Words and Photography| Holly J Coley
With little regulation over the cosmetic industry there are more people in search of natural products for their hair and skin. And while some companies are rushing to meet the public’s demand for healthier products, many of the offerings are pricey to say the least. That’s why we were psyched to discover Flowered, the Hudson Valley based apothecary where ingredients are recognizable and botanicals are the star of every soap, oil, and balm.
Flowered produces skincare products, mushrooms and flowers, such as lavender. “We’re lavender farmers,” says Melissa Gagne, who owns the company with Greg, her husband, and their friends Jimmy and Nicole Reber who recently married. Their operation takes place on Porco Homestead Farms in New Paltz, NY which is owned by Nicole’s family.
While all four take part in working the land, Melissa and Nicole are responsible for the beauty aspect of the business. Nicole realized she had a gift for soap making after taking a course with her mother. Melissa went to school for esthetics. With their knowledge and passion combined, the two began experimenting in their studio together. Friends who received their creations as gifts loved them. Clearly, they were on to something.
“There are so many products out there loaded with things that aren’t good for the skin,” Melissa explains when we speak via phone. She has three girls and knows what it’s like to fruitlessly search for items without chemicals. She knew there was a better alternative to what Big Beauty was offering and it didn’t need to be expensive. Now Nicole and she create handmade soaps, body oils, facial oils, beard oils, as well as lip butters. Their products are made from sustainable palm oils, along with botanicals and botanical oils. They use organic materials as much as possible while still working to keep their products inexpensive.
Each soap ($5) is cut thick, features wonderful texture and contains pure essential oils with medicinal properties. The Farmer’s Soap, popular with men, has a clean and rugged smell, and is filled with activated charcoal which draws out impurities from the skin. The Bohemian contains coconut, rice bran, and skin softening alkanet root powder. Their bestselling Farmer’s Wife soap contains skin soothing ground chamomile and calendula, making it a great facial soap. Body and face oils can be absorbed faster than lotion and we fell in love with their Frankincense and Myrrh Body Oil ($14) for its sweet smell and the way it locked in moisture after a post-shower application. The Snake Charmer Beard Oil contains pine, mint, argan oil and makes a welcome addition to any man’s medicine cabinet. With a variety of scents and products, there’s something for all skin types at a price point that everyone can appreciate.
Although Flowered just opened last year, we’re expecting big things from them in the future. You can buy their products and fresh cut flowers at Beacon Farmers Market, as well as Meadowscent which has locations in Gardiner, NY and New Paltz. Melissa and Nicole hope to eventually open their own storefront and host workshops where customers can learn the art of soap making. The group is currently working on the process of distilling their own lavender to create essential oil on the farm. Until then, we’ll be eagerly awaiting.
To learn more about Flowered, find them on Facebook.
Author: Holly J Coley