin could use a boost.

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Retail Reflections: Motivating Your Team When It Comes To Retail Selling (Part 3) – The Impact of Managers

In our last Retail Reflections session together, we explored the perspective of The Customer and the importance of defining your customer journey to expand your retail sales.  Today, we take a look at the crucial role of The Manager in building a successful retail culture.   

First, let me remind you of the 6 elements that make a successful retail sales environment:

  • The Customer
  • The Manager
  • The Staff Member
  • Your Reception
  • Your Marketing
  • Your Merchandising

The mindset of your manager(s) is the key to creating an easily accepted retail culture. If your manager is passionate about retail, everyone else will be. If the manager is focused on the minutiae of your business’s day to day administration, the focus on active selling – bringing in revenue – will be an afterthought. 

I see many shop owners quickly resign themselves to accepting the sales as they are because creating change appears to be an uphill battle. However, in doing this, an owner can unknowingly create a ‘passive work’ atmosphere and allow teams to focus on tasks that don’t actively contribute your most desired goals. 

Having done hundreds of boutique and spa trainings throughout the world I am confident in a fact I’ll share with you now. A foundation for a healthy, thriving retail culture is cemented by your managers. 

Unfortunately, managers can be faced with many obstacles when it comes to fulfilling his / her role in nurturing your retail culture:

    • Dealing with HR issues: this spans from staff recruitment to covering last-minute co-worker ‘sick days’. Let’s also not forget their management of a difficult team member. This person is a character that in my trainings I like to call “Flossy”. Let’s face it, we’ve all had to deal with a Flossy at some point (or you may be in the middle of handling Flossy right now!). Unchecked, HR can make up 70% of manager activity. These activities are not only time-consuming – they can be taxing on the morale of even the most competent managers. 
    • The pressure of delivering the numbers: “You are only as good as your last month’s figures” my boss used to tell me… Talk about pressure! Messaging like this creates overwhelm and encourages an environment of individual achievement (‘everyone for themselves’) rather than an environment that rewards reaching goals as a collective unit.  
    • The weakest team: There is no such thing as “the wrong” or “weakest team.” This is a common mental block managers can bring along with them. I have met managers who have stepped into inherited teams and find it a challenge to get everyone to subscribe to their specific way of selling. If allowed to contribute to sales targets in ways that fit their individual personalities, any underperforming team member can be turned around to become an asset. 
    • Getting a pat on the back: In their role, managers can be exposed to much problem-solving. From HR to difficult customers to operations, it is sometimes hard for managers to see glory in their role. This can take its toll in the long run and the passion they once had for building a thriving business WITH YOU can progressively fade away. 

Let’s change this for your business and start creating a retail culture of employees that LOVE to make you proud in reaching sales targets and goals. It can be done! And here’s how. To maintain passion and a strong mindset, these are the 5 essential areas of focus for managers: 

A Clear & Communicated Mission:

A shared mission must be communicated to every employee. A team will rally behind leaders who they feel are including them in a shared journey. I am often surprised how little teams are included in these conversations by owners and managers who tend to be crystal clear on the targets of the business. Active communication is crucial to team focus. The clearer your mission, the clearer the collective action steps, the more your team will follow. What do you want to achieve by the end of the year? Win an award? Achieve 10% over target? Have over 2000 business reviews? Whatever it is, true leadership lays out a roadmap to follow. If you don’t know what you want for your business over the next 5 years then I encourage you to start dreaming and sharing your vision for the future. 

Task Management

Task management makes a significant impact when it comes to building your retail culture. I often see managers in back offices working primarily on operational tasks leaving them with no time to ‘lead by example’ on the shop floor. That creates a break in the chainlink of your teams shared mission. It’s important as the owner of the business to encourage managers to prioritize the tasks that will move the revenue needle for your business. 

Inventory Control

This in itself can fill up an article! However, the main thing is that too much stock is both a confidence and cash burden on the business. On the other hand, not enough stock keeps you from reaching your sales targets. Finding just the right inventory levels for the business is important. 

Retail Strategy Development:

Are all elements of the business aligned with its retail goals and aspirations? This includes your branding, marketing, networking, event management, merchandising, systems, procedures, communication plan, target setting, new product or service launches, etc. It’s essential to check all of these things and ensure they are supporting, not hindering, your team’s sales efforts. If there are things to be improved upon, managers should feel comfortable in sharing these findings with the business owner. 

