There’s a new apothecary in the Elmwood Village that is mind blowing. Co-founder of HONEST apothic, Sean Ralston, currently hand crafts 72 proprietary skin, body, and hair products, and he’s selling them at his new shop at 262 Bryant Street, a couple of doors in from Elmwood.
Not knowing a lot about apothecaries and the products, I was blown away by Ralston’s business. When I asked him how he got into it, he said that he was once in the food industry, and then entered the corporate world. But he missed the hands-on creative process and began to make beard oil. From there, he began to make more and more products at his studio in Orchard Park. Ralston explained that while he thrived on the customer feedback from his all natural healing products, the business was also therapeutic for him. You see, Ralston always considered himself socially awkward. By creating the soaps, body lotions, skin creams, etc., he could interact with people because he was so passionate about what he was doing. “I could spend 16 hours creating products, and never notice the time going by,” he said. “Normally I have a hard time focusing for even short periods of time. So I’m doing it for my customers, but I’m also doing it for myself. My motto is Crafted from the heart, not from the lab.”
While talking to Ralston, I told him that I use a certain type of shampoo that helps to alleviate dry scalp. He told me that my shampoo takes all of the natural oils out of my hair, and while it might alleviate the dry-feeling, it’s part of the problem. It’s a vicious cycle, he told me. That’s when he handed me a jar of Spruce Up Soap Co.’s Rise and Shine Shampoo, made with smashed up avocado. He told me that I would only have to shampoo my hair twice a week, and all of my scalp’s natural oils would most likely be restored, leaving my scalp feeling better than ever. Not to mention ditching the chemicals, that will no longer be part of my daily shower routine. My off-the-shelf bottle of shampoo warns me not to ingest, keep away from children, and avoid getting in eyes. Hmmm… why did I never think of ditching that bottle sooner?
HONEST apothic’s principles are to be cruelty free, stay socially conscious, use clean ingredients, do right and, of course, always have fun.
All of Ralston’s products are meant to do the same thing as the Rise and Shine shampoo. Instead of damaging skin with chemicals over the longterm, these products are meant to protect and restore the body’s natural elements.
At the shop, he sells two distinct brands – BAR Apothic, which reduces plastic waste, and is a highly concentrated beauty bar that lasts a long, long time. Then there’s the Spruce Up brand, which is the original more traditional apothecary product line of shave cream, face care soap, bath bombs, and body cream. All of the products are beautifully arranged, and Ralston is a master at listening to a customer’s issues and prescribing a remedy. There’s a shampoo for just about every hair – oily, dry, etc. I kind of consider Ralston the bartender of the apothecary world.
Down the road, Ralston would like to offer curating loose leaf teas and DIY lotions and scrubs workshops. At that point, HONEST apothic would be a place where people can study the hands-on processes behind the making of apothecary products. It would be an apothecary like nothing else in the region – a place where people could learn how to heal the outside of their bodies, by immersing themselves into the process. By learning the process, people would get a better handle on themselves, and what it takes to make a body healthy and happy.