Beautiful in Seattle

I travel a lot for work. Mostly to the same places (NYC, LA, New Orleans, Charlotte), but once in a while I have the opportunity of discovering a new city, as I did this week-end. There are two ways I like to discover new cities: through their beauty boutiques and spas, and through their culinary offerings. This week-end, I did both in Seattle. To read about my culinary experiences, please click here. If you want to learn more about Seattle’s unique beauty destinations, keep on reading.

The goal of my trip was to visit two existing Alchimie Forever clients that I had not yet had the pleasure of meeting face to face – I have to admit I am old fashioned that way, and I love knowing my clients “for real” as opposed to just by email and Facebook. My first meeting was with the beautiful Suzy, who took a leap of faith and brought Alchimie Forever to That visit took me to the Seattle suburb of Bellevue, to the corporate headquarters of this beauty giant (which also encompasses, and another favorite Alchimie client, While not a beauty destination per se (you can’t really go there and purchase products), I always love touring beauty companies’ corporate headquarters… the air always smells like products…

The second Alchimie Forever client I visited with is our first and only bricks-and-mortar client in the Pacific Northwest, men’s grooming boutique Ward & Co., located in Rainier Square. During my coffee meeting with the owner, Mark, I learned that while his core customer is the downtown business man, tourists are a significant client segment (almost 1 million tourists visit Seattle due to cruise ship stopovers starting in May). We talked about how tools (all types of razors and more) had become his most significant revenue category, and about how much more loyal the male beauty consumer is when compared to his fickle female counterpart. From Café Migliore, we walked over to the boutique, a chic, 400+ square foot haven of men’s grooming products and accessories. Michael runs the day-to-day operations (Mark’s day job is to be an architect) – and clearly knows what he is talking about. Savvy about skin care, about shaving methods and tips, and with a background in upscale men’s fashion, he is the go-to expert customers come to visit time and time again. Alchimie products are in good company: you will also find such unique men’s grooming products as Taun (a new line out of NYC) and Kyoku.

Right around the corner from Ward is a Calidora Skin Clinic. This Seattle-based medical spa chain (they have 7 locations in Washington state and California) has been on my radar for a while as one of the few that has somehow managed to grow and successfully roll out across multiple locations (some of you may remember Sona Laser Centers for example, with a similar yet unsuccessfully implemented business model). While Alchimie Forever products are not (yet!) in Calidora, the clinic I visited was beautiful, busy, and the front desk manager truly pleasant.

Also on my list of places to visit, in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood, was Essenza. Since 1998, Essenza has been supplying the area with hard-to-find skin care, fragrances, and makeup, as well as unique jewelry, baby gifts, and bathrobes. There, I had the pleasure of meeting Becky, the owner and brain behind the store (she also owns a clothing store right around the corner). Obviously, she understands her customers’ wants and needs, having owned this indie boutique for 14+ years. She was intrigued by Alchimie, hopefully my next visit to Seattle will be to train her and her team on my line!

In planning this trip, and in doing research as to which hotel to stay at, I came across Hotel 1000 thanks to its Spaahh. I was introduced to Juanita, the spa manager, by email, and thanks to her discovered this fabulous hotel with fabulous service. And a fabulous Spaahh. A must for any jet-lagged, travel-weary business woman (aka yours truly).

Finally, randomly across the street from the hotel, I discovered Parfumerie Nasreen, a European-style jewel-like boutique with hard to find fragrances (they even had Jicky, my ever-harder to find perfume by Guerlain!). A testament to the boutique and its eponymous owner, Nasreen: it has been there for 26 years and business is going strong.

If you ever are in Seattle, do stop by these unique beauty destinations. Of course, there are more, which I didn’t get to this trip. I am saving Gene Juarez Salon & Spa (true Seattle institution), Frenchy’s (a Parisian inspired day spa and boutique), and Blackbird (in Ballard) for my next visit…