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Follain

American Made Since 2013

Tara Foley

Boston, Massachusetts
Follain offers a curated selection of high performance healthy skincare, hair care, and cosmetic products from 30+ spa-grade, U.S.-made brands.
Style, Beauty

Tell us about your business.

No one should have to sacrifice their health and values for beauty. Follain is a beauty store with locations in Boston and Nantucket. Follain--Gaelic for 'healthy, wholesome, and sound'--features a thoughtfully curated portfolio of skincare, hair care, and cosmetic products from over 30 U.S.-made brands. Follain carries the highest-performing healthy beauty products available. Select products (think: liquid hand & body soap) are available for refill in-stores, as Follain aims to remedy the immense plastic waste generated by bottles. Five years ago, I was living in NYC and writing a blog on healthy beauty products. I realized then that there were no specific beauty stores for healthy products only. I immediately began to learn about products (on an organic lavender farm and at a private label skincare manufacturer); research brands (over 300 of them); and get my MBA. I would love to open more Follain stores and change the U.S. beauty industry for the better. It needs some serious help!

Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.

Our shop has a clean, luxurious, rustic retreat atmosphere. It is organized to maximize education, navigation, and in-store experience. It is bright, airy, and full of greenery. It has a soap refill station for our locally-made olive oil soaps. The refill station is above a double basin communal sink where customers can experience all of the products in store. The walls are tiled white, and there is a marble countertop that we call the "education station," as there is so much to learn about healthy beauty -- the products are so different from conventional ones. We use all salvaged and eco-materials for our fixtures -- collected from throughout New England. The copper and brass throughout the store is meant to evoke an old-world apothecary.

What inspires you?

Design and health. Follain combines the two, and helps us become more beautiful on the outside and inside. I also hope it will help us become better, more relaxed, and more caring individuals too.

What makes your business stand out?

1) We know our makers. We can tell you the story behind the brand and founder of every single product in the store. 2) We have the strictest product safety standards in beauty retail. We may be the only beauty store with a Director of Health + Safety on staff. 3) We educate our customers. We have an "education station" where customers will bring products, learn about the ingredients in them, and find good substitutes. 4) We are changing an industry. We introduce women to healthy skincare products that actually WORK! As opposed to all the basic farm-style products that are healthy but ineffective, and keep women going back to their toxic conventional products... 5) We are brand agnostic. We carry the best products per category -- not entire brand portfolios. 6) We are local. We carry all U.S.-made and 15% local (<150 mi) brands. We support our communities with regular community wellness events. 7) We are changing an industry. Was worth mentioning again...

What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?

To go for it! The hardest part of starting a business for me was taking the plunge. You think so hard about the best timing...how it will effect your lifestyle, friends, and family...how you will react if the business fails...how you will handle judgment from the public...and so on and so forth. At the end of the day, if you are passionate enough about your concept and about making a change, there is no better time than the present to get started! The best way to "go for it" is to begin by taking baby steps. Rather than quitting my job five years ago to immediately open a beauty store, I began by launching a beauty blog...then researching products...then getting my MBA...then opening a teeny tiny corner "pop-up" store on a side street...and so it continues! Now I know that Follain is the best it can be!

What does American Made mean to you?

To Follain, the American Made movement is about authenticity. It is important to support U.S. jobs & manufacturing, but also to prove that effective & healthy beauty is not limited to European brands. Traditionally we have looked out of the U.S. for effective beauty. If we care about the environment, clean supply chains and transparency...AND if there are so many brands making healthy and effective brands in the U.S., why would we import and ship products from halfway across the world -- made by people we don't know -- and with ingredients we can't trace? American Made is integral to our company goals and mission.

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