#CURLFEST NEW DATE ANNOUNCEMENT: Sat. August 29. 1-6 PM @ Prospect Park in Brooklyn!

After being postponed back in June due to inclement weather, #CURLFEST is back with a new date! On Saturday, August 29th, bring out all of your girls with curls to Prospect Park to bask in an afternoon of fun with the curly hair community. Expect tunes, dancing, curl demonstrations, and eats from some of your favorite food trucks.

Previous RSVP holders will be able to register on August 10th, and new attendees will be able to register on August 11th. The event is totally FREE! For more details and FAQs, head over to the Curly Girl Collective blog.

My Super Awesome Hair Makeover at ARROJO Williamsburg w/ My Contest Winner, Jordanna!

BEFORE THE CUT & COLOR

On a rather normal day in mid-May, I was checking my e-mail and came across a rather exciting message in my iCloud account. I was perplexed as to how I was even receiving mail there, as I rarely use the account. I opened the message and see it is from Andrew Arrojo from ARROJO salon. I read the words “free cut & color, for you and a friend, in Williamsburg” and I almost dropped my phone. I had worked with the salon a few times in the past, and I was ecstatic for this opportunity as I was able to reenergize the relationship, transform my hair as it was in pretty bad shape, bring a friend, and not have to leave Brooklyn.

I was invited for the service in the afternoon of their new Williamsburg salon’s grand opening festivities, and given the chance to stay and network at the party in the evening. I brought Jordanna of The Fashionette with me, as she won my contest for a hair makeover.

JORDANNA PRE-CUT

We both came in with dark brown, rather limp tresses. Jordanna had been transitioning to natural hair for a few months, but wanted to go for a short pixie cut for summer, in a blue-black tone. I hadn’t cut my hair in about six months and wanted to do something fresh and new. I decided on warm caramel highlights and fresh layers that added movement, but kept the majority of my length.

FUNNY FACE WHILE LETTING MY CARAMEL HIGHLIGHTS SET IN

This selfie was obligatory as it really looked like my hair was plastic at this point. My colorist Lucy informed me that the plastic wrap helps process the color. My strands were bleached first then toned down to a warm caramel color.

JORDANNA GETTING HER BLUE/BLACK COLOR

Jordanna wanted to give her tresses more edge with this blue-black dye. As some of her strands were a little lighter from previous color, her process was a bit longer, but created an awesome result.

SIDE VIEW OF MY FINAL LOOK

I showed my stylist John an image that I found in a Google search of the type of cut I wanted. The layers were a bit whimsical with great length, just a little past my shoulder. I think he really nailed it as he great technique cutting my curly hair. I’ve had unfortunate cuts in the past where the curls don’t blend and are very boxy. I’m super happy with the cut, and the blowout he gave me.

EXCITEMENT WITH JORDANNA! LOVE HER EDGY PIXIE CUT

Look at how different we look! Isn’t Jordanna’s pixie awesome? Her stylist and colorist did an awesome job, and were really thoughtful and patient with her kinkier curls. I really want to stress the fact that ARROJO stylists are trained incredibly well. They can handle all hair types, from my thicker, wavy strands, to Jordanna’s finer, kinkier strands. I think we both got the look we wanted, and more.

FRONT VIEW OF MY FINAL LOOK

Here is my “sexy/quirky” selfie of my final look. Yes, I felt like a Victoria’s Secret model. That’s how I always want to feel after having my hair styled.

POSTED WITH MY COLORIST, LUCY

After the cut & style, there was the party! Here I am with my super awesome colorist Lucy. We hung out at the grand opening party with prosecco in hand. I was able to meet a bunch of great ARROJO stylists and team members, whilst jamming to the tunes of DJ Spinva (who also happens to be a colorist at the SoHo salon).

