Whipping up family beauty recipes
Skin, An Apothecary was featured in the Dayton Jewish Observer July 2009
It began with a quirky, inventive, nature-loving entrepreneur in a little travel agency on Wayne Avenue.
About 25 years ago, Candace Goldflies headed to Colorado and opened skin-care boutiques that boasted “natural” ingredients before that idea was even fashionable.
Her niece, Iris, went out west after college in 1995 to work with her aunt. By then, Candace was running shops in Aspen, Vail and Avon. Iris learned not just how to run a business, but how to mix and perfect family recipes with pride.
Skin, An Apothecary became a favorite not only to locals and people on ski vacations who began doing a “ton of mail order,” but also with celebrities.
“While I was working, Anne Archer came in one day, and it was not uncommon for celebrities such as Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith and others to stop by and shop,” Iris says.
“I remember when Candace told my grandparents she was going to open an all-natural skin-care business. She had European lines and then she felt she could do it better, so she started experimenting.”
I also remember that announcement — very well. Candace Goldflies was a hoot. She was one of my husband Bruce’s best friends and thank goodness she was as adventurous as she was. She would go with him on long, harrowing bike rides. When we went skiing in Colorado, she took the pressure off of me and skiied with him on the neck-breaking runs, leaving me to do my own thing, all in one piece.
Candace was predictable in her unpredictability. We thought we were immune to being shocked by anything she did. Even so, when she got into the skin business, it came as quite a surprise.
We were absolutely in awe the first time we walked into her Vail boutique. It looked and smelled exactly the way you would picture an English apothecary: all dark and woody, lots of tempting little jars and bottles.
The aromas were amazing. My favorites were the giant slabs of soaps that she made into small bars with her giant carving knife. She was truly —astonishingly — in her element. Who knew?
When Candace got sick, she undertook chemotherapy and radiation. The three Colorado businesses were in limbo. She eventually passed away in September 1999.
Iris and her father, Gary Goldflies, decided to bring the business back to where the original idea had been born, to the little travel company space in Dayton, now the manufacturing headquarters of Skin, An Apothecary.
In December 1999, Iris was working at Standard Register. She would come down to the travel space and make the product at night.
By April of 2000, she left her job and worked the “Skin” business full time.
Iris and Gary, with help from friend and businesswoman Nicole Gianuglou, who would go on to open Preen in Oakwood, revamped the “Skin” line and set up the online Web site (skinanapothecary.com) and mail order business.
The family recipes are made by hand, in batches, to keep them fresh. Iris uses Candace’s recipes as well as her own.
“I’m sure she’s up there going, ‘No! Do it this way!’” Iris says.
With products in her “pantry” such as Soy Body Whip, Sugar Glow, French Hair Paste, Slip Gloss and ingredients such as Vitamin E and C, soy, coconut, lavender mint, chamomile, chocolate, plum, and mango, Iris has received awards and recognition in publications including Lucky Magazine, Women’s Wear Daily, and O, The Oprah Magazine.
She juggles her time between her family business and home life, which includes daughters Lola, 6 and Ava, 3.
“When Lola comes home from JCC camp, she loves to come to work and help,” Iris says.
She mixes products for local retailers such as Preen and Michael’s Salon and Spa, which sell products and use them in certain services.
Iris sends products to retail spaces all over the country, including a private line in California.
“Donatella Versace is one of my latest clients. She was buying our products in California and she wanted to know where she could get them in New York. I ship them to her and her daughter.”
The little family business continues to grow and build on the wisdom passed down from Aunt Candace, mixing by hand the high-quality products for which “Skin” has become synonymous.