Follain has come to represent the crème de la crème of natural beauty brands for those who frequent the two brick and mortar stores in Nantucket and in Boston. Now consumers who have not been lucky enough to indulge in the Follain experience get to immerse in their curated selection, as the store opens the doors to a new web address: www.shopfollain.com.
And it couldn’t have launched on a more auspicious day. The first of July marks the one year anniversary of Follain’s store.
It’s not hard to believe that this store has come so far so fast. With a growing demand for green beauty (up more than 16 percent from 2012-2013 according to recent stats in Real Simple Magazine*), Follain finds sure-footing on fertile soil. But that’s not all. Considering its stringency for selecting brands, you will be hard-pressed to dig up a product that doesn’t live up to its promise.
“We believe that you shouldn’t have to sacrifice health for beauty. We offer a curated selection of healthy skincare, hair care, and cosmetic products from 30+ spa-grade US-made brands.”
The website will feature the same 30+ brands that are carried in both the Boston and Nantucket stores. In addition to product descriptions, each brand is profiled so customers can identify the items and brands that best suit their interests and needs. Customers can browse by skincare, hair, and cosmetics—as well as by brand and color palette.
Some of the niche labels include: Vapour, Ilia Beauty, Captain Blankenship, LURK, Farmaesthetics, Drunk Elephant (that’s a sunscreen!), Earth Tu Face, Beridan Naturals, La Bella Figura, Amber Blue, Organic Bath Co., Saipua, Herbivore Botanicals, RMS Beauty, among many others. To give you an idea of their exclusivity, only two natch shampoos make the cut. (You want to know which ones, don’t you? Results-driven lines: Josh Rosebrook and Rahua.)
I asked founder and curator, Tara Foley, a few questions about what Follain offers the online shopping scene.
What criteria do you use to curate the products you offer? What factors are most important to you?
Follain is the Gaelic word for “healthy, wholesome, and sound.” This is also the foundation of our unique three-part screening process.
Part I – Safety. We walk through every ingredient in a product to make sure it is safe. Will it contribute to our health? What are the ingredients used? How are the ingredients sourced? Are all the ingredients necessary and transparent? We use the term safe here as opposed to “natural” or “organic,” because we want everyone to understand that the cosmetic and skincare industry is unregulated in the USA, and there are no legal definitions of “natural” or “organic” for cosmetics. Safety is the foundation of Follain, and to us this means committing to the ethical principle: Do No Harm.
Part II – Performance. It’s one thing to pass the safety screen, but it’s another to “wow” us! We research the “ product buzz” and weigh up the reviews. The amount of time we spend testing the performance varies from product to product, and we are very fortunate to have a variety of skin types and color among our team to ensure that products are tested on their target group.
Part III – Company Values. Who are the people behind this brand? Is it U.S. made? Where else is this product sold? What are the company goals with this product? What kind of packaging do they use, and why?
Our highly curated product portfolio! We began with products from over 200 brands…then settled on ~30 brands worth of products to introduce to our two brick and mortar stores. Then, in these brick and mortar stores, we collected oodles of customer reviews. With these reviews and data, we’ve pivoted / reshaped our offerings to make sure they are the best ones possible.
We also provide unique, non-boilerplate brand bios on the site. Our founder Tara has spent the past 5 years getting to know our brand founders, and we have spotlighted each one with a unique brand bio.
Any plans to open more stores like, oh let’s just say, NYC or NJ (where I live)?
We definitely have plans to open more stores, but we can’t discuss where yet. We so appreciate your support and will absolutely let you know as soon as we have the next locations nailed down!
For someone new to your store, where do you suggest they begin? Any top-sellers that you’re willing to share?
Our deodorant cream performs extremely well. It’s a “gateway product” for many people looking to switch to healthier products. They believe that if the deodorant works, everything else must work too! We only carry the Soapwalla deodorant cream as of now (haven’t been able to find another that sizes up).
The scrubs and bath products all perform well too. Makes us so happy that people are spending time caring for themselves with these types of products!
How does your business set a new standard for other businesses? Does offering green products also reflect greener practices as well?
We have cloth towels in the store for customers to use at our sink and we also have a refillable soap program that promotes the use (and reuse!) of glass bottles versus plastic. We definitely think about sustainable and green practice in all that we do!
*Thanks to the wonderful Nicolle Mackinnon for sharing the Real Simple stats on Instagram.
All photos courtesy of Follain
Full disclosure: Follain approached me to publicize the start of their online shop. I agreed to do it of my own volition with no compensation from Follain in order to promote another green and ethically-run indie business.