ARROJO Williamsburg offered me such a lovely experience, from the service and stylists to the overall vibe of the space. I will definitely be back. In the meantime, you should check them out for your next cut or color. Tell them Andrea sent you! :)

ARROJO Williamsburg

11 Broadway

Brooklyn, NY 11249

718.215.6625

 

*Photos by Andrea K. Castillo for A Life In The Day of Andrea

POSTPONED: Curly Girl Collective Presents Curl Fest 2015, “The Ultimate Natural Beauty Festival” 6/28/15 @ Prospect Park

Girls with the curls, listen up! The beautifully coiled women behind Curly Girl Collective are back with the second annual Curl Fest, dubbed “the ultimate natural beauty festival”. It is an opportunity for the curly girls (and those that love them) to flourish Brooklyn-style in an awesome picnic setting in Prospect Park. In addition to the picnic there will be a live DJ & dance party, food trucks, curly hair styling stations, beauty chats, and marketplace.

Sponsors this year include Carol’s Daughter, Kinky Curly, Hype Hair, and more. Be sure to follow @curlygirlcollective on social media and tag #Curlfest before and during the fest to win very special prizes! Entry is FREE and you can RSVP here. See you in the park!

 CURL FEST 2015

Sunday, June 28th

1-6 PM

Prospect Park Nethermead, Prospect Park

Brooklyn, NY 11225

*UPDATE 6/25/15*

CurlFest has been postponed due to weather concerns. Will keep you updated regarding the new date!

*Photo courtesy of Curly Girl Collective

Exclusive Interview: ARROJO Studio Owner Nick Arrojo Talks Hair Education, Styling Products, & Opening A New Salon In Brooklyn!

NICK ARROJO WORKING HIS MAGIC ON A CLIENT

You have been a hairstylist for over thirty years and salon owner for over ten. What initially sparked your passion in haircare and styling?

Growing up just outside Manchester, England, I was constantly re-creating my image. Inspired by music and fashion, I spent every day of my teenage years reading the key fashion magazines of the time (of which there were very few) and getting into all the new trends. Changing the way I looked was a huge part of my development. I thought a hair salon would be a great environment to work, with music playing all day, meeting lots of new and interesting people, and having the chance to be creatively involved in the fashion industry. I loved my new job. The high energy, a hip young team of staff, music playing all day, friendly clients, and parties every weekend. I realized that I wanted this to be my career. By luck or by fate, I landed a job at the best salon in the country, Vidal Sassoon, and I haven’t looked back.

As part of your business model, you operate Arrojo Cosmetology School in your SoHo flagship on Varick St. How important is education to the ARROJO philosophy?

It’s fundamental to everything we do. Education is the foundation of a lasting, prosperous, creative and rewarding hairdressing career. It raises standards of craftsmanship and professionalism throughout our industry. I believe education is the backbone of strong technique, of creative expression, of confidence with clients, of feeling motivated and inspired, of success in any field of hairdressing.

STYLING CHAIRS AT ARROJO WILLIAMSBURG

This past month you opened your first outpost in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood. Tell us more about the space and what clients can expect.

Williamsburg is an incredible, almost unbelievable space and location for us. Manhattan has always been the place for the Mega Salon, whereas Brooklyn has a more bohemian feel. But it has grown and grown, and become a capital of fashion and trend in its own right. We feel our culture, standards, and aesthetics are perfect for the people and the lifestyle here. Located at 11 Broadway, it’s an iconic spot by Williamsburg Bridge with views to the East River and Manhattan’s skyline. A 3300 square foot site with 15-feet high windows and a 25 foot high ceiling, the custom architectural design is influenced by industrial elegance and modern minimalism; a suspended wall of light, flowing lines and aesthetic functionality make for a strikingly beautiful space.  To ensure continuity of our world-class service standards, the first stylists to work out of Williamsburg come with years of experience at our Varick Street Flagship. 6 girls, 1 guy, and a weekly visit from myself (to take clients), it’s an amazing team of stylists and people, committed to giving the people of Brooklyn Great Hair and Good Vibes.

You have a full line of styling products that you sell in your salons, ambassador salons, and online. What are some of your personal favorites to use on clients?

For guys, I love texture paste –– a flexible, medium-hold product that’s perfect for short and messy styling. It creates texture and separation with a smooth matte finish, which is great for modern men’s styles. I use it on girls with short hair too, especially for that just-rolled-out-of-bed look.

For a great cleanse and condition I recommend our Shine Luxe Shampoo and Conditioner. Sulfate and paraben free, it’s a luxurious combination designed to generously restore hair’s natural luster and luminescence. Filled with opulent oils like macadamia and cocoa butter that quench dryness, add vitality, they are feel good products giving an upscale experience.