Team management

The most important aspect of your retail culture is to encourage, coach and nurture your team. The active development of each staff member makes the team engaged. Create and share clear plans of action that play to each individual staffer’s strengths and personality in order to achieve the collective goals of the business. This can allow a business to function whether an owner is physically present or not.  Having a team that is fully behind you is what will make you overachieve your targets. This also gives both the manager and the owner the permission of the group to proactively address any cases of low achievement with minimal, if any, conflict. How great would that feel?

I strongly believe that creating a retail culture one can be proud of takes mindfulness and strategy.  By following the above steps, which is a part of my Retail 360° blueprint, you will be able to create a thorough plan of action that will grow your retail sales, nurture your team and maintain a positive mindset. 

Stay tuned for the next article in this series: Motivating Your Team When It Comes To Retail Selling. We’ll be taking a look at The Staff Member and what important aspects they contribute to retail sales, Flossy and all…

Until then, love retail and retail will love you back!


Valerie Delforge is the founder and CEO of Delforge Management Consulting LTD whom is dedicated to setting up spas and retail boutiques for ultimate success through expert bespoke programmes and accessible online workshops. Learn more about Delforge Management Consulting here:

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Trend Report: Plastic-Free July for a Healthier Planet

Every year, eight million metric tons of plastics enter our oceans, on top of the estimated 150 million metric tons that currently circulate the world’s marine environments. It’s overwhelming?but it can be reversed. That’s part of the reason brands are opting in to more sustainable packaging that avoids single-use plastics and ultimately makes for a healthier planet. During Plastic-Free July, we wanted to highlight a few #BetterBeauty brands that have taken the sustainability, plastic-free need to heart, creating products that are safer and better for the planet, all while being effective for consumers. Here are four Opal Avenue brands doing their part year-round to protect and renew the planet with environmentally friendly ingredients and packaging.

Lunette Reusable Menstrual Cup

Not only is the Lunette Reusable Menstrual Cup zero-waste, but the box the cup comes in is 100 percent compostable. You won’t find any plastic here?the clear, see-through window on the box is actually made of wood pulp, and the cup itself is made of soft, medical-grade silicon, which is BPA and chemical free. On top of saving menstruating humans money by being reusable for several years, the Lunette Cup is a winning vote for the environment, and helps us stay plastic-free for more than July.

The Humble Co. Chewing Gum

This chewing gum from The Humble Co. is brought to you by dentists who care about your oral health, the environment and children in need of oral care. Did you know that conventional gums often contain fillers, including plastics, in their formulas? Skip the plastic and try The Humble Co.’s gum, which is instead made from trees like birch and acacia. It’s naturally good for your teeth and breath, and includes nothing artificial, and no added sugar. The packaging is eco-friendly and can be thrown out with the organic trash. It’s a win-win-win, for consumers, the planet and our communities.

Green & Gorgeous Organics’ Aerosol-Free Dry Shampoo Dispenser

A glass + stainless steel dry shampoo dispenser is genius in the world of aerosol sprays that both utilize plastics in their packaging and contain harmful, potentially hazardous ingredients in their formulas. Green & Gorgeous Organics is paving the way for a safer, more sustainable option with its aerosol-free dry shampoo dispenser. Add to it that the brand’s dry shampoo is housed in recyclable cardboard containers, and you’re looking at innovative, plastic-free products making waves in the #BetterBeauty industry.

Meow Meow Tweet’s Lip Balm + Deodorant Sticks

Meow Meow Tweet is a brand with sustainability at its core. Since its inception, MMT has led the industry in unique, accessible formulas and planet-friendly packaging. Their vegan lip balms and deodorants are both housed in biodegradable cardboard tubes, meaning that they’ll disintegrate into products like water and carbon dioxide as micro-organisms in the soil go after them. They’re plastic-free, and much safer to use in the long-term, for both health and environmental reasons. Bonus? They smell incredible and they’re super effective. Another win for consumers and the planet.


Interested in other trends in #BetterBeauty? Read about the influx of beautiful, nontoxic haircare that’s making manes soft, shiny and manageable.


