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.
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.
Lavender walls surround Vanity Junkie's easygoing stylists as they transform patrons from head to toe with salon and spa services. Experienced hands carefully snip new hairstyles and infuse heads with color using products from brands including Redken, evo, label.m, and Pureology. Frizzy heads can be smoothed out, whereas perms convert flat tresses into well-orchestrated curls. Staffers also rejuvenate countenances with facials and microdermabrasion treatments, and extract or add hair to body areas with waxing and hair extensions, respectively. As stylists work, Vanity Junkie's street-facing garage door floods the main space with natural light that gleams off mirrored tables and a dangling chandelier. Before and after sessions, customers lounge at an in-salon bar enjoying coffee, beer, wine, and the comical screams of shorn locks as they fall to the ground.
Unless you’re a connoisseur, you might not recognize some of the brands at Visage Eyewear. The staff there searches far and wide for quirky labels, curating a unique spread of frames in their combination optometry and art-gallery space. The names of designers such as Bevel, Theo, Chrome Hearts, and ic!berlin adorn modish round spectacles, futuristic tinted shades, and tortoiseshell glasses with an air of wisdom. Beneath the energetic paint swirls of local artists, the in-house optometrist, Dr. Mila Ioussifova, can help clients find their prescription. The staff then waits to show them exciting frames that veer from the standard selection of dull plastic and tied-together telescopes.
QFC supplies kitchens and cabinets with a scrumptious array of fresh meat, organic produce, and homemade baked goods. Reward teeth for not biting into wax fruit by sinking pearls into artisanal Discover Delicious cupcakes, freshly baked in a variety of flavors. The salty-sweet fusion found in maple-bacon cupcakes provides a tasty way to satisfy USDA bacon requirements, and the peanut-butter-and-jelly cupcake brings together a delectable duo as classic as spaghetti and meatballs or onions and tears. Meanwhile, traditional tastes such as German chocolate, red velvet, and Boston cream keep decadence familiar, and all flavors can capably carry themselves during a birthday, dinner gathering, or midnight rendezvous.
Beau Bain, which means "beautiful bath" in French, is an elegant bubble and body-oil oasis boasting an eclectic array of high-quality artisan products. Its comprehensive collection showcases bath bombs, bath and body oils, body crèmes, body scrubs, and bath salts. The best-selling bath bombs, despite their bellicose name, are a peaceful breed that release natural oils into halcyon bath waters for the gentle pampering of thirsty skin cells. All products are made with fresh, natural ingredients––sans preservatives and paraben––and hail from a variety of family-owned artisan producers in locales such as France, Italy, Spain, and Turkey, as well as hometown hydration heroes of Seattle and Portland. As part of its core tenants, Beau Bain is committed to preserving the environment and offers eco-friendly packaging while never producing wasteful catalogues, shopping bags, or anti-climatic jokes. In addition, products are produced without animal testing or pop quizzing.