PRODUCT WALL INSIDE ARROJO WILLIAMSBURG

For styling women and girls, I have three hero products.

Wave Mist is one of our newest products and already a client favorite. It uses sea salt and sea kelp to create playful body and texture and the loose, wavy and beachy styles that are perfect for summer.

ReFresh Dry Conditioner is another new favorite. Everyone loves dry shampoo and now we have its perfect complement: dry conditioning. ReFresh is a weightless spray for impossibly soft and silky hair, instantly, anytime, anywhere, and especially for second or even third day hair. On clean hair we’ve also found it adds bombshell to blow-outs. Just blow-out your hair as you like it and mist ReFresh into mid-lengths and ends and see how the shine and the silk makes for irresistibly touchable locks.

And then there is our original hero: ReFINISH dry shampoo. Recently recognized in Real Simple’s 15th anniversary issue as one of the best ever beauty products, we believe it’s there best dry shampoo on the market. It gives tons of instant texture and volume, and never leaves any white powder residue. We call it “gorgeous on the go, miracle style rescue.”

Contest: Want A Hair Pick-Me-Up? Win a Cut & Color At ARROJO Williamsburg w/ Andrea K. Castillo On Thu. 5/28!

Hey girl hey! Spring is here, and you’ve been pleading to yourself that you are due for a hairstyle change, but haven’t gotten to it yet? Whether it be a busy schedule, not finding the right stylist, or just being strapped for cash, we believe that YOU deserve that new hairstyle that you’ve wanted. Here’s the deal.

We have teamed up with one of our favorite salon brands in NYC, ARROJO, for a super special experience at their newly opened location in Williamsburg in our hometown of Brooklyn. We are giving ONE lucky winner a cut & color for FREE (or either/or, depending on your preference) on the afternoon of Thursday, May 28th. If this isn’t enough for you, you will be getting your hair did in my company, as I will be refreshing my ‘do as well at the same time! You will get the V.I.P. treatment before the crowd comes in for the salon’s grand opening event that evening, that you a free to stick around for, of course. Sounds pretty BOSS, right? So here’s how you enter.

TO ENTER:

  • Leave a quick comment below to say why you believe you should be chosen for the hair makeover, or tag a friend that you believe deserves it.
  • Follow @alifeinthedayof on Twitter and tweet us “I deserve an #ARROJOBK makeover because…” OR Follow @alifeinthedayof on Instagram and comment on this photo with #ARROJOBK.
  • “Like” us on Facebook, and tell your friends!

 GUIDELINES:

  • Must be a resident of the New York City area, aged 21 or over.
  • Must follow the site and related social media. No exceptions.
  • If chosen, must be present for cut/color on Thursday, May 28th at 3 PM at ARROJO Williamsburg.
  • Upon being awarded the prize, you must specify if you want a cut, color, or both.

The lucky winner will be announced on Friday, May 22nd at 12 PM EST. Good luck to you!

 

*Photo courtesy of ARROJO

Nailed It: Carefree Lavender Vibes in “Charming” by Kryolan

If you have been keeping up with my Nailed It nail color swatching series, you would have come to the conclusion that I have a penchant for bold colors. I try pastels every now and then, but tend to be drawn to blue, green, and pink hues. I’ve never tried a lavender hued nail polish (in my life I think), so when I received this perfectly pastel lavender from Kryolan, I was almost reluctant to try it out.

I looked at the bottle and turned it over to see the color name which read Charming; they already won me over. The color is a neutral, creamy light lavender shade, pretty balanced in blue and pink undertones.

My lovely cousin Ashley was the woman behind my manicure. We achieved this color with a base, two coats of color, and a top coat, which you can see is very true to the color seen in the bottle. I really digged the final look because it complemented my complexion well, which I did not expect. This color pairs well with mint green, peach, white, black, and shades of tan.

Charming is available for purchase on Kryolan’s e-commerce site and retails for $9.95. Get into it!