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Trend Report: Hair’s the Deal

One aspect of cleaner, greener, better beauty that many converts struggle to find favorite replacements for is in the haircare category. From shampoo and conditioner to styling and treatments, haircare options are fewer and further between than the plethora of skincare choices we’ve seen explode onto the market in the last five years. But, thankfully, brands are noticing that hole in better beauty offerings and they’re stepping up. With new formulas (think shampoo bars) and innovative ingredients, these Opal Avenue brands are leaning into the need for safer, more natural haircare options.

Loving Culture Hair Oil

This elegantly crafted, invigorating, transformative and versatile holistic hair oil is made to moisturize, promote healthy hair growth and elasticity, and prevent damage against heat, chemicals and natural elements. It’s a uniquely derived oil blend that’s also nutrient dense in composition, rich in vitamins B,C and E, plus omega fatty-acids. Potent extracts such as cayenne pepper and cinnamon have been combined to nourish, revitalize and protect hair follicles and scalp. These anti-inflammatory ingredients have properties that can help to restore moisture, too. The best part? All the ingredients are sustainably sourced and USDA certified organic. Plus, the formula’s argan oil is fair trade, and Loving Culture seeks to ensure that the standards of sourcing of this highly desirable oil are ethical.

Meow Meow Tweet Shampoo Bar

With a rich lather and its sweet, herbal scent, this unique bar soap was formulated to nourish your hair?but it can be used on the whole body too! Rich avocado oil and aloe vera condition and soften, while rosemary and hops flowers promote shiny, bright hair and scalp health. Without a bottle, it’s got a lesser carbon footprint than your standard shampoo, too, making it hair and environmentally friendly.

Katari Beauty Hair Masque

Sometimes hair doesn’t need deep conditioning. It needs growth, health and a good cleanse, which can be great for strengthening hair follicles and boosting volume. This is what Katari Beauty’s Argil Hair Masque does with one powerful ingredient, 100 percent pure Tunisian green clay, which is chock full of minerals like iron, magnesium, calcium, organic plant matter and dozens of trace minerals. It cleanses the scalp well, without stripping skin’s natural oils or hair color, and goes deep to nourish the epidermis and help with healthy hair growth. It can do all of this while also helping to preserve and nurture hair’s pigment. It’s a powerful, natural, bio-organic hair treatment hand-picked in the Atlas Mountains of Tunisia.

HeathNaturally Hemp Softgels

HealthNaturally?’s Hemp Oil Softgels contain a full array of botanicals, providing essential fatty acids including omega 3, omega 6, GLA, SDA and vitamin E, that can help strengthen strands from the inside out. These vegan, gluten-free softgels support recovery from exercise-induced inflammation, and management of normal, everyday stressors?all of which can help regulate hair loss. Hemp oil helps promote homeostasis and an overall reduction of stress in the body, and untreated stress can result in hair loss. By adding hemp into a regular routine, locks can flourish.

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9 Honestly Healthy Brands With Sustainability At Their Core.

At Opal Avenue, we believe that Earth Day should be celebrated every day. And today, we’re honoring our beautiful planet by introducing you to 9 of our favorite honestly healthy well brands that keep sustainability at the forefront of their businesses. They’ve reached the ultimate success. Creating safe solutions that are both good for the body and the planet. Meet them here and learn what inspired them to start their brand, how they are bettering the planet, and their most treasured products from their lines.

Terra & Co.

Amra & Azra Hajdarevic, Founders

What inspired you to start Terra & Co?

My sister and I always wanted to start a business together but we never knew it would be oral care. The idea came when Amra was pregnant and she used activated charcoal to whiten teeth but it was too messy, then we thought why not make an organic toothpaste that whitens teeth but without the mess in your bathroom. That’s how our first and still best-selling product was created.

As a champion for sustainability, how do you incorporate these values into your company and product line?

Our every decision is made with Mother Earth in mind. From how we design products to how we ship. It is the core of our business. It should have been for all businesses. There is only one Earth and she can do without us but we can’t without her.

If you had to choose one favorite product from your line, what would that be and why?

I love them all but our Oil Pulling is my favorite item. I incorporate Ayurveda in my lifestyle and that has helped me balance and improve my health. Our oil pulling is not only oral care products, but it also helps with the mouth, gut, and overall health. It is so much more than mouthwash.

