With drawerfuls of beauty products—to put that gently—I rarely need to buy much, but when I do need a restock, I often head to BeauTeaBar. Now, I can’t be without my Evolvh Volumizing Spray that smells amazing and totally works, Maya Chia anything—this brand is sublime, and I was going to tick off a few more names before stopping myself from looking utterly ridiculous by adding nearly every brand this shop carries. Yes, I love them all, as my Instagram feed readily proves.
If you’re not yet familiar with BeauTeaBar, then I hope this interview with the lovely founder, Marissa Waller, (originally for A Night for Green Beauty) will give you a glimpse into this luxury boutique. If you do know the website, then you’ll understand why I’m a loyal and adoring fan.
A lil somethin’ about BeauTeaBar
Marissa and I had a chance to chat about style, her bold career move from lawyer to clean beauty entrepreneur, and stuff she’s loving.
BeauTeaBar easily appeals to our finer sensibilities—pairing a cup of freshly brewed organic tea, with, yes, lots of bright pink ribbons wrapped around some of the most glam green beauty products in the industry. Marissa blends health and wellness together with a classy touch seamlessly. There are also perks for sharing BeauTeaBar with friends that earn discounts toward purchases.
But she’s got even bigger plans in store for us, making it abundantly clear that this beauty retailer knows how to stay relevant in a rapidly expanding industry.
Brick and mortar store
Marissa’s got a brand spanking new website in the works and, if that’s not enough, she just opened a brick and mortar location as recently as May. This idyllic shop is quaintly situated on Main Street in Cold Spring Harbor, NY. If you have been seeking a one stop shop where sought-after labels like May Lindstrom, Strange Invisible Perfumes, La Bella Figura, Mun Skincare, and more share the same space, then this is your destination.
How green beauty is changing
If anything, this store confirms that green beauty no longer caters exclusively to the stereotypical “tree hugging” crowd. In fact, within the last 10 years, this once marginal industry has gained a coveted spotlight on many a discerning fashionista’s radar. Large-scale events dedicated to eco-friendly brands like ANFGB, as well as retail stores like BeauTeaBar prove that the wave is no passing trend, but rather reflects the growing public demand for clean options. Marissa has had a chance to observe the shifting attitude through her business.
“I see green beauty moving into the mainstream and being embraced by all women,” said Marissa. “We’re already seeing that with some of our beloved brands being sold in big stores like Target. Consumers are demanding access to healthier products. They are moving away from mass produced junk, and becoming really savvy with ingredients. The most exciting part is seeing how engaged young women are in this process. I am seeing young girls bring their mother’s into our shop and explain to them why aluminum in deodorant sucks, or why lead free lipsticks are imperative, not to mention quite fabulous. I am just so honored to be a part of it and excited to help in any way I can.”
Lucky for me, I got to know Marissa’s generous spirit firsthand, thanks to several green beauty events, and she is every bit as lovely in person as she appears to be. With a sudden surge of green beauty resources, I do find that having a point of connection can be pivotal in establishing customer loyalty and trust.
My connection with Marissa was firmly established after I reached out to her for an event last November, when she magically produced 50(!) AILA Cosmetics nail polishes in the latest colors. Each one was tied with her signature pink bow—of course! I’ve been #fangirling ever since, and it has been amazing getting better acquainted with her on other occasions. Trust me, when you meet this lovely lady, you’ll crush hard too.
Bold career move
What’s even cooler is that not too long ago she was a practicing attorney. You may be wondering what a lawyer is doing in the beauty biz. Don’t worry, I made sure to ask her. Marissa’s simple answer: “Chasing a dream.” But the dream didn’t materialize overnight. It took time and overcoming her own fears about letting go of a stable career. She said:
“It wasn’t one moment [that led her to starting her business]… it was definitely a collection of moments. I knew that I really wanted to start the business but I was so scared! Having spent years in law school and building a career in real estate I was terrified to throw it all away and pursue what I really loved. Eventually the fear of changing became less scary than living a life never knowing how amazing it could have been…”
If that doesn’t serve as living inspiration for anyone stuck in a dissatisfying career, I don’t know what does.
But this entrepreneur is refreshingly realistic. When I wanted to know what’s the one question she wished interviews would ask her, this lovely lady took days to mull it over and came back with this:
This is such a brilliant and fun question, and yet I am ashamed to say I am having a hard time finding an answer (I guess I’ve been asked a lot of good questions!). While not a question, I think the one thing I haven’t had the opportunity to discuss in interviews is the downside of the business. I think people see really fun glimpses of the business through social media and whatnot and it’s easy to assume that we (as retailers) have the dream job. While I love what I do, I still live the life of an entrepreneur always trying day in and day out to grow a business in a very competitive market. There are a lot of long hours (especially now that I have the store) and the ups and downs can really take their toll on you if you don’t have a good outlet for stress. Having said that, I truly wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
Beauty runs deep
In those challenging moments, it takes a strong vision and rock solid mission to forge ahead. Marissa’s got both. For her, beauty is anything but superficial. She’s equally excited about hunting down your ideal shade of lipstick (she dished on some fab tips here!), as well as about helping women on deeper levels. She said:
I think beauty can be experienced in many ways, some on the surface and some quite deeply. The purpose of my business is to help women find new or deeper ways to experience beauty, whether it is helping them find better and healthier products, or encouraging them to take time to relax over a cup of tea. It’s all beauty!
What makes Marissa even more relatable is that even though she’s clearly a beauty in her own right, she still feels like “the uncool kid trying to fit in and figuring out what to wear.” With style icons like Natalie Portman and Charlize Theron, I’d say she’s well on her way to “getting” it. Plus she’s already quite the snazzy dresser—believe me.
If she had advice to give her 16 year old self, it would be this:
“Stop abusing your poor skin! I had such terrible skin growing up (even in my 20s) and thought that the best course of action to was to try to beat it into submission with harsh acne treatments and medications. If I only knew that loving your skin and eating healthy was the key to lasting beautiful skin…”
Sing it, Sista!
BeauTeaBar’s Grand Opening
This #GirlBoss certainly knows how to curate sensational beauty brands and display them with a finesse all her own—I mean, who doesn’t dig a well-placed unicorn these days? At BeauTeaBar’s Grand Opening celebration on June 11, 2015, I loved immersing in the pristine, back-lit white walls and 200-year-old brick wonderland that perfectly showcased the eco-meets-luxe vibe. With flourishes of her personal touch everywhere and future events already in the making, this haven is well underway to becoming a local hot-spot.
But don’t ask her to choose a favorite beauty product. Marissa loves them all.
“I truly love everything that we carry in the store and feel that they all have a unique use or purpose. Our customers are really loving the Piperwai Deodorant right now (cheers to finding a non-toxic deodorant that actually works), plus the luxurious re-launch of the La Bella Figura Beauty products have been a major hit with our BeauTeas.”
So are you ready for more shelfies?
Perfumes of the Zodiac by Strange Invisible perfumes have been all the rage since launching. I couldn’t wait to sniff Virgo and was not disappointed! (FYI, the notes are neroli, rose, temple mandarin, and palo santo and The Hermes Hippie can’t get enough of it!)
Zoe Organics offers pure products for the entire family. The Refresh Oil is one of my personal faves that perks me up mid-day when my energy starts to fade fast.
When it comes to moving forward, Marissa has a clear vision:
“I would love to see more green beauty products getting their time in the spotlight, and I definitely think that’s coming! We know how fabulous and effective these products are and it’s time that mainstream media sees it too.”
I fully agree! What have you tried from this gorgeous shop? Let me know in the comments!