 

*Photos by Andrea K. Castillo for A Life In The Day of Andrea

Nailed It: Show Your Best Green For Mental Health Awareness Month With “Tilda” by ZOYA + Help Me Raise Funds for NAMI Walks NYC!

ZOYA “Tilda”

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Having friends and family members that suffer from mental illness, and having dealt with anxiety and depression on my own, mental health awareness is an initiative that is very close to my heart. To show my support for the cause, I decided to paint my nails this lush shade of leafy green in “Tilda” by ZOYA as green is the color of mental health awareness, as pink is the color of breast cancer awareness.

Tilda close-up

The nail polish itself is a creme that is somewhere between a lime green and a fresh leaf or grass green. To achieve the look in the photos, we used a base coat, two coats of polish, and a top coat. The polish’s formula is a bit thicker than others, so application may look a little messy. Not to fret, the formula dries smoothly. My lovely cousin/newly-crowned manicurist Ashley painted my nails and encouraged the green as we will be walking a 5K with NAMIWalks NYC this coming weekend to raise vital funds for families and individuals living with mental illness. 

Please support us if you can! Any donation counts. You can check out my Fundraising Page here to donate.

*Photos by Andrea K. Castillo for A Life In The Day of Andrea

Nailed It: Take A Ride With “Pony” By Floss Gloss

FLOSS GLOSS PONY

It’s been some time since I’ve done a nail color review, for so many reasons, mainly not putting the time in to doing my nails. As the weather warms up and I’m shaking off the blues of colder weather, I decided to share a color that screams SPRING in Pony by Floss Gloss. I especially wanted to share this shade as I bumped into the ladies behind the brand recently at the BUST Craftacular Primped at Brooklyn Night Bazaar.

Since I had peeled off my nail polish a few days prior, I felt this color would give me a fresh new start. My lovely cousin Ashley did my manicure, which I believe, came out WAY better than it has as of late at my local salon. No shade, I promise.

CLOSE-UP WITH BOTTLE

Pony is described as a “neon peach creme”, but don’t let that scare you. Your nail color may or may not glow in the dark, but the neon element they speak of is more so a brightness. To achieve this level of opacity, we used a white base coat. On my hands, the contrast makes it look like I got a nice little tan, even though I have yet to get any sun this season. As it is a pastel, it’s a great everyday shade, and pairs well with whites and aquas.

If you want to get your nail art game on, I would suggest pairing Biscuits, Mrs. Tony Montana, Wet, or Wavepool (all by Floss Gloss) with this creamy shade. All colors retail for $8 and are available for purchase on FlossGloss.com. Would you rock this shade?

 

*Photos by Andrea K. Castillo for A Life In The Day Of Andrea

EVENT + GIVEAWAY: BUST Craftacular’s “Primped” At The Brooklyn Night Bazaar, Sun. April 19th. Enter To WIN Tickets!

Hey girl hey! So Spring has officially sprung for real in New York City, and you are probably in a state of immense spring cleaning and wardrobe updating, right? Wouldn’t it be perfect to update your wardrobe and home with pieces from local indie makers, who are mostly women, and get dolled up at the same time? Of course you answered yes! Well, the BUST Craftacular “Primped” event is back next week at Brooklyn Night Bazaar to serve up some goodness.

A GUEST AT LAST YEAR’S EVENT W/ SHEA MOISTURE

The event will feature over 65 indie beauty, fashion, and vintage vendors for your shopping pleasure, along with many FREE activities, including:

Admission for the event is $5, BUT since you are here on the blog, YOU (yes you) can win a pair of tickets for yourself and your favorite girlfriend! We will be giving out three pairs of tickets. Here’s what you gotta do.

  • Leave a quick comment below to say which friend of yours you will bring if chosen. First name or social media name is fine!
  • Follow @alifeinthedayof on Twitter & Instagram
  • “Like” us on Facebook, and tell your friends!

Winners will be chosen on Wednesday, April 15, 2015. May the odds be in your favor!

ARROJO Studio Makes The Trip Across The Bridge, Opening Their First Brooklyn Location This Month!

