At Zandi K Salon, everyone has a story. Stina Nelson didn't realize her passion for massage until a string of bad car accidents led her to the muscle-mending techniques for her own pain relief. Co-owner Nicki Wenz, meanwhile, worked as one of just 12 national Aveda makeup artists in the mid 2000s, traveling the country for photo shoots and trade shows. Educators, artists, world travelers, and Aveda-trained beauty professionals all gather within the earth-toned and stacked-slate walls of Zandi K to lend their life experiences to the looks of others.
They get a little help from their products, of course. The team uses all-natural, plant- and flower-based Aveda products made with sustainably harvested ingredients that are gentle on hair, skin, and Mother Nature's patience. These combine in services that run the gamut from styling and coloring to waxing and ousting acne with facials. But before clients watch their appearances transform in minimalist, steel-framed mirrors, they can sit back in the waiting room with a Session beer, Barefoot red wine, or fruit-infused water, and share their own story.
At Complete Nutrition, the staff and the store's product line work together to help clients slim down, bulk up, or improve their overall health, drawing on an arsenal of hormone balancers, nutrients, proteins, and supplements. Each store helps visitors get the most out of their metabolic processes with a staff full of personal trainers, strength coaches, and 19th-century circus strongmen who teach clients about proper nutrition, dieting goals, and effective exercise plans. Built on the principle that no miracle pill can supply instant results, Complete Nutrition stocks over 200 products that deliver dependable positive effects. They're developed in the company's own labs and include tried-and-true vitamins, detox tools, and energy formulas.
Agates, amethysts, and luminous glass beads come alive in the settings that The Colorado Bead Company’s jewelry instructors help students design— elegant yet whimsical loops of wire, antique-looking chains, earring hoops that recall delicate dreamcatchers. Classes bring out the jewelry artist in kids, adults, and even first-time crafters who get to experience the thrill of walking out clad in the necklaces they've just designed. The shop glistens with strands and packets of such exotic baubles as freshwater pearls, hypoallergenic beads, and Swarovski crystal beads, ready to be incorporated into a new project or used to make a pair of maracas sound classier. Shoppers browse in a bright, open space lined with huge windows, hardwood floors, and airy flower prints.
Located in Sears stores or at adjacent offices, Sears Optical's independent optometrists screen peepers to determine accurate prescriptions and diagnose any health problems. As doctors position a refractive device over the eyes, flipping through lenses of varying strengths, patients describe the level of clarity with which they can see the purple zebra dancing in the far corner. In addition to the prescriptive exam, doctors may use eye drops to dilate the pupil to scrutinize the retina.
The brand American Apparel, which recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary, conjures up images of stylish and well-fitting fashion basics. It also likely brings to mind sassy advertisements featuring long-haired beauties in natural makeup posing in skin-bearing bodysuits and loungewear.
But what many don't know about the brand?despite its name and the slice of apple pie that comes with every purchase?is that all of its clothes are made in America. Everything from sewing and cutting to accounting and marketing happens in one building in downtown Los Angeles, and the rest occurs within a 30-mile radius. Not only that, every slim-fitting pair of pants, spandex bodysuit, and v-neck T-shirt is made in a sweatshop-free environment.
Plus, keeping everything in house means the company eliminates unnecessary and wasteful factors, such as shipping fuel and packing materials, as well as provides jobs to Angelenos, instead of outsourcing them.
Skilled stylist Jim Speck uses high-end products by American Crew, TIGI, and Schwarzkopf when sculpting out voluminous layers or splashing color highlights on bland strands. Guests may also solicit an aesthetician for a Dermalogica facial and waxing session, or retreat to a private room for deep-tissue or hot-stone bodywork from the salon's licensed massage therapist.