NUTLEY, NJ - Nutley resident Mary Spinelli opened Hyssop Beauty Apothecary LLC at 674 Bloomfield Ave. just a few months before the pandemic hit New Jersey. Spinelli acted quickly when COVID-19 was at its worst and kept up with the high demand.
The shop’s name Hyssop comes from an ancient herb in the mint family used for purification and cleansing. The hyssop plant has a very sturdy stem. “I feel very sturdy and I believe skin care should be all natural,” said Spinelli.
Spinelli’s inspiration to design her own line of handcrafted skin care and beauty products came from disappointment. Spinelli, who always lived a natural holistic life, invested a large sum of money on what she thought were all natural homemade skin care products for herself only to discover when she came home that they had added chemicals.
When Spinelli started making products, she gave them to family members, and then expanded her business venture to Farmers Markets, where you can still find her today. Spinelli recently featured her products at the Nutley Farmers Market on Franklin Avenue at the old Ciccolini Brothers property. Within two years, she decided it was time to open a storefront to sell her products.
Adapting to the needs of the public is key for Spinelli. She released a natural hand sanitizer in February, just when COVID-19 turned into a pandemic. “I’m a small business, and I was able to change direction very quickly, so for me I had outlined when I was going to release certain products, so for example my hand sanitizer I was not going to release until June thinking that would be a great time,” she said.
Because of the pandemic Spinelli is using a higher grade of alcohol. The hand sanitizer contains a minimum of 68 percent ethanol, an alcohol according to Spinelli that is gentler on the skin and will keep hands from drying out. “It’s 70 percent right now, even though the label says 68. I’d rather under state and over deliver,” she said.
The shutdown did not affect Spinelli’s business, as customers are able to make purchases through her website hyssopbeautyapothecary.com. She also allows only two customers to shop at a time and offers free delivery to all Nutley residents, which is still an option as well as store pick-up. “That carried me through, I was getting a lot of online orders that I was delivering,” Spinelli said.
Spinelli reassures safety for all her customers, wiping down everything with alcohol after each person shops including the doorknob. People can purchase some personal protective equipment such as face shields and masks.
She has teamed up with another small business, Sustainable Haus Mercantile in Summit, selling their face masks made of upcycled material at her Nutley shop. The two owners created a bond after opening their businesses within months of each other selling each other’s products.
Her most popular products are facial oils and coffee eye cream, which are botanical based. Spinelli said she makes all the ingredients for the coffee eye cream including the coffee infused olive oil. “Everything is truly handcrafted. Everything is made right here in the backroom. When I say that my products are handcrafted I really start usually with an oil or a floral botanical and take it from there,” she said.
Spinelli also customizes her products and honors special requests for people, and she will be placing more emphasis on that in January. “I’m always open to new and creative ideas and always try to keep it fun here,” she said.
According to Spinelli, the pandemic has caused skin issues for people such as facial acne called “maskne.” Spinelli offers products to help the irritation and recommends people wear masks with natural fibers.
Hyssop Beauty Apothecary LLC is located on the corner of Bloomfield Avenue and High Street. “Nutley’s little natural corner” according to Spinelli is also the home of an organic dry cleaner, an organic spa, and an oxygen bar. Parking is available in front of the shop and there is a parking spot on the side of the building.
New products tailored towards men will be available within the next two months as well as a winter line of products complementing the season. Most of the products at Hyssop are gender neutral including perfumes, face washes and face oil.
Spinelli assures that all the ingredients she uses are from cruelty-free organizations that do not test on animals. Some ingredients are also organic.
The shop is open from 10 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and until 8 p.m. on Thursdays.
Hyssop Beauty Apothecary LLC is at 674 Bloomfield Ave., just a few doors north of the intersection of Bloomfield Ave. and High St.
Factoid: Hyssop Beauty Apothecary was one of the first businesses to join Nutley's First Official 'Small Business Saturday' event, and actually opened their doors on Small Business Saturday 2019.
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