A view from above of ARROJO’s newest digs in Williamsburg

ARROJO Studio, the famed multi-dimensional hair studio in SoHo led by master stylist Nick Arrojo is expanding. Being a mainstay on Varick St. for thirteen years, the brand is opening their first satellite location right over the bridge in Brooklyn, Williamsburg to be exact. Over the years I have frequented their SoHo flagship and beamed once hearing the news of the Brooklyn opening, which happens next week on April 14th.

The Williamsburg salon features 3300 sq. ft. in a minimalist design, housing 32-chairs in a space full of light.

Street-level view

Says Arrojo:

Manhattan has always been the place for the Mega Salon, whereas Brooklyn has a more bohemian feel. But it has grown and grown, and become a capital of fashion and trend in its own right. We feel our culture, standards, and aesthetics are perfect for the people and the lifestyle there.

To check out a behind-the-scenes look on the new salon, take a gander at this video. We will be sure to keep you posted with the grand opening details and more!

 

*Photos courtesy of ARROJO

Capsule Show Unveils “The Beauty Lab” at Their NY Women’s Show, Feat. Rudy’s Barbershop, Hail Nails, Drunk Elephant Skin Care & More!

THE BEAUTY LAB

The Fall/Winter 2015 season of Capsule Women’s RTW in New York hosted a bunch of firsts; a new venue in Pier 94, an exclusive industry panel, and curated outfit picks from The Influentials, featuring Natalie Suarez of Natalie Off Duty, Michele Janezic, and Paloma Elsesser. One of my favorite new additions was that of The Beauty Lab, “an in-show section of emerging beauty and skincare brands selected by Fashionista beauty editor Cheryl Wischhower”.

HAIR STYLING STATION BY RUDY’S BARBERSHOP

From reading the blog, you can tell that I have a passion for all things fashion and beauty, so it was quite a treat to have both of these in the same place for Capsule Women’s. I used my handy map to locate the Beauty Lab, and knew I was in the right place when I spotted the hair cut & styling station by Rudy’s Barbershop.

To my surprise, there was no one in the chair when I arrived, and was happy to have my tresses taken care of by Olivia. Since I had already straightened my hair the day prior at home, I asked for loose waves, and that I got!

SET-UP AT HAIL NAILS

Immediately after taming my tresses, I walked about five feet over into the most amazing booth of super-pigmented nail polish colors. The brand, Hail Nails, was showcasing their product, and giving free manis to attendees that shared photos with the #HailNails hashtag on social media.

NAIL DESIGNS BY JESSICA JONG

I was able to meet the entire team, including founder Shannon Marcec, and was treated to a rad mani by nail artist Jessica Jong. The design I used was the first one on the board, which was very street-art inspired.

SKINCARE BY DRUNK ELEPHANT

After letting my nails dry properly, I shimmied over to the Drunk Elephant skincare booth. I had become familiar with the brand about a year ago through a few press pitches, and was eager to learn more. I was greeted by the brand’s founder, Tiffany Masterson, who walked me through the line, which blends natural and chemical ingredients to let you achieve healthy, glowing skin. I was quite impressed with the ingredients, and sleek, colorful packing. Looking forward to using it in the future.

Do you dig the inclusion of beauty brands at fashion tradeshow? Do you think it is a thoughtful decision, or a distraction to buyers? Let me know your thoughts below!

 

*Photos by Andrea K. Castillo for A Life In The Day Of Andrea

#NYFW Tales: Backstage at Lupe Gajardo FW15 with Sergio Erasmo of MAC Cosmetics

THE SCENE BACKSTAGE AT LUPE GAJARDO FW15

Fashion Week is all about seizing opportunities, and that I did during my time backstage. In my last post, I documented my experience backstage at the Skingraft show. I was scheduled to attend the 9 PM presentation of Chilean designer Lupe Gajardo, but being in the right place at the right time, I was able to meet the show’s producer and cover backstage as well. SCORE!

