Healthy Alternatives Featured At New Berlin Boutique

Healthy Alternatives Featured At New Berlin Boutique
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BERLIN – Polysorbate. Glycol. Sodium laurel sulfate.

Though not words the average person is familiar with, they’re chemicals everyone who uses traditional soaps and shampoos from the grocery store comes into contact with on a daily basis. That worried Lori Wagman.–enough that she’s now making her own bath products. The Ocean Pines resident is selling organic and all-natural toiletries in her new Berlin shop, the Beez Kneez Boutique.

“There are a lot of people out there, especially the younger generation, that are looking for healthy alternatives to shampoo and soap,” Wagman said. “I make all my own toiletries.”

In her shop, located next door to Rainbow Florist, Wagman sells numerous varieties of soaps, shampoos, body scrubs and even sunscreens that she’s made herself from all natural and organic ingredients. According to the former massage therapist, her interest in homemade soaps was prompted by her own sensitive skin.

“I started doing research and saw all the chemicals that were in soaps,” she said.

A little internet searching showed her how easy it would be to make her own products with just a few simple ingredients. What started as some experimenting for her own purposes gradually turned into a small business. People were eager to buy toiletries made of coconut oil, goat’s milk and shea butter, especially once Wagman “girlified” them. She took basic bath soaps and started decorating them—often as desserts—and added fun fragrances. Customers can buy the “Pink Grapefruit Mint Cupcake Bath Truffle,” or even a bar of soap that looks like a piece of chocolate cake.

The soaps proved popular with Wagman’s friends and early this year she began offering them to a wider audience at the farmers market in Berlin.

While she liked selling her products, Wagman said she didn’t like having to cart everything out to the market once a week. She also didn’t like depending on fair weather.

“I said ‘I want to do more than that,’” she recalls. “I wanted to bring a boutique atmosphere to Berlin.”

A sampling of the products Beez Kneez Boutique owner Lori Wagman creates and has on sale at her new store is pictured. Photos by Charlene Sharpe

A sampling of the products Beez Kneez Boutique owner Lori Wagman creates and has on sale at her new store is pictured. Photos by Charlene Sharpe

She started looking for commercial space on Main Street but couldn’t find any vacancies.  Eventually she settled on the William Street storefront that was formerly an acupuncture facility. After taking possession of the shop Aug. 1, she quickly made some interior changes and improved the paint job before moving in Aug. 20. Though she’s still making some minor changes and doesn’t have a sign up yet, Wagman is happy to be open.

“It’s a learning curve,” she said.

Though Uncle Jon’s Soaps opened up earlier this year just a bit further down William Street, Wagman says she’s confident her inventory is different enough that there will be plenty of business for both stores.

“I’m geared more toward women,” she said.

Wagman says all of her products are castile based soaps made with essential oils. To go along with her handcrafted soaps, she’s developed an inventory of bath products, ranging from toothbrushes to loofas, that are made from natural materials. There’s Crystal deodorant, made from mineral salt, and pajamas, towels and robes made from a fabric that comes from bamboo.

“They make a rayon fabric out of bamboo,” Wagman explained. “It’s an all-natural product and it doesn’t have polyester or anything irritating to the skin.”

She hopes the unique inventory will provide local shoppers with a place to go for healthy alternatives to traditional toiletries as well as for unusual gifts. The Beez Kneez Boutique is open every day but Tuesday. For more information call 410-208-8132.