Loving Culture

Mary-Andree Ardouin-Guerrier, Founder

What inspired you to start Loving Culture?

Loving Culture evolved from my own transition into a more holistic and toxin-free lifestyle after watching several chronic diseases ravage the lives of two of my closest relatives and after our son had been diagnosed with severe food allergies. I started questioning all the environmental toxins that we are often exposed to. I eliminated toxic chemical hair straighteners from my beauty consumption and cut off all my hair to start from scratch since I started growing out my natural curls. So I began researching ways to grow out my hair in a more organic holistic way at a faster rate. I ended up creating this incredible oil blend with spices and botanical oils which then became a part of my daily hair regiment. Family & friends were impressed at my results and started asking for the oil blend and actually wanted to pay me for it! I decided to create an Etsy store online to make the process easier and it was at that moment Loving Culture was born.

As a champion for sustainability, how do you incorporate these values into your company and product line?

Sustainability is at the core of our brand. As a current doctoral candidate in Health Education at Columbia University conducting research that seeks to reduce the exposure of environmental toxins, I have found that sustainability and environmental health go hand and hand. Our oil is free of any petrochemical ingredients and we only bottle our product in glass. Our oil is 100% biodegradable, we used to use biostone labels (labels made with stone instead of paper) but now we use eco-friendly screen printing on our glass bottles which makes the recycling/breakdown process even easier. Our packaging is 100% recyclable. We also use recycled post-consumer products within our marketing and shipping materials as often as possible, in addition our shipping boxes are FSC certified. Our oils are ethically sourced, 100% USDA certified organic, and our argan oil is Fair Trade. ?

If you had to choose one favorite product from your line, what would that be and why?

Our revitalizing organic hair oil is the only product we have because of the high level of integrity that we are committed to. This oil is the beginning and the benchmark for what Loving Culture represents.

Superieur Electrolytes

Seth Bovio, Founder

What inspired you to start Superieur Electrolytes?

We noticed other nutritional categories using plant extracts and sea minerals as ingredients and decided to turn the electrolyte category upside right by replacing usual lab-made sources such as ascorbic acid and sodium chloride with food sources and pink Himalayan sea salt. ?So many of us want pH balance and using actual sources gives us a gap lead in the category.

As a champion for sustainability, how do you incorporate these values into your company and product line?

My family of five uses reusable containers and our 70-serving recyclable canister that holds our antioxidant-rich electrolyte formula can replace 70 plastic bottles of the typical sports drinks. ?Further, we humans live longer and stronger if we pass on the highly processed ingredients.

If you had to choose one favorite product from your line, what would that be and why?

Our Fresh Watermelon flavor is the best tasting electrolyte drink on the market. ?It?s so smooth and light.

Ouli?s Ointment

Stephanie G-M, Founder

What inspired you to start Ouli’s Ointment?

I started Ouli?s Ointment 3 years ago in London. Before that when my Grandmother got sick (Yiayia) I had an idea to create something natural, simple and completely adaptable for my makeup kit, that would also keep my connection to her and the island my family is from, Zakynthos. I felt the need for something with clean ingredients I could use in my makeup kit for everything from eyebrows, to highlighter to makeup primer and it is all that and more! I didn?t know what I would create I just knew I needed to incorporate olive oil and change how it is perceived in skincare. From my experience, olive oil products don?t always smell great and are generally greasy. So Ouli?s is the opposite! It is easily absorbed, not greasy and smells light and divine!

Yiayia?s use of chamomile in my childhood and our family olive groves were a huge inspiration. When I got pregnant all the pieces started to fall into place of being connected to the right people and really making it happen. So my son and Ouli?s were born at the end of 2015! Now it?s sold worldwide and I?m expanding my product line from the one little tin of sunshine to more simple and adaptable products.

As a champion for sustainability, how do you incorporate these values into your company and product line?

I have been determined to keep our tins packaging free, as a makeup artist I have thrown a lot of new product boxes away and it has always been painful and wasteful. That?s why Ouli?s Ointment?s tins have no outer packaging and all of the EU and Canada requirements all fit on our tins. I?ve also sourced biodegradable seals for security that are made from vegetable cellulose. We also use aluminum tins which have an extremely low footprint both in creation and their life span because they can be reused easily and recycled easily too.

If you had to choose one favorite product from your line, what would that be and why?

