My husband and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary earlier this month by taking a staycation in downtown Detroit. We checked into the new Foundation Hotel and made like tourists, combing the Cass Corridor and Woodward Avenue—and waving at Canada from the River. We also drove through Indian Village, visited Detroit Denim (women’s jeans are arriving soon!), downed martinis flanked by blue cheese olives at The Apparatus Room, and fell for (well. at least I did) a new candle line, fragrance collection, and beauty boutique—all homegrown.
Detroit Rose Candles Based in the Eastern Market neighborhood of Detroit, these soy wax candles come in an assortment of simple, crowd-pleasing scents that pay homage to “fresh summers, rich autumns, and soulful winters”—which does pretty much sum up the Michigan climate (though soulful is an optimist’s description of the Mitten State's February.) I picked up Fig Tree, a mildly earthy, slightly sweet scent. As the weather cools, I’d like to try Cinnamon Chai and Milk + Honey. There is a list of retailers on their website (they are sold outside of Michigan)—or you can order online. I was also pleased to stumble upon the line at Ann Arbor’s Plum Market, a pricey but fun-to-shop grocery store that my husband calls the Barneys NY of food shopping.
Kerosene Fragrances These robust scents are for true fragrance connoisseurs. John Pegg, the creator and nose, calls himself a “simple man” who grew up in St Clair, Michigan where the auto industry (and factory work) rules. But his line of fragrances are surprisingly complex, boasting notes for the scent-savvy like Oud, Tobacco, Italian lemon and Orange Bitters. Sniffing my way through the line, I was reminded of Tom Ford’s fragrance sensibilities. My favorite? Pretty Machine, the most feminine of the 16-scent unisex collection. It contains Bergamot, Vetiver, Neroli, Linden Blossom and a hit of Musk. It’s quite sensual and something I’d probably wear in chillier weather. The bottles are also all hand-crafted and painted with automotive paint and clearcoat, an homage to Joe’s auto-industry-centric hometown. Available online or at select retailers.
Mills Pharmacy + Apothecary I stumbled upon this French drugstore-style boutique on Cass Avenue, but the original apothecary and compounding pharmacy is based in Birmingham, Michigan. (There's also a small outpost in the Detroit Airport in Concourse B.) I felt like I’d walked into a Parisian pharmacy, as it stocks everyday French staples, such as Klorane and Leonor Greyl haircare, and Bioderma skincare—plus Cire Trudon candles and T. Le Clerc, a French cosmetic brand I loved in the late 1990 and haven’t seen much of since. The shelves are also peppered with indie brands I’d not seen anywhere else in Michigan: Antonym (organic makeup and tools); Sassy Lips (Korean lipsticks); and Comptoir Sud Pacifique fragrances (another old favorite I rarely encounter). And there were dozens of brands I didn’t know—which, given my career, is saying something. For non Michigananders, Mills also has an online Apothecary which sells most of (but not all) their instore brands.
What products and shops do you love in your hometown? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tell us all in the Comments section, below.