At The Botanical Store, customers can blend their own plant-based skincare and specialty tea. It is run by Kim Stark, owner of Wheatbags Love, and Hannah Dupree, of specialty tea company Storm in a Teacup. They met a few years ago in Stark’s studio (where Dupree was a tenant), which is located down the street in the same Westgarth shopping strip where The Botanical Store is now.
“We decided to merge our two areas of expertise into one business concept that cares for both inner and outer wellbeing,” says Stark.
The pink-floored space is bright, light and open. At the front of the shop there are four birch plywood skincare stations: two dedicated to the body, one to the face, and another, labelled “magic”, for essential oils.
Guided by Stark, customers can create their own skincare products. First, select a vessel and then fill it with nutrient-rich face oils, creams, detoxifying clay masks, bath salts or sugar scrubs. Finish by choosing your preferred blend of scents from the selection of pure essential oils. Then label it yourself with a sticker.
“All the ingredients are natural and work well together, so a lot of it comes down to personal preference and intuition,” says Stark. “It’s also a great learning experience; over time you can hone your skills and adapt your product as you wish.
“What people are really loving is how flexible we are with what we can offer,” says Stark. “We’ve already had customers ask us to help them make beard oils and natural deodorants.”
Each product comes with information explaining its health benefits, and a breakdown of ingredients and where they’re from.
“These days people really appreciate the transparency of product information and being fully informed about what they’re putting on their skin – especially this local area in Northcote where we’re located, opposite Terra Madre,” says Stark.
In an elevated section at the back of the store Dupree runs a tearoom. Here you can taste, see, smell and create a range of specialty teas sourced from Dupree’s favourite tea destinations, including China, Taiwan and Japan.
The matcha-laced, sencha green Ancient Moonlight tea is already popular.
“After I closed my tea bar on Smith Street, I went back to selling wholesale and online,” says Dupree. “It’s been such a joy to get back into the public space again and educate people about tea in a hands-on and intimate setting.”
The Botanical Store will host regular tea ceremonies for up to eight people and skincare workshops for larger groups of 12 to 18 people. Classes will include teaching the art of blending essential oils and learning about the basic principles of tea brewing.
“There’s a huge breadth of knowledge and range of teas that I can share with people,” says Dupree. “I can get super geeky about it – it just depends where peoples’ level of interest lies.”
The shop also stocks a small selection of fresh bouquets, kokedama plants, and handmade teaware and ceramics.
“I just love nature and I think skincare is a really accessible way to familiarise people with plant-based products and deliver good wellbeing into people’s lives,” says Stark.
If you’re feeling daunted by all the options, there’s no need to worry, says Dupree.
“It’s not hard to follow your heart and let yourself be attracted to the things you like.”
The Botanical Store
70 High Street, Northcote
(03) 9095 6415
Tue to Sun 10am–6pm
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