This is one of those “these are the people in my neighbourhood” things. I first met Claudine and Kieran when they were fighting to save the little historic Heatley Building on Vancouver’s infamous Hastings Street, near to where we all live. They won, saving not only the building but also housing for many long-time residents. Around the same time they were also developing an organic cosmetic line called Bioéthique. You know how soaps and lotions and hair care always say they are “natural” or “organic”? Actually, most of them aren’t, which is a little-known scandal and a whole other story. Why does “organic” matter for things you don’t take internally? Apart from the environmental impact, there are health consequences. The skin is a sponge that absorbs elements of anything we apply, with substances penetrating the dead cell layer and entering the blood stream via the capillaries. If you doubt this, then ask yourself how the nicotine patch works. The Bioéthique company went to almost bizarre lengths to ensure product purity and safety, including getting French third-party certification, which was expensive, time-consuming and—considering that the cosmetics industry is unregulated—completely voluntary. Read about all of this on their site. They are an excellent model of a responsible, truly organic company.
Interestingly, Bioéthique is now opening a shopfront and spa in the very Vancouver building they helped save. The grand opening is this Wednesday, November 10. 600 block of Hastings Street at Heatley, about four blocks E. of Main. (After that, opening hours are 10-6, Wed – Sun.) If you’re not in Vancouver, visit the online store.
Vancouver, being only 125 years old, doesn’t have many heritage buildings. I’m happy Claudine and Kieran and other friends saved the Heatley and are now part of it. Come see it opening week. Below is how it looked before Bioéthique moved in.