BEAUTY WITHOUT THE BS
We had the chance to speak with Alayne White, published author and local business owner about her store, the services she offers, and her goals for the future.
Alayne’s business started off as a traditional day spa, but being in a “high touch” business required some redirection when COVID caused her to close her shop. “Now we do high level facials, herbal foot soaks in our garden in the backyard, just really beautiful services, gift boxes, and events. Right now I’m creating a typewriter museum because I collect typewriters. So it’s kind of this weird mix of beauty, custom curated gift boxes that I mail all over the country, and then of course, what we’re known for, which is our facial business. So it’s a strange mix, but writing retreats, and typing events.” These services can be booked online through the webstore, and all services are by appointment only.
“One of the ideas behind the typewriter museum is so that you’ll be able to walk in here in the fall, take a typewriter down from the shelf, and type a note or write a letter to somebody, and then I’ll have stamps and we’ll mail it foryou. I’m trying to get more people to get back to self care.” And it has made serendipitous progress – not only has Alayne been collecting them and creating her vision, but one of her clients’ daughters also collects typewriters. Because of these connections, Alayne found herself hiring an intern to do more research on the typewriters to bring even more to the experience. “I have about 50 typewriters, and I’ve got them all out in the space. I actually have an intern this fall who’s going to do more research on the typewriters, and we’ll set up a little card by each one with its history and where it comes from.”
A fun fact about typewriters is that on the old ones, there’s no exclamation point. “Oh, people didn’t talk with symbols,” Alayne explained. “They talked with language. That’s one of my favorite things to teach kids. When I start telling them about how to use a typewriter, they always ask me, ‘Where’s the exclamation point?’ People used to talk with language instead of symbols.” Another thing she loves about typewriters? “There’s no delete button! So all of your mistakes stay in the forefront, and that’s kind of a hard thing to wrap your head around. But it’s pretty delightful, and you can see the progress you’ve made.”
The more traditional beauty services – facials, massages, and other similar services – combined with this opportunity for internal reflection sets Alayne’s work apart from any other. “Our original mission was to give people thoughtful treatments with continuous surprises, always changing and evolving our business. We want to give the customer not only what they know they need, but also what we know they need. So beauty is our way in; I think what I do really well is getting people in the door thinking they’re coming in for an external service and then we get to them without them knowing,” Alayne said, with a bit of a laugh. “Because it’ll be a great treatment, but we have lots of other things, too. So usually, when people come in here, there’s lots to look at, like the old typewriters and old cookbooks. And my goal is really for the women who come in to be able to sit down with a cup of tea and look at an old cookbook or type a letter. And maybe that’s part of their facial experience.
“Everybody’s rushing in and rushing out and we’re trying to slow it down. This is more a place of serious retreat than just a facial business. We’re a place where you get to take a breath and connect with yourself. That doesn’t mean that you have to have a treatment, you can come in here and have a cup of tea and hang out. I’m going to be doing a lot of reading and writing retreats in the future too. We have a writing retreat and art and self care events coming up. That’s what I really want to do. I want to get more people here intending to spend more time on self discovery.”
Alayne’s favorite part of her work is connecting with like-minded women and helping them lessen their burdens: “I watch the relief in their eyes when they can actually bring their shoulders down and take a breath and have some respite. And I think that’s what people really need right now is respite from the outside forces of the world, and we can offer a small piece of that.”
Beyond all of these activities, Alayne is also the author of Life Cycling, a book about her spin on life and all the moving parts. She started writing in the third grade, and for about seven years, she’s been blogging consistently to some good success, with articles on Medium as well.
You can check out Alayne’s shop online here to set up an appointment. Her shop can be found at 11 Constitution Street in Bristol, Rhode Island.