Category - Brands

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Agave Pantry- Tucson’s Hidden Culinary Gem
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A Fresh Start with Day One. Skincare
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Joon Hair Elixir Oil – Modern Chemistry Meets Ancient Persian Plant Power

Agave Pantry- Tucson’s Hidden Culinary Gem

After biting into the saffron and cardamom rose amaretti, I immediately sat back in my chair and savored the beautiful flavors as I chewed. They were rich, yet subtle and exotic. Have small cookies ever put you in such a state where you have not a care in the world? Well, these did; and Shazieh Gorji is, pardon my language, a fucking genius.

Shazieh is the sole owner behind the Tucson-based cottage industry brand- Agave Pantry. I had recently heard of the brand on social media, but then had the pleasure of meeting her during this past Cultivate Tucson market. Earlier in June, we met up and she shared some insights into her world of small batch and handcrafted pastries, infused salts, spirit pots, and an AirBnB.

She has always loved baking, even before she graduated from culinary school in 2014. While in culinary school, she did an externship at Acacia. After having her son, she decided to take a step back, and while at home with him, was baking and honing recipes and skills. She knew she wanted to still be in the food industry, and had heard about the cottage industry license (cottage industry means that you can make goods in your own kitchen, however, you cannot make anything that needs refrigeration).

So she worked on getting her license and figured out what she wanted to create, as she wanted to find her voice and do something that no one else was doing. She experimented with an amaretti, which is normally a crunchy Italian almond-based cookie with no flavor. She used the same ingredients, however, changing it up a bit and made it more marzipan-like. She then added flavors that are typical of her Middle Eastern background (she grew up in Pakistan to an Iranian family), such as cardamom, rose, and saffron. The mainly gluten-free menu has since expanded to other goodies, such as Lemon Tea Cake, Carrot Cake (also comes in non-GF), Chocolate Almond Torte (also available are Spicy Chocolate and Cardamom), Raspberry Lemon Cake (non-GF), Rosemary Cookies (non-GF), Vegan Chocolate Cardamom Brownies, and much more! All of her baked goods are made from non-GMO flour, free range eggs, and organic spices. She will start incorporating more locally-sourced ingredients after this summer. She grows her own rosemary, but will be adding Hayden Mills flour and dates and citrus from Urban Grove.

It was December 2018 when she officially launched Agave Pantry- the culmination of her baking, travels, and experiences. Her first market was the Fourth Schmourth Handmade Market, followed by Cultivate Tucson and other little pop-ups around the city.

Aside from the edibles side of her business, she also creates functional pottery that includes: platters, dipping/salt bowls, small spoons, as well as jars to hold just enough coffee beans so that they won’t go stale. “The act of using coffee helps you to slow down a little because you don’t want to be too rough. Making things that let you slow down and just appreciate little moments. For me, scooping out coffee from something handmade is beautiful… Creating beauty of the mundane of every day life.”

Another best-seller is the spirt pots. She considers them “food for your soul because they are affirmation pots. They are very intimate and personal. You don’t share your pot with somebody else, and using it adds the emotional and well-being of where you are, and that adds to the emotional well-being of everyday.” Be sure to check out her Spirit Pot Workshops , which you can book on Tucson AirBnB Experiences.

Be sure to also check out her Tucson AirBnB listing- Purple Desert Heart Guesthouse if you are in Tucson and need a place to stay and don’t want to be in a hotel. Also, check out her Instagram and Facebook page for new events and such!

Look for Agave Pantry at the MSA Annex Summer Night Market in September!

Have you been fortunate to try one of Shazieh’s amazing goodies? If so, what are your favorites?

A Fresh Start with Day One. Skincare

The wise Ilona Royce Smithkin recently posted on her Instagram, “Take care of your body, it’s your best friend!”

The Advanced Style star’s words couldn’t be more true. I’m so glad I switched over to natural skincare products a couple years back, as I hope that the non-toxic products will help take care of my “best friend” for the rest of my life. I’ve noticed a big difference in the overall appearance of my skin, and I’ve been told a lot lately that I look like I’m still in my 20s (which is great). I’ve been so lucky to have connected with numerous local, natural and organic skincare brands throughout these couple years, mainly in Arizona, but also a couple amazing companies in Houston as well. I’m so pleased to share with you, the story of a company that just recently launched not too long ago…

Day One. is a small Phoenix-based skincare company that was created by Alexandra Stein in December 2017.  I had the pleasure of meeting her when I stopped by Pop PHX on my last visit to Phoenix. I had originally e-met her on Instagram through mutual friends, and I was thrilled when I found out that she was vending at the shop when I’d be in town.

While at the shop, I was introduced to naturally-made small batch bars of soap, deodorant, lip balm, and bath soaks, whose primary ingredients include: Isolated Cannabidiol and Full Spectrum Hemp Extract. Alex is a firm believer of only using organic, non-toxic products on your body, as well as being an advocate for cannabis and hemp. You can read more about the use of the plant with her products HERE. We also chatted about the importance of a natural deodorant that works. I can vouch for the fact that Day One.’s aluminum-free version does work for me. I still sweat, however, I don’t stink, thanks to the AHHHmazing fresh tea tree scent that emits from my armpits. Alex also loves it, and feels that it’s been a godsend to her own armpits as well. It was also interesting finding out more about her growing brand…

LAFS: Tell me a little about yourself, and what inspired you to start a skincare company?

