Subscription boxes first emerged on the scene a decade ago, offering increasingly picky consumers a “taster” of merchandise such as beauty products, healthy snacks and even foods from around the world. A few of these boxes survived a full decade, but those that did were usually equipped with a premise or a purpose beyond the little-bit-of-everything gimmick. Beauty Heroes, the Novato-based box by longtime beauty and wellness expert Jeannine Jarnot, is one of the idealistic few—leaning hard into the clean-beauty niche, Heroes has offered boxes of non-toxic products with ethically-sourced, quality ingredients since 2014, in addition to hosting an expansive online store.
But, in keeping with the emerging trend of the return of experiential, hands-on retail spaces, this past November Beauty Heroes opened a new brick-and-mortar location in downtown Novato.
“When you are trying to find a product that is going to work for you in a space that has so many options, experience and education are critical in the process,” Jarnot says.
Designed in the best traditions of modern, women-facing spaces like the coworking space the Wing, the store is bright, welcoming and chic, mixing just the right amount of pink tones with natural wood and leather. The look and feel—more urban salon, less your neighborhood drugstore—is indicative of the store’s intention to offer events, workshops and treatments.
“We have a very full event schedule planned for our Beauty Heroes Novato store in 2020,” Jarnot says. “Our in-store events are a combination of wellness content and beauty education, featuring beauty founders and wellness leaders. We want our store to be experienced as a resource for those seeking to live a healthier lifestyle, whether it be the transition to clean products, making more conscious decisions to live lighter on the planet or just having fun with products they can trust.”
The store stocks its shelves with Sonoma’s own cult facial-serum Vintner’s Daughter, alongside other Northern California brands such as Laurel Skin, Bathing Culture, Innersense Organic Beauty, Free + True, Aether Beauty Le Prunier and Honua Skincare. Customers can book custom facials, and sip teas and tonics. Jarnot hopes to expand the educational component of Beauty Heroes through the new, physical store. After all, the concept of clean beauty, similarly to the slow fashion movement, is a fertile ground for misconceptions and confusion.
“I see a lot of contradictions in the beauty industry,” Jarnot says. “I have seen a trend towards cleaner beauty, which is encouraging, but with that, I have also seen an unprecedented level of misleading marketing and greenwashing. Consumers have begun to care more about sustainability and excessive packaging, but there is also the sweeping success of trendy and not-at-all sustainable celebrity-backed brands. The bottom line is that there are more options than ever before, making the space even more confusing for the customer.”
How does Janot avoid misleading and confusing her clientele?
“First and foremost, all products that we curate for Beauty Heroes meet very stringent ingredient standards,” she says. “We hold the most stringent vetting standard in beauty and look at the ingredients for their potential harm to the human body and the environment. We don’t support products that contain any synthetic or ‘natural’ fragrances, silicones, Microplastics, ethoxylated ingredients, and the list goes on.”
Trust is a key concept, given the amount of information advertisers bombard shoppers with on a daily basis, on and off social media.
“My goal was to create a company consumers could trust to tell them the truth and do the heavy lifting when it comes to ingredients,” Jarnot says.
Beyond that, the store takes into consideration another must-have beauty industry component—a good story. Jarnot calls the process “inspired curation.”
“It sounds like a buzzy term, but it’s really not,” she says. “I founded the company to tell stories about brands that were creating products that are exceptionally clean. In an industry where there is a lot of redundancy, I curate what inspires me—and products that bring value to our lives.”