Downtown may still feature a prominent financial district, but we think it’s quickly becoming a boutique scene. With new or soon-to-come residents including the Heidi Elnora Atelier, Alchemy 213 and Botaniko, it’s a scene that caters as much to Loft District residents and out-of-town Redmont guests as it does to the banking establishment. And while the Loft District embraces the heady hubris of modern city living, it also demonstrates a commitment to place. It revels in the unique identity Birmingham is building, and businesses like Botaniko are part of that brand.
Located on the third floor at 310 Richard Arrington Jr. Boulevard North, Botaniko offers a bright, terrarium-filled space to browse for natural skin care and perfume products. Part modern skin-care lab and part classic apothecary, it blends the natural charm of its Stone Hollow Farm origins with the high-end polish of an urban body care brand.
Stone Hollow Farmstead founder Deborah Stone began her entrepreneurial career running a day spa out of the Colonnade, according to AL.com. As she moved her family to the farm in the early aughts, she used the farm’s herbal harvests to formulate skin care products for St. Vincent’s One Nineteen Health and Wellness, the article explains. So while she may be better known nowadays for her goat cheese creations, skin care has always been part of her process.
The farm-side move was, in part, an effort to reconnect with her roots, according to the AL.com piece, and in her Botaniko profile, Stone focuses on the interaction between Botaniko’s scent products and her own memories. “I purchased the farm and began the rediscovery of nature,” she writes. “Scent memories are powerful, lasting and have provided direction on so many levels of my return to the good life.”
A 2011 b-metro feature cast daughter Alexandra Stone, now owner of Botaniko’s storefront, Botaniko Skin & Lifestyle Studio, as an intriguing combination of her family’s farm heritage and a worldly, high-fashion polish. With an educational background in fashion and graphic design, along with cosmetics marketing experience, the piece suggests her stylish street cred is real.
This organic, high fashion mother/daughter dynamic plays well with the Loft District’s food scene and many of its residents. Urbanism here is high-design but also locally sourced, with restaurants drawing on the state’s farmers for seasonal produce and heritage proteins. As much as there’s a return to the heady energy of city living, there remains a strong draw to the natural environment that sustains city dwellers. It’s synergistic, really, exactly like Botaniko’s branding.
We may not all want to live on farms, but we want to know they still exist. We want the convenience of city shopping and the authenticity of homegrown products. We want the science and technology that drive modern cities and the handcrafted history that makes them special. It’s a fair guess, in other words, that the Loft District wants Botaniko.