Add Essential Oils To Local Businesses

If you have used Montclair Soaps before, then you made a special effort to buy ’em at occasional farmers markets or else online.  We’re lucky to have such a nice locally-produced product, based on olive oil of all things.

Well, the secret is becoming less so.  Soapmaker Kim Emanuel has started to join forces with local retailers, and his soaps and new lotions are available at re4m.  In coming weeks, they are planning to offer lip balm and more scents too.

Montclair Soap & re4m

Emanuel was attracted to re4m, which opened in June, because it’s “just the most wonderful store with fantastic surprises around every corner and on every shelf.  Lisa, the owner, has a completely magical eye for selecting objects that are a perfect combination of aesthetics within the store concept of sustainability.  I am very proud to be there!”

After nearly a year of developing lotions, it also was a good way to expand the business.  “Customers have been asking for a lotion with similar skin care qualities as my soaps,” explained the soapmaker.  “It was tricky but I think I have the formulas pretty tuned in….a one or two percent variation in ingredient ratio or temperature can be the difference.”

Plus there are fancier lotions available which require less fragrance than soaps.  Emanuel said he can afford really expensive essential oils like “steam-extracted Jasmine Grandflorum, Rose Otto & German Chamomile.”  I tried out the jasmine lotion while visiting re4m, and can report that it’s nice and light.

Hey, I’m a booster after discovering Montclair Soap last year.  Some users are attracted because other soaps are just too irritating.  For folks like me, it’s easy to get addicted to this slightly sybaritic experience – and now we have a reliable source in the Village.

Re4m: New Gift Shop Without Guilt

One of the newcomers to the Village shopping scene this past week is re4m, pronounced “reform.”  It’s a place with high ideals, to “re-claim, re-source, re-invent and re-commit.”  All I know is that the shop features great gifts for friends or family, and nothing would destroy my budget either.

re4m location

The shop feels a wee bit like a museum store, as items have been carefully collected and curated from places scattered around the globe.  Currently the display window features handbags made from tire inner-tubes, which says re-use loudly.  Inside the shop, small handbags made from soda can pop-tops look surprisingly beautiful.

My favorite pieces are made from telephone wires (!) transformed into colorful, old-fashioned basket weavings.  If you’re not ready to commit to these pieces, then re4m offers a few cute wire animals created by the same artists.

Additionally, re4m carries some interesting Japanese do-it-yourself paper art where you make little sculptures from paper tubes.  There are greeting cards which can be planted for their wildflowers.  Some nifty kid-things are placed near the back.  All the items have a story from their makers.

Owners Ashesh Patel and Lisa Tana are very passionate about what they are offering to locals, but not overbearing in their green-first sensibilities.  The artistic aura of the place likely comes from Tana, who previously ran Desa Arts in Oakland.  Plus everything feels cool – it’s hard to describe so check it out during your next coffee or bagel run.

More info:   re4m is a sustainable living shop conveniently located at 2054 Mountain Blvd, Montclair Village.  You can reach them at 510-339-re4m (7346), and their website will be created shortly.