Wholly Beautiful #OnNicollet

Nicollet Makers Market Spotlight
Wholly Beautiful nourishes natural beauty with wholesome materials

For Tonya Allen and Denise Anderson of Wholly Beautiful, an artisan vendor featured at the Nicollet Makers Market this summer, the process of crafting natural beauty products begins with a deeper emphasis: “the natural beauty of each person,” as Allen puts it. That emphasis impacts how she and Anderson select which products to make, as well as how they make them.

“The products we make must have natural components. Not all beauty products do. We’re careful to choose products that people actually use,” she explains. That translates into natural soaps, lotions, body washes, and lip balms, as well as more specialized products like hair and beard oils, shaving products, bath jellies, and lotion bars.

For their hair oil, Allen includes only a few ingredients–olive oil, vitamin E, Jamaican black castor oil. “The mix is simple; its quality comes from the high-quality materials that go into it.” For one of Anderson’s cold press soaps, the process involves materials with a variety of textures (lye, essential oils, and fats like goat milk or yogurt), and a delicate series of steps that take over a month to complete.

Whether the process is simple or complex, Allen and Anderson take great care in tracking down quality materials. Some ingredients they make from scratch, but to keep the product affordable, they source others from trusted wholesalers. A lot of research and a personal visit to their wholesaler’s facilities in Cleveland gave Allen and Anderson confidence that their products had integrity all the way up the supply chain.

Once perfected and packaged, Wholly Beautiful products hit the market. Allen and Anderson are thrilled to be out on the newly re-opened Nicollet: “It’s the place to go!” says Allen. Interacting with potential customers in person is vital in this industry, Anderson adds: nothing beats meeting people where they can touch, smell, and try products out.

Not only do customers experience first-hand what Wholly Beautiful has to offer; they might shape what the team produces in the future. Anderson points to a conversation that gave her “a marketing idea to infuse into my new products”; Allen tells the story of two thought-provoking cross-cultural encounters.

“We are two African-American females and got to talking with a man from Guatemala and an Asian woman, who mentioned ingredients we hadn’t thought of using: loroco and lemongrass.” The encounters highlighted how different cultures prioritize different scents, and how mainstream beauty products tend to cover only a narrow swath of those possibilities. Allen and Anderson are excited about the market’s downtown setting. “It’s a vibrant area,” Anderson concludes. “You might not get that at every market.”

The Nicollet Makers Market takes place on Nicollet between 6th and 8th streets on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month, 10:30a–2:30p, until October 10.