AS: I grew up in Phoenix, AZ but spent my formative years at a boarding school in central Arizona. As soon as I graduated I packed and moved to Chicago where I lived for 5 years, eventually moving back to Phoenix after graduating from Loyola University Chicago with two bachelors degrees. The last 9 years in Phoenix have been a rollercoaster! With deciding to leave my corporate job and start my journey into entrepreneurship 3 years ago, I never would’ve envisioned being where I am now. I worked for years in marketing and public relations and made the jump to sales after leaving my job at an ad tech startup. I was making great money but I wasn’t happy. That’s ultimately when I decided to combine my passion for helping people and advocacy for cannabis and hemp, and turn it into my own organic skin care company…My passion for skincare and creating products started during my teenage years and progressed as I moved back to Phoenix. While living in the Midwest, I experienced a complete 180 in terms of skincare problems from growing up in Phoenix and spent lots of time making DIY face masks and shopping at Lush with my college girlfriends. I feel self-care routines are important to help us destress from our everyday troubles and have been taking baths to relax since childhood. Making the bath soak came about after creating bath bombs and really not liking how my skin felt after using them during my own bathing routine. While fun to watch and swirl about in, when I moved back to Phoenix after graduating, I took what I learned from living in the harsh and windy climate of Chicago and experimented with my own products at home. It wasn’t until I made my first batch of cold process soap in 2015 that I knew I was here to bring back bar soap in a big way.

LAFS: What inspired the name, “Day One.?”

AS: When I thought about the name, a fresh start. Also, the beginning of a new routine. Beyond our purpose of “empowering the public to make conscious health and beauty choices”, I want to inspire others to be their most authentic self while treating their bodies and skin with the utmost love and care. Education and transparency have been a huge selling point for my products. I want people to start their journey into non-toxic skincare and hygiene products with Day One. and I’m hoping I’m creating a loyal following for my niche.

LAFS: What makes Day One. stand out, in your opinion?

AS: Our products are free of palm oil and toxic ingredients. Two things that remain in many over-the-counter soaps and hygiene products. They are also made with a proprietary hemp seed oil that’s infused with an additional raw extract from hemp and isolated cannabidiol, both extracted with minimal solvents and imported from Europe. The combination of organic ingredients with the added benefit of hemp makes Day One. stand out.

Find Day One. online, Facebook, and Instagram!

Day One., natural skincare, bath salts

Day One., natural skincare

Day One., natural skincare

Day One., natural skincare, soap bar

Joon Hair Elixir Oil – Modern Chemistry Meets Ancient Persian Plant Power

Joon Saffron Hair Oil, natural hair care, beauty

For thousands of years, plants have always been one of the main sources of ingredients for beauty products and skincare rituals. Siblings Shiva and Kayvon Tavakoli harnessed their Persian roots to create the ultimate hair elixir- Joon’s Saffron Hair Oil. This oil was actually featured in Allure Magazine as one of the “Best Hair Oils of 2017.”

It all started when the duo spent their summers with their grandparents in Iran. Shiva recalls, “My grandpa was a businessman that exported exotic Persian spices, such as saffron. My grandmother used these same spices and herbs in not only her cooking, but also her beauty rituals. This is where we learned about our culture and also along with it, the deep DIY, natural remedies from anything from hair loss to stomachaches.”

Shiva and Kayvon also have the fundamentals of the beauty industry in their blood. “After my father received his PH.D. in chemical engineering, he moved to Houston to work in the oil and gas industry, which he did for several years. Eventually, he began itching to start his own business. When there was a salon that was up for sale, he decided to buy it. It became one of the top salons in Houston. From that one salon, he began his chain. He owned over 150 salons at one point. As he was expanding his salons, he decided he was unhappy with the quality of hair care products that were available, so he decided to start his own haircare laboratory. He ended up selling his salon empire, but he kept the laboratory, which is where we still private label and make our own hair care products, including Joon. My brother and I worked in both the salons and the laboratory.”

Their hair oil has since been a hit with all hair types, and has been featured in numerous publications. “Our line is universal, and our saffron hair elixir works on many different hair types. I also want to highlight a diverse group of people who generally have been shut out of the mainstream beauty conversation. They tend to be Middle Eastern, South Asian, Hispanic, Black, and it goes on. I think no matter where you come from, and who you are, it’s important to be true to yourself. There is something to learn from every culture,” Shiva explained. “We make cruelty-free products and use non-toxic ingredients. Besides the obvious fact that non-toxic ingredients are better for everyone, the line was also inspired by Persian culture. Persians use a lot of plant-based remedies in their beauty rituals. I wanted to create safe products that are also in line with my Persian background…I have never heard of a Persian inspired hair care line prior to Joon. The Persian ingredients, such as the saffron (actually floating in the bottle), are not commonly used ingredients in beauty. You will be seeing a lot of new ingredients in our upcoming products that have a lot of benefits for the hair.”

I’ve personally used this product mainly after I’ve washed my hair, or sometimes in the mornings when I feel that my hair needs a refresher. I love that it’s cruelty-free, so I can feel good about putting it in my hair. I rub the remaining oil into my hands, and it also makes a great smelling moisturizer. Other ingredients in the product are rose and pistachio. Pistachio is known to help nourish and moisturize bouncy and smooth hair, while rose is known to help with hair repair.

“It’s a pretty versatile product. You can use the Saffron Hair Elixir on both dry or damp hair. Put a few drops into your hands, rub it together to evenly distribute the product, and then apply it to your hair length and ends. You can even use it before and after styling, and also as an overnight treatment.” Shiva also goes on to recommend that you wash your hair with lukewarm or cold water, as hot water can dry out hair and make it more brittle, as well as weaken the roots.

“We are about to work on creating our next product. I always want to get input from the Joonies before I create anything new. If you want to be a part of our product creation, or just keep up with the latest hair tips and launches, you can always go on our website, and join our Joon email list. Or follow us @joonhaircare.”

Joon Saffron Hair Oil, natural hair care, beauty

 

 

 

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