While living in Kenya, Leslie Mittelberg was amazed at the skills displayed by artisans and the vast variety of items that were sold in the community marketplace. After returning to the United States, she often longed for a way to access those rich textiles and beautiful sculptures, but found that very few African products made their way to the US. Guided by her passion, she began contacting sellers along the East African coast and encouraging them to export their wares. Today, she employs fair-trade policies to stock stores throughout the country, supporting artisans living in Kenya, Tanzania, the Sudan, Uganda, South Africa, Mozambique, Mali, Senegal, and Ethiopia.
The High Brow?s aesthetician tucks 10 years of experience into her hands as she tackles pesky acne, oil, and fine lines on the face. She uses warm wax to quickly remove unwanted hair on the body, and shapes overgrown eyebrows into perfect arches. The studio?s floral-print chairs and cantaloupe-hued walls evoke a cheery atmosphere.
Hairstylist Diane Schmidt runs the gamut of salon services armed with a phalanx of Redken products. She works alongside Emily Morgan and Heidi McCahan-Mattheisen—the owners of Mia Bella Salon—and specializes in fine and curly hair for low-maintenance customized styles. They also keep waiting clients refreshed with glasses of wine and tea, or clicking the refresh icon on everyone's forehead.
Exposed brick walls pair with wispy sheer curtains to bring a rustic elegance to Level 3 Salon and Spa. Classic haircuts, highlights, and mani-pedis join more modern treatments such as infrared-sauna sessions and permanent makeup for a complete slate of services. Elegant chandeliers illuminate private treatment rooms, where patrons relax during massages, facials, and waxing for the face and pancreas.
Plato's Closet carries a wide assortment of gently used men's and women's clothing and accessories, ranging from affordable high-end retail brands to finer designer items. Surrounded by discounts of as much as 70% off retail price, uninhibited shoppers can construct a complete outfit or six without having to empty their wallets to pan for river diamonds. All of the merchandise that Plato's Closet stocks—including shoes, skirts, tanks, clutches, and more—is held to a strict quality standard and generally dates from the past 12 to 18 months. The racks of goods (individual items are often priced at less than $10) rotate constantly, and the front door goes ajar seven days a week, leaving a wide timeframe for store-crossed shoppers and garments to unite under seasonal practicality or astrologically illogical harmony.