As we only have one right now, or favorite most definitely is our little tin of sunshine, our all purpose ointment. It really is great for absolutely everything and is super adaptable. You can mix it with powder sunscreen, you can mix it with lipstick to create a stain. It?s great for children, pets and even better on the go!


Heli Kurjanen, Founder & CEO

What inspired you to start Lunette?

The inspiration behind Lunette was need. I was looking for a comfortable and safe period care product and although I found something “okay”, I couldn?t find anything perfect. I started to think that maybe I?m not alone with these thoughts and started to think that maybe I should design a menstrual cup suitable for my own needs. Luckily it turned out that I wasn?t alone with my problems and Lunette got excellent reviews from the beginning.

As a champion for sustainability, how do you incorporate these values into your company and product line?

For over 14 years, Lunette’s mission has been focused on changing attitudes about periods. We feel nobody should feel ashamed of them and nobody should miss a chance because of them. I created this product to solve a need and to help shift an outdated mindset about menstruation. ?With those two goals comes great responsibility to truly live out your mission in everything you do and I’m proud that we’ve continued on that path since the very first cup we sold. For example, we’ve donated over several thousands of menstrual cups to people with no access to safe period care. Can you believe that even in 2019 there are people with no access to safe period care? We’ve also been inclusive since day one and I think that’s important when you are talking about reproductive rights for ALL people. ?We were one of the first period brands to show various shapes, sizes and gender identities in our marketing. That idea is certainly more mainstream today, but at the time, it was disruptive especially for a period brand. I’m very proud of that.

If you had to choose one favorite product from your line, what would that be and why?

Of course, it?s the Lunette Cup! It?s a superior, safe product that is 100% zero waste, down to the packaging (our mission since day one!). After all, not all period products are created the same. ?Lunette continues to stand out in comfort and safety ? Our cups were rated #1 by an independent global safety study. Seriously though, I can?t live without our cup and the freedom it provides me monthly.

Meow Meow Tweet

Tara Pelletier and Jeff Kurosaki, Founders

What inspired you to start Meow Meow Tweet?

We started MMT to create ethical and healthy personal care products that are not stressful to the earth, do not harm animals, are manufactured and packaged in a positive work environment, and presented to the consumer at an accessible price point.

As a champion for sustainability, how do you incorporate these values into your company and product line?

We believe that we can create truly exceptional products that are thoughtfully sourced and packaged without compromise. Many larger conventional products brands cut corners and have set an unrealistic standard of convenience and low price points that consumers have come to expect. In choosing values over dollars, we have to be creative at every step, from product development to customer education, to ensure the integrity of those values and quality standards are adhered to.

Most of our ingredients are certified organic, non-gmo, and from strong or renewable plant populations. We are 100% vegan, cruelty free and palm free. We are always trying to reduce the amount of plastic waste our packaging contributes to landfills by ensuring it will break down naturally or has a high rate of recyclability within the U.S..

If you had to choose one favorite product from your line, what would that be and why?

Right now we are loving our deodorant sticks and lip balms in paper packaging. It?s been a long road to perfect the design of the paper tube and to get just the right formulation that feels good, functions in the tube and keeps odor at bay.

Katari Beauty

Kate Fish, Founder

What inspired you to start Katari?

I came from a very simple and humble background and learned complexity of simplicity from my grandmother. From my travels in the Mediterranean, I brought the simplest arsenal of ancient beauty secrets that are stunningly simple, single-ingredient and shockingly effective. It was not a short journey at all. For instance, it took me over 10 years to find both our rose water and the rare Atlas Mountains Green Clay, Argil. I wanted to find specific pH (neutral), all non-comedogenic, and all hypoallergenic ingredients that would work effortlessly for even most sensitive skin types. AND, the ultimate inspiration was nature and people and knowledge that has been passed on for millennia ? our brand is working tirelessly to help preserve ancient crafts and support people who stand behind all of our products and accessories.

As a champion for sustainability, how do you incorporate these values into your company and product line?

When I learned that commercially manufactured glass often contains plastic, I created lab-grade hand-blown glass to package Katari products. I could not wait until some huge manufacturer will finally step up and create an eco-friendly option for beauty industry. When I created our new packaging, I eliminated plastic from our processes and also gave on-going work for dozens of glass masters in the Mediterranean. And, shockingly, handmade glass is NOT much more expensive than lesser quality Chinese glass and plastic bottles and it looks and feels like you have a piece of art in your hands.

