Jessica Richards and Jules Stringer Bring Exclusive Beauty Products to Court Street, at Shen
Photo by Joshua Kristal
Shen Beauty is South Brooklyn Post’s Business of the Month for March. We select businesses based on their general excellence. Shen carries rare and organic face creams not sold elsewhere in the United States, and will help you find a product right for your skin and budget. Visit Shen and mention this story for a 15 percent discount on all purchases.
It was 2009 and Jessica Richards, a young mother who had worked in the fashion industry, was living in Cobble Hill with her infant son. Her jar of face cream fell to the floor and shattered. She walked the streets of Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill looking for a replacement.
It shocked her to realize: There was not a single beauty store on Court or Smith streets, or in the surrounding area. She didn’t have time to go to Manhattan to shop. An idea was born. She would open a beauty supply store to put Sephora’s to shame, to make Bergdorf cry in its milk.
Fast forward. Richards is at a Jay Z concert. She meets Jules Stringer, a Brit who’d worked in London as a beauty journalist, writing a column and hosting a daytime TV show. Lightning struck.
Three months later, Shen Beauty on Court, near Degraw, at the Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens border, was born.
“That’s why I love America. People do things,” Stringer says. “In England, people have a cup of tea and think about it.”
Ladies, this is not your mother’s beauty supply store.
It’s not just that Richards and Stringer created a beautiful, sparkling clean, white and pink shop where service is friendly and inviting. The delight really is in Shen’s offerings.
The store carries facial creams and lotions, makeup and bath supplies, and a host of exclusive beauty products, many from London, mostly organic, and some, very rare. Some of the products are exclusive to Shen, and not sold elsewhere in the United States, such as the Amanda Lacey skin care line, used by the likes of Vogue models. Before Shen, Lacey’s fans travelled to London for her facials and creams. Now, they travel to Court Street.
Lacey’s products are mixed by a special chemist and poured in batches of 50 into fine glass bottles.
“I had to convince [Lacey] the line would sell here,” Stringer said. And now, as soon as the products come in, “they’re gone,” Stringer says, despite the $145 price tag on the small but popular daily face moisturizer.
“With my background in beauty, I wanted to bring exclusive brands to America,” said Stringer, who still writes a weekly beauty column for The Daily Mail.
“We are heavily centered on organic products,” Richards says. She says when she was developing the business plan for Shen, many people said it would not work, that the products would be too expensive for Brooklyn.
“This neighborhood can take it. People are open and educated. They want to support local businesses. They will not shop in chains. People here have quite a bit of money, and they want to spend it on quality, nice products,” Richards says. “The people who support us won’t shop elsewhere.”
And not everything is upscale. Shen carries affordable and fun products as well, from face serums and scented candles to little items like lip plumpers, eyebrow tweezers with a light on them, colorful shower caps, lip glosses and bath bombs that look like cupcakes, for kids.
And then there’s the more serious fare. The shop is a top retailer for Kahina, a Moroccan skin care line, sold at ABC and Bergdorf Goodman, that features 100 percent organic argan oil, an old Moroccan beauty secret. The products are sourced from a women’s cooperative, and 25 percent of profits go back to the Berber women there. The products can be used on the face, body and hair, and are rich in Vitamin E and antioxidants.
During March, Shen is running a Kahina promotion. When you buy a Kahina product, you are entered into a raffle; buy two and you get a free gift as well as a raffle ticket. March 19 the drawing will take place, and you must be present to win a goodie bag of Kahina products. Mini facials and eyebrow threading will be offered.
Another line exclusive to Shen is Mitchell and Peach, a family-run line from London that is produced on a lavender farm and is quite upscale (the body cream is $60), and Lubatti products, from recipes of Eileen Malone, a British beauty icon who treats the royal family and decades ago made special potions for actresses such as Vivian Leigh.
Other lines include Mrs. White (“brilliant, just beautiful,” Stringer says), which makes a mosquito spray. For Shen, Mrs. White is making a special bed bugs spray, called Bed Bugs Be Gone, in a mini bottle, which is sure to garner some press. Mrs. White makes a shaving cream that is popular among English women, but can also be used by men. It’s highly moisturizing.
Soon, Shen will launch a mother/baby line, including nipple balm, baby scalp cream, anti-stretch cream and the like, all organic.
Dylis Croman, a Carroll Gardens resident and dancer on Broadway (she’s currently in Chicago, playing Mona), says Shen is her favorite shop. She buys all her stage makeup at Shen, from the Becca line.
“The products are organic and parabin free. It’s the best beauty shop I’ve ever found. I found a red lipstick that I use every night. The makeup doesn’t clog my pores, it’s light but it covers, it’s perfect.” She also buys her hair spray at Shen.
“I love that they have products that you literally can’t get anywhere else,” Croman says.
Ladies, your husbands might not like me for telling you about Shen. ‘Cause once you go in and start testing things, you may never buy a discount beauty product again.
Mention South Brooklyn Post to Shen during the month of March for your 15 percent discount.
Here’s the info about the Kahina promotion from Shen’s press release:
This month at Shen we are giving away a FREE gift with every two purchases of Kahina’s Giving Beauty range. This organic skin care range based on argan oil has been such a hit it has been difficult to keep up with demand, but we are well stocked up now to give you the chance to have one of these beautiful products for free in your make up bag. The range has quickly shot up to be celebrities number one beauty secret so here’s your chance to see what all the fuss is about.
On SATURDAY MARCH 19th Shen will be hosting a ‘Kahina’ day allowing you to try out the range with mini facials in store and eyebrow threading. Enter your name on the day in our raffle and you will stand a chance to win a bag of lovely Kahina goodies and be the envy of your neighbours! Those buying two or more Kahina products will automatically be entered into this exciting raffle.
If you have yet to try anything from this super hip range then start with the Argan Oil which is super nourishing for face, body, hands and hair packed with essential fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamin E. It absorbs quickly into the skin so you’ll not be left with any greasy residue on your face, and works wonders on dry, brittle hair to give back some shine and lustre. Argan oil has been the beauty secret of Moroccan women for centuries to combat dryness from the harsh desert climate, and now it is the indigenous Berber woman who hand pick the argan nuts to make this amazing range with 25% of the profits going back to their co-operatives.
For more on Court Street shopping, check out: Court Street: The new Smith?
315 Court Street
For mail order enquiries please call on (718) 576-2679
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