MAC SR. ARTIST, SERGIO ERASMO & MODEL

I moved my things over to the backstage area for the show, and immediately got to work. As I was there quite early, I was able to get lots of great behind-the-scenes shots prior to talking make-up. I was greeted by Sergio Erasmo, MAC Cosmetics Senior Artist for Argentina, Peru, Chile, Paraguay & Uruguay who was keying the make-up of the show. I asked him about the beauty inspiration, and how it paired with the designer’s clothing. Says Erasmo:

ARTIST STATION

You will see in the collection that there is clothing that is a post-apocolyptic version of clothing, so we wanted to do that with make-up also; it’s part of the same story. This is a woman in the future, kind of like “Mad Max” kind of woman, that is fighting for survival. What I’m trying to do is work with the tiredness colors in the face, but she’s playing it in a very beautiful way, so the tiredness has some glamour to it. We worked with ochre tones on the eyelids, taupe-y colors to shape the eyes and cheeks, and a beautiful violet lipstick that is coming next season [for MAC].

FINAL LOOK ON MODEL

The final look was clean, yet realistic with darker tones around the eyes. The model looks like she’s had a “long day”, but remains beautiful nonetheless. Do you like the idea of “post-apocolyptic” beauty? Would you consider wearing a similar look come fall? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

*Photos by Andrea K. Castillo for A Life In The Day of Andrea

#NYFW Tales: Backstage at Skingraft with Kelly Hanna Thompson of Kryolan Makeup

A SNAPSHOT OF THE MAKE-UP LOOK FOR SKINGRAFT FW15

Attending fashion shows during New York Fashion Week is a great privilege, but for me, it’s even more of an experience to see the magic behind-the-scenes in the high-energy location of backstage. When I was given the opportunity to cover beauty backstage by Kryolan at the Skingraft show, I jumped for joy [in my head] and was ready to see what was in store.

THE FACE: WILLY CARTIER

Upon arrival the mood was calm with all artists at their stations working on various models. I scanned the room and was greeted by a familiar face, one of my favorite male models of the moment, Willy Cartier, and snapped a photo before things got hectic.

KELLY WORKING ON A MODEL’S FACE

I snapped a few more photos of the room and ambience, and subsequently walked over to the post of the lady behind the beauty look of the show, Kelly Hanna Thompson. Kelly is Kryolan’s Senior Artist, and keyed the beauty look for Skingraft FW’15. Kelly told me that the inspiration behind the look was a woman that was “tired haunted, but beautiful at the same time”. Below is the process used to achieve the look.

We did a mid-tone grey all around the eyelids in a circular motion, so it looks like kind of a grey wash. Absolutely no liner or mascara, and you lose the definition like that. It gives it more of a haunted look. We did no cheeks, no contours, and a really nice shine straight down the middle…so it kind of has this effect of a pearl coming out of the middle [of the face], and a really good highlight.

FINAL MAKE-UP LOOK ON A MODEL

It was nice to see a make-up look so simple on the runway, that complemented and did not compete with the clothing. Do we think simple chic beauty looks is next for Fall? We will have to wait and see! Until then, let me know your thoughts on the look. Would you try out such a simple make-up look in the coming fall/winter season? Let me know in the comments below!

 

*Photos by Andrea K. Castillo for A Life In The Day of Andrea

#NYFW Tales: TechStyle NYC Returns To House of Bumble With Fitness, Primping, and Sipping!

NAMASTAY YOGA TOWEL SET-UP

On Monday, February 16th, TechStyle NYC in collaboration with JJI returned to the House of Bumble in NYC’s coveted Meatpacking District. The event serves as an immersive beauty, fashion, tech, and beverage experience for influencers in the midst of Fashion Week. After attending last season, I was really excited to see what was in tow this time around, and impressed, I was.

THE GROUP OF INFLUENCERS FROM THE MORNING FITNESS SESSION

The event opened to the public at noon, but I was chosen to be a part of a morning fitness session for fifteen influencers. Did this invitation feel cool? Yes, especially as I’ve been getting back to my personal fitness, the timing was perfect. We were provided gear from Lysse Activewear, along with a yoga towel from Namastay, boots (for after) from Love Winter, and sweets from Dosha Pops.

LYSSE SPONSORED GIFT BAGS FOR INFLUENCERS

We began with a yoga session led by Dina Ivas of PRIVan on-demand beauty & wellness service. Dina was great at guiding us through poses and keeping us positive if we didn’t make them all. I’m definitely not the strongest in poses, but it was a great way to start the day.

