by Samantha Suarez | photography by David Specht
619 Wealthy St, Suite A, Grand Rapids MI 49503
If the words simple, modern, and organic speak to you, then Fox Naturals is the perfect beauty and skincare store for your sensibilities. Owned by Patrick Stoffel, who creates all the products, and his husband Lucas Klein, who is behind that bad-ass branding and packaging, Fox Naturals aims to bridge the gap between what you can find clinically and what you can find naturally. It’s clinical strength skin care that’s still natural and organic. “We have different washes, toners, and lotions for all the different skin types, whether you have more acne-prone skin, sensitive skin, combination, or maturing,” said Klein. “We also have some jewelry, home pieces, and art from local artists, but our bread and butter is our skincare.”
Stoffel was exposed to the practice of soap making at a young age through his grandmother and officially made his first bar of soap from scratch in 2012. “Everything you see is a result of that first bar of soap!” Klein told us. “We hope to help people take that first step into the natural skincare world by giving them one or two products they can incorporate into their regimen, especially if they find that those big box retailer products aren’t doing the trick for them.”
Entering Fox Naturals is like entering eclectic heaven. I often use their Foxglove lotion, which smells like warm and aromatic amber. Not only does my skin feel silky smooth afterwards, but I also get tons of compliments and inquiries about what perfume I’m wearing. I also keep their Moonstone roll-on perfume oil in my bag at all times because it makes me smell like a dreamy elf princess. I can honestly say that, with these products, I’ve never smelled this good in my entire life. “I wasn’t always into skincare until Patrick exposed me to it, but I was always big on diet,” Klein explained. “Now I believe that if you’re a health nut, you should be taking care of your skin too. Why care about what you put inside your body if you don’t care about what you’re putting on its surface too?”
THE MASON JAR
5167 Northland Dr. Grand Rapids, MI 49525
The Mason Jar is truly a unique concept of a store with loads of charm and something for everyone. Upon entering, you are immediately greeted with the delicious smells of baked goods and candles, accompanied by the stunning sight of colorful furniture and too many trinkets to count. It’s as though you just walked into your quirky aunt’s living room after she baked an apple pie.
What does the Mason Jar do in a nutshell? First off, they personalize. If there are song lyrics or a quote from a novel that speaks to you, you can have a custom sign made for yourself or as a thoughtful gift for a loved one. Secondly, they sell repurposed and refurbished furniture, each of which is unique. You won’t find any poorly constructed Ikea-looking pieces in here! Alternatively, you can bring your furniture into the store for them to repaint or for you to paint in one of their classes. It’s the perfect way to breathe new life into an old living room or bedroom item! Lastly, there are many gift baskets, decor, and other trinkets that give the Mason Jar its character, whether it’s candles, sweets, pillows, lotions, blankets, or other accessories. “Our inventory changes weekly, if not daily and that is something we find refreshing. We like to change things up for our customers,” said Christy Shimaitis, who co-owns the store with Teresa Kloack and Jenny Carmichael. “We want all of our guests to truly experience the Mason Jar either by smell, taste or just by walking away with a spark in their creative side!”
While I didn’t get a chance to repaint any antique furniture, I did end up purchasing a pineapple vanilla sugar scented candle, a kitchen towel with an artsy image of a beer growler on it, and citron and honey scented lotion for just over twenty dollars. I lit the candle in my apartment and ended up with a living room that smelled of freshly baked cookies. I must say, that is one ridiculously good-smelling candle.
2444 44th St. SW, Wyoming, Michigan
Sweet Nectar is many things at once: a spa, a boutique shop, makeup and skincare store, and a beauty service for bridal parties. One thing that remains constant is that it’s a place for the modern woman (or man!) to look and feel like their best. “Our name comes from the idea that a caterpillar needs to be nourished to transform into a butterfly – just like we do as humans,” said Ashley Petroskey, who owns Sweet Nectar. “We keep our prices affordable so that the modern woman can look her best without breaking the bank.”
If you need to pamper yourself or replenish from everyday life, you can treat yourself to one of their spa facials, which are tailor-made for your skin type. If you’re in the market for healthy makeup that is hypoallergenic, paraben free, and not tested on animals, you could pop by and end up with some great new products in your purse. If you need to refresh your wardrobe, Sweet Nectar provides trendy fashion that is updated monthly in store, with the previous month’s items made available in their online shop. On an exceptionally special day, you could come by and do all three things in one visit! “Our hope is that someone comes in for skin service, and after she’s finished being pampered, she finds that perfect lipstick shade to match a new top. Those little treats can give her the confidence to blossom,” said Petroskey. “For us, it’s all about nourishment, and it all starts with the skin.”
We came by after a long day of work and did the 30 for 30 student facial. Blythe’s services were outstanding, and the atmosphere was quiet and relaxing. All those elements made for a very peaceful and nourishing experience. We highly recommend indulging yourself in a little self-care too, the next time you get a chance. If you’re a bride-to-be, you get 50% off all skincare and waxing services one year prior to your wedding day! We can’t think of a better way to look and feel like your best before your big day while washing away all that wedding planning stress.