I am very excited that ALL Katari products are sustainably produced. We do not give hand-outs to artisans, though we work with each and every one of them directly and personally. Our joint efforts (our clients through their on-going support and Katari Team) give artisans an opportunity for sustained earnings. It is a lot of responsibility; but there is nothing better than knowing that you are actually making a difference in people?s lives and also keeping Earth clean. ?

If you had to choose one favorite product from your line, what would that be and why?

I am not an obsessive personality but I cannot live without Hoba oil and Roseau (our vapor distilled rose water toner). It is a staple in my travel bag and all my friends and family and every single person who has tried the duo are obsessed as well. Hoba + Roseau combination is the simplest and easiest daily skin miracle. It is all you really need on the road and at home (and for the entire family starting from newborns) to cleanse, tone, moisturize and keep skin balanced. It does not feel oily and skin just drinks it up.

Honua Skincare

Kapua Browning, Founder

What inspired you to start Honua Skincare?

Growing up in Hawaii I was raised using more traditional forms of healing such as L?’au Lapa’au as well as Chinese medicine and acupuncture. As an As an Esthetician, I understood the value of treating skincare conditions from the root causes and I knew that our Hawaiian healing botanicals could successfully treat these conditions this way and deliver results. After years of success with myself, family and facial clients, I decided to share Honua with the world.

As a champion for sustainability, how do you incorporate these values into your company and product line?

We honor our Honua (Earth) by replenishing and protecting her resources through sustainable harvesting practices, reforestation education and actions, and supporting our ocean health. We hold bi-annual workshops on reforestation and ocean plastic awareness and educate through our newsletters and social media throughout the year. We also use glue-less compostable boxes and glass bottles to eliminate the use of single-use plastic and lighten our carbon footprint. As a company and family, M?lama ‘?ina (to care for the land) is a value and responsibility that we take seriously.

If you had to choose one favorite product from your line, what would that be and why?

At the moment I would say our Pa’akai Cleansing Cream, as it has Hawaiian Salt water in it from my home which I am currently missing. Aside from our extended family, my daily swim in the ocean is what I miss most. Our ocean water is so healing and always left me feeling refreshed and cleansed. Using our Pa’akai Cleansing Cream daily gives me the same feelings and leaves my skin feeling cleansed, hydrated and fresh. ?The perfect morning treatment to start my day.


April Morris, Co-Founder

What inspired you to start HealthNaturally?

Plants! We are both Colorado-natives, so we have always spent a lot of times outdoors and were both really called towards plant medicine. Paul has a background in Chinese herbal medicine, while I (April) have a background in Western herbal medicine. We would help people on a daily basis through these practices, but we really wanted to create a product that could reach the masses and help hundreds of people daily.

As a champion for sustainability, how do you incorporate these values into your company and product line?

We really focus on many aspects of sustainability. In our facilities we compost all of our herbal products, as well as feed some to the neighboring chickens. Outside of our facility though, we are really focused on bees and helping the bee population, because without bees our future is not sustainable. We work with local bee farmers, as well as donate to different bee organizations in our area.

If you had to choose one favorite product from your line, what would that be and why?

Our Hemp Oil Ageless Face Serum is my absolute favorite product in our line. I use it every morning and it really brightens up my face. I love using this oil-based product on my face because it doesn’t contain any drying alcohol, like most of the face creams do, so it truly moisturizes my face. I also love all the ingredients in this face serum, from the Frankincense & Myrhh essential oils, to the Kukui and Sea Buckthorne carrier oils, ever ingredient has amazing healing properties.

Opal Avenue is the premier online wholesale marketplace here brilliant retail stores find their next honestly healthy, clean beauty & wellness brands. Log on to, free, to connect with our featured brands and browse over 30 unique product categories. Discovery made easy –

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Retail Reflections: Motivating Your Team When It Comes To Retail Selling (Part 2) – What Has The Customer Got To Do With It?

Early on in the series of articles on Retail Reflections: How Can I Motivate My Team When It Comes To Retail Selling? I defined the 6 elements that make a successful retail sales environment:

  • The Customer.
  • The Manager.
  • The Staff Member.
  • The Reception.
  • The Marketing.
  • The Merchandising.

