Meet Nitasha Goel, the woman reinventing how we sell.
Written by: Gloria Pancrazi
The Cure Apothecary is a little nook on Queen Street West and Tecusmeth Street with the charm resembling my mother’s home and the fresh warmth of finding a new place to cherish.
In the past month, I have spent most (if not all) of my money on green natural skin care products there. As a nature freak and stressed-out hypochondriac, it made absolute sense: I was sick of putting shitty ingredients on, and ultimately, in my body. As a struggling recently graduated Millennial facing the harsh realities of our economy, however, it was stupid.
Why spend so much of my little money on this store?
First, there is the increasing trend in Canada of being more mindful of what goes on the outside of your skin. Watching what you eat isn’t enough anymore, people have been changing to all-natural skin care and beauty products. A 2015 Nielsen online global study shows that our green generation prioritizes sustainability in their shopping and according to a BDC study, there is a new “health mania” with rising health concerns and awareness among Canadian consumers. People are making the switch in the food they eat, the skin care they use, and the products they clean their homes with.
Nitasha had an “aha!” moment when she realized she should apply the same mentality we do with the sustainable food movement to her beauty regiment. When she started switching to healthy skin, hair, and body care, she noticed the difference. Her untameable oily roots and dry ends found a balance, and her skin became doughy and healthy.
“It felt as though I had oil on my forehead because my hair was so greasy,” said Nitasha.
Though it was more than her skin and hair that got better, she felt better just like when people change their diet and eat healthier.
This was back in 2014, and the trend hadn’t caught up to big brands making it a lot more difficult than today to find good green marks. Struggling to find clean products she loved and realizing there were no stores selling green products in her Queen West neighborhood, she followed her dream of opening a small boutique and created The Cure Apothecary to discover new and unique brands that shared her vision.
Second, I had been wanting to change my products and truly step into this world of hippie-thinking, nature-loving creams and face wash for a while, but nothing had made me want to spend the extra few bucks and abandon my three-minute walk to the Shoppers near my house. That is until I saw that warm window set-up when discovering my neighborhood.
I didn’t know exactly what the store was, but I knew it was all I loved. The green, the wood, the scented candles, and the little lights rekindled childhood memories of my mother’s home. I walked in expecting to simply take a peak and continue with my day. I ended up staying for an hour.
When Nitasha created her boutique, it was essential to her that this would be a space where people feel welcomed and comfortable. She wanted her store to offer an experience where you can discover the product by touching it and testing it out, where someone new to or already in the green world can learn more about it, where there is a connection between people.
I walked into her little ode to Tulum, with the light brushed wooden floors which remind her of the sand there, the fixtures echoing back to the light buildings with dark roots. Tulum is the pinnacle point of opening the boutique. She visited the magical town just before she received the keys to the shop, just before the adventure began.
“I wanted the shop to represent that,” said Nitasha.
The store is rusting and alive. It isn’t perfect. She stained these flours, and she tainted the fixtures and poured her heart and soul into this place.
“I think when people walk in here, they feel the love,” said Nitasha. “There are cracks in the wood and character and life and… love!”
She creates a new experience to shopping, one where the product isn’t the main focus, but it’s the interaction you have with people that are important. In a world where most shopping is done with and through machines, isn’t this something we are ultimately craving?
Maybe this is why I felt so interested in the store and why I was curious about her products. Quickly, we were chatting as if I already knew her and she was taking me through her products. She knew exactly what was in them, where they came from, and what was particular about them.
“Nothing comes into this store without me knowing what’s in it,” said Nitasha.
The Cure Apothecary’s products are made up from Canadian brands and the rest come from artisanal makers from the United States, New Zealand, and Sweden. It is crucial for her to support the community.
She bought one brand solely because of her mother who had tried tested out a product from Nitasha’s recommendation. When Nitasha saw her mother again after a month, she was stunned at how beautiful her skin looked.
“The way she felt and spoke about it was amazing. She was happy that she looked better, but also that she felt better,” said Nitasha. “So I brought the brand in the store.”
Learning more about these products inclined me to buy a new deodorant, dying to ditch my antiperspirant. I also switched from my Bioderma facewash which made my skin very dry to a Vitamin B enzyme cleansing oil.
She explained that I only needed to use this face wash at night, and share her philosophy of less can go a long way. Most products we buy, from face washes to laundry detergent, tell us to use more of it than we really need.
“Natural oils are good for your skin. You don’t need to wash your face morning and night,” said Nitasha.
She also encouraged me to reuse the packaging and not to finish the products I had at home before buying new ones, even if I hated the harmful chemicals in them.
With The Cure Apothecary, Nitasha truly steps away from the generic industry of skin care, beauty, and home products. For her, a lot about how she sells her products is about breaking that harmful need for perfection. She hates the idea of perfection supported by the beauty industry.
“Our bodies aren’t perfect, and that word shouldn’t be used in the beauty world,” said Nitasha. Skin care and beauty products should be about making people feel comfortable in their own skin, and that was very important to Nitasha when creating The Cure.
Perfect doesn’t exist, and she incorporated that concept into her boutique.
Use this three-step system, and you will have the perfect skin. Apply this combination of make-up, and you can pretend to have the perfect face. Wash your hair with this shampoo and condition, and your hair will just be perfect.
And while stores try and sell you perfection, Nitasha works to create a connection. She successfully created a space where someone new to or already in the green world can educate themselves, test different products, and make that switch. Even more importantly, she creates a place where people can find products that make them love themselves as they are.
There is a real feeling that you’re not just here to shop. You’re here to meet her and understand more about this world of green beauty she fell for. Most stores usually don’t encourage you the buy the cheaper version or ensure you really love your product before you leave the store with it.=
I remember leaving the store, impatient to try my new Vitamin B enzyme cleansing oil on that night. People lead hectic lives, particularly in the fast-paced GTA, and often end up neglecting their skin care and time spent in the bathroom.
“If you think about it the bathroom is the first place you go to when you get up in the morning, and the last place you leave before going to your bedroom for the night,” said Nitasha.” So why not make it a time where you take a moment for yourself.”
Nitasha thinks of time spent in the bathroom as a sacred time where you can retreat from your busy day and take care of yourself. For the cynical rushed business men and women, all it really takes is five minutes.
“You should be looking forward to taking that time and pampering yourself,” said Nitasha.
In The Cure Apothecary, it’s those five minutes all day long. She wants people to come in and take the time to find a product that suits them. That’s why she has a sink so people can try out everything without feeling overwhelmed with different scents. Skincare should be more than something you need to do, but something you want to do.
Since Nitasha opened her little Tulum boutique, more people have been having that “aha!” moment. The market quickly caught on, and now most stores seem to be advertising natural products, but her boutique stands out. Hers feels so far away from the priority of selling.
So why do people spend their money on more expensive but healthier products?
First, there is the fact that Millennials continue to be most willing to pay more for sustainable and healthy offerings, according to the 2015 Nielsen online global study.
Second, I believe Millennials (at least the ones like me) lust to step away from the ruling operating systems gluing us to silent conversations and hooking us to our phones and machines.
I mean, natural products can be found anywhere nowadays: I can buy green products in Shoppers if I want to; though I would do so without having any meaningful conversation and paying with self-check-out.
According to U.S. News, CVS announced in April 2017 that it would remove chemical ingredients such as parabens and phthalates from approximately 600 beauty and personal care products.
So what does The Cure Apothecary offer?
It lets us grasp on to the obsolete notion of human interaction, experience products before buying them, and support a community. Ultimately, it gives us back something that had been disappearing in the shopping industry.
To check out The Cure Apothecary head to:
Written by: Gloria Pancrazi
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