In the words of the late Dr. Daniel Messinger, whose daughter and granddaughter now helm Philadelphia Eyeglass Labs, “We’ve been doing this for 100 years—we must be doing something right.” Overseen by the fourth and fifth generation of family that founded the company in 1888, the sense of history carries over into its opticians’ daily practice—they’ve been seeing many of their clients for decades, and bestow fast emergency services upon them whenever a client damages a lens or tries to stretch their frames to fit a family portrait inside. The personalized attention heaped upon each customer shines through in the services provided, which include technicians that grind and surface all lenses on-site in the flagship location’s lab, often fitting them into frames for next-day pick-up.
To call The Body Shop a mere skin and body care store is to miss half of what makes it special. Late founder Dame Anita Roddick was a pioneer for ethical business practices; upon opening her first store in Brighton, England, in 1976, she developed company values such as "Defend Human Rights" and "Protect The Planet." She somehow balanced principles and profit, partnering in global campaigns with UNICEF, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, and the United Nations, all while ultimately expanding her brand into 2,500 locations in over 60 international markets. After her death in 2007, then-British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said, ?She campaigned for green issues for many years before it became fashionable to do so and inspired millions to the cause by bringing sustainable products to a mass market. . . . She was an inspiration.?
Indeed, the Body Shop exhibits an eco-friendliness and social consciousness that's hard to come by in a company of its size. Its products have been fair-trade since 1987, and its Against Animal Testing movement led to an EU-wide ban of animal testing of cosmetics. The products are made from ingredients harvested from around the world: shea butter from Ghana goes into body scrubs and butters, and Indian artisans craft wooden massagers and tote bags that are screenprinted by hand. But all that isn't to say the company's production practices overshadow its final products. Skincare treatments such as the brand?s iconic body butters, facial products, and gift collections often appear in Allure, Marie Claire, Lucky, Seventeen and other national publications.
French native Valerie Vittu created Margot & Camille Optique to pair clients with the European frame styles popular in her home country. Drawing from her experience working for designer Alain Mikli on Madison Avenue, Valerie selects unique, nonbranded eyewear that sets trends rather than follows them. Past designs have included efforts from Alain Mikli, Lafont, and Tom Davies's made-to-order Couture Horn collection of natural horn-rimmed frames. A hands-on presence in her shop, Valerie helps clients pick frames that fit their faces and styles, and she happily offers extended hours by appointment to accommodate clients who spend every daylight hour holding mirrors to the sky to see how the sun likes glare in its eyes.
Whether you're looking to recreate John Travolta's style by dressing up in a white disco suit and making ill-advised career decisions for a decade or just looking for an appropriate dress for Hurricane drinking, Sazz Vintage Clothing has the era covered. Each piece of clothing is individually priced, but shoppers will find most bell-bottoms for around $25–$60, dresses from the 50s and 60s for around $30–$55, and women's tops from the neon 80s from $14–$16. Sazz also has selections of men's Western shirts (usually $16–$35), cowboy boots (around $45–$68), and vintage leather jackets that still smell like causeless rebellion (around $40–$65). Browse Sazz's website to get a sense of the threads you'll find on the boutique's racks.
Growing up in Nigeria, Victoria Onwuchekwa became familiar with the treatment of human-health issues at a young age. That's because pharmacology was her family's legacy—her mother was one of the first female pharmacists in the nation. Advised by her mother to “do something to benefit your people,” Onwuchekwa earned degrees in physiology and pharmacology. Then, she earned a master's of science degree in industrial pharmacy and cosmetic science and began designing bath and body products for a company she named Chic Afrique Herbals.
In her West Philadelphia laboratory, Onwuchekwa fuses modern cosmetic technology with traditional African ingredients such as shea butter and sweet-almond oil to produce natural products that moisturize and protect the skin and hair. Among her creations are jojoba-rich Odara moringa conditioning hair food, enriched black soap that deep cleans with a luxurious lather, and Oyin honey butter, a natural emollient. Dermatologist-approved and never tested on animals, the company's products are made in small batches and packaged by hand.
Foodies may know the internationally acclaimed Christina Pirello from her many cookbooks or from her cable TV shows, but Philadelphians can learn from this bubbly, healthy living expert live and in person. With Christina Cooks, Pirello furthers her mission to help people look and feel their best by cooking and eating natural, organic food. During single-session demo classes like "Honoring World Traditions", participants observe as Pirello cooks and provides tips and tricks for healthy eating. Hands-on workshops like "Breads and Tapenades" and "Pastry and Gelato" enable students to make their own dishes under Pirello's expert guidance. Three-day intensive study courses and seven-month comprehensive study programs give aspiring cooks an immersive experience that transforms their eating and cooking habits. While Christina Cooks is based in South Philadelphia, most classes are held at The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College in West Philadelphia.