The impact on your bottom line when it comes to retail isn?t as simple as hiring a good salesperson. It is important to understand that when it comes to selling, it is the customer journey that will make or break the sale. How often have you been somewhere and felt so good that the price tag didn?t matter? It is the same for the reverse: how often have you been somewhere where the customer journey was so disjointed and unpleasant, the money you spent in the place didn?t feel right, the value of it was wasted in an experience that left you unsatisfied. ?

I conducted so many mystery shopping experiences last year and only a handful of them got it right when it came to the customer journey. It?s important to realize that the key to success is understanding what the customer feels when shopping with you and their experience as a whole rather than the purchased item itself.

Everything that you do in your business has an impact and creates a value to the customer, from the music down to the sitting arrangement. I?ve seen this be true for any business. Not sure where to start when it comes to reassessing your current store ambiance? Visit, study and enjoy a meal at your favorite restaurants. ?It?s an experience that can easily be transferred to the retail industry.

Let me give you an example:

I wanted to treat my daughters to a lovely meal in an amazing restaurant in London for a special occasion. I knew we were going to spend a fair amount (over $300) but having been there before and loving it, I expected it to be fantastic as usual. The expectation was high. We arrived and instantly felt the atmosphere was wrong. In many ways, there was a hint of stress and unpleasantness on the staff?s behaviour. Our waitress came to us without a smile and I felt like she slammed the menus on the table. I became irritated.

Being French and of mature age, I wanted to point out what was happening, after all, this was our treat! But my daughters asked for me to go with the flow. So, I didn?t say anything. Most customers don?t. ?It was a truly unpleasant experience. And although the food was as superb as I remembered, the overall experience was tarnished by the customer journey and we never returned there again despite the impeccable quality of the food.

We ended up not ordering additional drinks besides tap water, no dessert, and left there having spent less than half of what I was ready and willing to spend. Who continued to get our business? The little Italian restaurant where, despite the food not being that incredible but decent, we are always welcomed by our names. Where we wait for a table with a glass of wine in hand. And we are spoken to with big smiles no matter how stressful or busy the day is.

I repeat it again and again when delivering retail sales trainings: money comes second. It?s the value of what the customer experiences with you as a whole that must come first.

To add value to their experience is to dissect every aspect of the customer journey:

  • Before they come to your business: how is your website, social media & brand voice represented? How easy is it to secure an appointment or find your hours of business? Are your phone conversations courteous? Do you keep key client notes for future reference in your customer database?
  • When in your business: how are they welcomed? What are their steps to go to the counter? What can they see? How consistent is the customer journey if they come back?
  • After their visits: How do you tangibly measure the customer?s satisfaction? Are you rebooking them for a follow-up consultation or sharing interesting news or upcoming events? What happens if a client doesn?t return to you? How do you entice them to return again?

The littlest touches can be the most powerful. Once shopping for my usual makeup and foundation at a shop I had never been to, I received the best customer experience from the minute I spoke to the salesperson. Feeling taken care of, of course, I spent more than expected but I felt so good! A week later, I received a handwritten note thanking me for coming in and I found samples inside the envelope that were not available for me at the time of my visit. To this day, I still go there for my make-up purchases.

At L?Occitane, our staff had to say to each customer that was coming through the doors: ?Welcome to L?Occitane, would you like a tea while you are browsing?? A winning question every time as it broke the ice and felt sincere. Defining your customer journey is to create the details of that experience.

Without understanding the details of the customer journey, we fail to deliver a memorable experience at all times. Purchasing becomes another chore to the customer. If the customer feels wonderful, she will be more likely to leave with not only the products that will benefit her but also the wonderful feeling of wanting more of the experience only you can give. A good way of defining your customer journey is to have regular mystery shops. Because you cannot monitor everything on your own, these are the best for receiving unbiased constructive criticism that can help you generate new best practices.

In my next upcoming article (Part 3), I will be talking about the critical manager mindset that makes or breaks the retail sales culture in your business. Discover what the Manager has to focus on in order to motivate their teams and deliver their targets every time while never losing sight of the customer journey.

Love retail and retail will love you back!

