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2024
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Tasha Rupert stands near the downstairs entrance to her new store, Rooted Essentials, located on Xenia Avenue over the Winds Cafe. The store offers handmade, vegan skincare and household products. (Photo by Lauren "Chuck" Shows)

Vegan skincare at Rooted Essentials

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Yellow Springs residents now have a local place to find eco-friendly personal care products right downtown: Rooted Essentials, located at 213 Xenia Ave., #3, over The Winds, held its soft opening last weekend.

Rooted Essentials owner and proprietor Tasha Rupert told the News this week that her new shop offers a range of handcrafted vegan body soaps, body butters, lotion bars and other skincare products, as well as natural beeswax candles and dish and laundry soaps. None of the products at Rooted Essentials employ synthetic fragrances or coloring, she said.

“I only use essential oils; all my colorants are derived from nature — things like turmeric and charcoal and clays and roots, a lot of botanical infusions,” Rupert said. “I like to say I co-create with Mother Nature.”

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The shop also features handmade items from area artisans, as well as a retro gumball machine filled with crystals for purchase by the quarter.

Originally from West Chester, Ohio, Rupert said she and her family moved to Yellow Springs in 2020. As a “longtime appreciator” of the village, Rupert said the village seemed like a good fit for herself, her husband and their two children.

“The energy and the eclectic, artistic feel of town is just so unique and beautiful,” she said.

Rupert’s foray into natural skincare products began with making soaps for use by her own family in order to move away from using store-bought products and toward being “more natural and more holistic-minded.” Soon, she began gifting her soaps to friends and extended family as well. Then 2020 rolled around, and the pandemic, which kept so many working from home, gave Rupert an opportunity to branch out.

“As I was doing it more and more, getting more creative and trying different new techniques and styles, I just became in love with it,” she said.

Rupert began selling her wares on Etsy during the pandemic and continues selling online. Later, as the world opened up, she moved to farmers markets, including the 4 Season Farmers’ Market in Yellow Springs, and began expanding her product line as well.

With regard to moving into a brick-and-mortar space, Rupert said she wasn’t necessarily on the hunt, but when she noticed the 680-square-foot shop above The Winds was available, she went ahead and took a look around.

“And I just fell in love with it,” she said. “It wasn’t something I originally anticipated happening so quickly, but it just kind of all worked itself out over the last couple of months.”

Rupert’s products are displayed along the walls of the shop, with space left open in the center for workshops she aims to hold in the future, including soap-making classes for both adults and kids. For younger folks, she said, she’ll stick to the “melt-and-pour” method, by which liquid soap is poured into fun molds to set. For adults, she’ll focus on the traditional cold process, which involves combining fat with lye to create a chemical reaction that results in soap — a reaction that takes up to 48 hours to complete, after which the soap must be cured for several weeks.

The cold process is the same method that soapmakers have used for hundreds of years — and it’s the process Rupert uses for many of her products. She’s moved soap production out of her home and into the Xenia Avenue store, and has set up a workspace that will typically be separated from the retail side of things — though Rupert said she may put her soap-making skills on display from time to time.

“One of the biggest questions I get is, ‘Do you actually make all of this stuff?’” she said. “I think it’s sometimes nice for people to be able to come see that everything is made in the store.”

In a commitment to ongoing sustainability, Rupert said Rooted Essentials also features a refilling station for some of the products she sells, including shampoo, conditioner and laundry soap. Folks can bring in their own containers, or purchase refillable glass bottles from the store, and pay for products by the ounce.

“It avoids the plastic, and it also keeps people on budget if they just want a little bit of product,” Rupert said.

If you forget your container, but don’t want to purchase one of the glass bottles Rupert has on offer, recycled and donated glass jars of different shapes and sizes — cleaned and sterilized — will be available for $1.

Looking ahead, Rupert said she hopes to expand both the business hours and her offerings in the future. At the moment, open hours are Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., though Rupert said she may expand them as the village moves into the warmer months and more visitors come to town.

Rupert said she also hopes to become a full-fledged apothecary; currently, she offers a limited range of herbs for purchase, but she hopes to offer 40 to 60 herbs in the future.

“Similar to the refill station, you could come in and get your rose petals or calendula or your lemon balm, or any type of those dried herbs and botanicals,” she said.

For more information on Rooted Essentials, go to http://www.facebook.com/rootedessentialsohio.

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