After a short break, we were joined by celebrity trainer Joel Harper (personal trainer to Dr. Oz),  who guided us through an intense 30-minute fitness session. Not gonna lie, I felt the BURN and had to slow down through some reps that focused mainly on the glutes and legs. Upon surviving the session, I made it my job to change clothes and primp.

GETTING MY HAIR DONE AT THE REDDERA STATION

I zoomed over to the Reddera station to sign up to get beautified. The company is an on-demand beauty app, and at the lounge showcased a manicure station, make-up stations, hair styling, and massage. I made sure to take advantage of all these stations, sans nails, as I had gotten mine done a few days prior.

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WOMANday: Tanwi Nandini Islam of Hi Wildflower Botanica Chats Writing & Entrepreneurship, Supporting Local, Social Activism & More!

FOUNDER OF HI WILDFLOWER BOTANICA, TANWI NANDINI ISLAM. CREDIT: RAHIL ASHRUFF

For this edition of WOMANday I wanted to introduce you to an extraordinary woman, Tanwi Nandini Islam. Tanwi is a published writer with a novel on the way, and the creator of artisan beauty line, Hi Wildflower Botanica, which includes a product range of perfumes, candles, and skincare. In my interview, we chatted about the road to entrepreneurship, the local small business community in Brooklyn, writing, social activism and more.

Get into our conversation below!

What was the turning point in which you decided to start Hi Wildflower Botanica?

Last year I presented four scents at Bushwick Open Studios. I had been experimenting a lot with perfumery because I was doing a lot of research for my new book that I’m working on, and I kind of wanted to see if people would be into the product. Bushwick Open Studios draws hundreds of people into your studio, which I share with three other artists. A lot of people were into it, so I felt like I hit a certain nerve in regards to the fragrances I had made, and it felt like something that could be a viable source of income, and perhaps a new business.

I’m a writer professionally, and that’s not necessarily the easiest way to make a living, especially when you are writing fiction or working on freelance projects, so this kind of became something that I saw myself doing as a fun, indie business. I initially thought it would just be an Etsy or an extra source of income; I wasn’t thinking wholesale or getting stores, new accounts, or anything like that. It kind of really grew fast because I decided to do a launch at Renegade Craft Fair in late August [2014], and it was awesome. I had a really simple array of product. I had my perfume and I had skincare, and people were feeling it and buying it, and I was like ‘Wow! I’m on to something here. This is really cool.’ Since then, I’ve really expanded a lot. Now I’m in ten different stores, and I believe a lot of that has to do with the fact that A) I live in Williamsburg in Brooklyn, and it’s a really great location I think to be a new business, and to be an entrepreneur and share it with other small businesses, usually store owners who are all my peers. They are usually women my age who are looking for the next line to carry, whether it be for perfume or skincare, or candles.

Since this is WOMANday, I would love to know the feedback you’ve been getting from fellow female entrepreneurs in your community, as well as consumers?   

It has been really, really interesting. I think that the customer is really drawn to the packaging, so the colorful nature of the packaging is really inspired directly by wildflowers. That’s pretty much the central philosophy of the brand, to grow free everywhere, to be the one who is a little bit different than the mainstream, and I think that concept is really beautiful because it’s like every product has its own mini-story and its own aesthetic. I think traditionally that can be seen as ‘Hey! Everything should be super cohesive and one story’ but it’s many stories. This is fun for me. I’m drawn to old botanical drawings, and I think my customer [also] is drawn to that and is really into the idea of ‘this is my signature scent, this is something that really speaks to my personality’; every thing has a different appeal for a different person. If you were to take Night Blossom, which is one of my perfumes that has really deep notes that are floral which I call ‘sex florals’ , and jasmine, neroli, rose; really sexy scents, it’s all understated and it dries down into this leathery ember scent, and it’s for a certain kind of person. Then you have something like West Indies which is grassy, herbaceous, has notes of Bay Rum and lavender; it’s really fresh, and for someone else. I think that’s something that really appeals to people, that they can find their piece within the brand that’s just for them.

For women, I think self-care rituals and finding time in your day to moisturize with body oil, or light a candle and chill, or dab yourself with perfume-oil; it’s all about re-centering and getting in touch with yourself. I would say my customer is someone who appreciates that moment of respite and peace.

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