Valerie Delforge is the founder and CEO of Delforge Management Consulting LTD whom is dedicated to setting up spas and retail boutiques for ultimate success through expert bespoke programmes and accessible online workshops. Learn more about Delforge Management Consulting here:

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Trend Report: Botanical Bliss

In the age of #betterbeauty, brands have taken a deep dive into some of the planet’s best resources: plants. From plant-derived to whole plant extracts, the rise in botanical ingredients is creating a tsunami of products that embrace the power of plants. Brands are utilizing botanical ingredients to create products that rejuvenate and repair skin for a few reasons.

First, plant-sourced ingredients are more bio-available and recognizable by our bodies. They’re easier to access and therefore, we can reap the benefits from them easier because our bodies know how to convert them. Secondly, botanical ingredients are just what consumers want. We’re seeing an increase in knowledge and demand for cleaner ingredients, and plants can do the heavy lifting that big brands used to rely on synthetic ingredients for.

With all that in mind, let’s take a look at a few Opal Avenue brands that are ahead of their time. They’ve been using botanical ingredients from the beginning and they’re not just capitalizing on the trend. Here are seven of our featured products that lead the pack in botanical beauty bliss.

Basd Mint Body Scrub

This natural, organic, coffee-based exfoliator is rich in vitamins and natural oils to leave you feeling smooth and soft. The coffee is chock-full of antioxidants, and its caffeine can help perk up dull skin. Sweet almond oil, naturally high in vitamins E and A, rounds out the plant ingredients, while peppermint oil, with its refreshing and uplifting scent, makes it a must-have for mornings. It’s all like a mint mocha for your body.

Bushel & a Peck Baby Body Balm

Organic, plant-based ingredients of shea butter, coconut oil and red raspberry seed oil deeply moisturize in this Baby Balm intended for use on the little ones. It was designed to utilize those plants to aid in the restoration of dry skin on children and calm sore baby bottoms from diaper rash.

A light blend of essential oils coriander, geranium, palmarosa, lavender, ylang ylang, Roman chamomile and others, envelope and cradle the skin gently, invoking a sense of tranquility, calmness and positivity, all while being soothing and beneficial to skin, thanks to their plant powers.

Ellie Bianca Luxe Immortelle Serum

Especially good for well-cared for skin, this serum is a blend of the purest and most nutrient-dense plant oils to leave your skin looking balanced, refreshed and glowing. One to two drops of this luxurious serum is all needed to put your best face forward, thanks to the healing properties of ingredients like tamanu oil, seabuckthorn extract and immortelle oil, one of the most powerful plant essences.

Full Unicorn Gemstone Resurfacing Treatment

Juicy papaya and pineapple enzymes gently slough away dead skin cells, while hexagonal gemstone micro-crystals work to build collagen in this treatment meant to enhance and refine skin. Thanks to multi-fruit AHAs, fine lines and wrinkles, and an uneven complexion and skin tone can be things of the past. These natural enzymes from fruits help skin cells turnover, and can help reveal more glowing and younger-looking skin. 

Modicum Birch Tree Spritz

The entire Modium line harnesses the power of birch tree, which infuses skin cells with essential nutrients, promotes cellular regeneration and restores skin’s vitality. Birch water and hyaluronic acid provide continual hydration, pulling out each plant’s superpowers, and focusing them on skin. Aloe and rose otto are known for their regenerating and antibacterial properties too, which can leave skin with less redness and irritation, on top of intense hydration.

Nelum Botanics Herbal Salve

Earthy, vibrant and soft jade colored, this is best-selling product is loved for the amazing relief it provides against cuts, bites, dry patches and pimples. Where does the relief come from? Plants! Essential oils with proven healing and rejuvenating properties, blended with emollient plant oils and butters make this a must-carry everywhere you go. It can help to relieve pain and itching, and it can support cell repair while nourishing skin with amino acids, antioxidants and vitamins?all derived from powerful plants.

Prim Botanicals Flor Obscura

Totally tantalizing, Flor Oscura is a voluptuous blend of pure essential oils like wild rose, warm sandalwood and deep amber. Spicy, seductive and completely intoxicating, Flor Oscura always leaves a lasting impression. And it does that without the synthetic fragrances that can contain hazardous ingredients. Instead, it blends the scents of plant oils to create not only a beautiful scent to remember, but also to remind us that even our most superficial products should be working for us, not against us.