When Leilani Bishop and Bethany Mayer first decided to build East Coast apothecary Botanica Bazaar, it was with a resolute determination to champion a holistic approach to natural beauty and wellness. Two years later, they’re opening up their second location in Los Angeles. We got a chance to sit down with them, discuss their journey and their own insights into living well.
How did you first decide to set up Botanica Bazaar?
Leilani: We both wanted to be more involved in our town of Amagansett, and create a store that satisfied a need in our community. When we first talked about our ideas, we were both thinking the same thing, which was great… it was super easy to say yes to partnering up!
Bethany: Exactly! We both saw so many new and innovative natural products that were grossly under represented – and we wanted to support the chemical-free direction that health, wellness and beauty are heading towards.
How have each of your backgrounds informed the business? Have you taken inspiration from anywhere else?
Leilani: I come from a fashion and beauty background and Bethany comes from a fashion design and retail background – both have helped with our product knowledge and getting the store open. I also believe that we both pull from our personal lives and our interests in health. Plus, having children strengthened both of our desires to live a non-toxic life.
Why is natural beauty important to you both?
Leilani: I love make-up and beauty but, having grown up in a natural environment, I don’t like toxic or synthetic smells. The ingredients in products can actually help with supporting your system as well as giving you that ‘feel good’ feeling that comes with taking care of yourself and making yourself up for your day. I want women and men to be able to enjoy their routines while knowing that they are not compromising their health.
Bethany: I am a minimalist and I didn’t use to use any products, for beauty or for medicine; as a life-long vegetarian, I have always abstained from what I feel is not a natural way of living. However as I matured and had children, I could see the benefits of adding some key natural remedies, products and daily regimes into my life to support my body to do what it naturally does so well.
Inside their Amagansett, NY store.
Do you feel as though beauty feeds into holistic wellness? Are the two connected for you?
Leilani: Yes, I believe that 100% — to me, holistic wellness covers mind, body and spirit: I think that all three need to be cultivated to live a well-rounded life. Feeling good about yourself and your body comes from both internal and external care.
Bethany: I couldn’t say it better myself!
How do you choose what you stock in the store?
Leilani: We pride ourselves on our tight curation: we don’t want to overwhelm our customers with too many options for one type of product.
Bethany: We really try to curate our offering based on a set of guidelines that reassure our customers that they are getting a chemical free and as organic as possible approach to their health, wellness, and beauty needs. We practice what we preach and test our products personally before they are introduced to the store, and we vet them for chemicals and added preservatives. We take this very seriously and want to present a place where our customers feel safe, and that they are well informed on what they are getting from us.
What do you love about Immunocologie?
Leilani: We love the brand ethos, and the science behind it: using beauty care as health care is the wave of the future. I struggle with dark spots and eye bags so I love the Oxygen Treatment Crème and the Intense Eye Crème.
Bethany: I love that we share the same rigorous attention to science and ingredients. As a former environmental scientist, I think that inspires me the most. I also love the glass packaging (I detest plastic) and the aesthetic of the brand. My current favorite is the Body Serum!
Can you talk us through each of your skincare routines?
Leilani: I am pretty simple: in the morning I use a cleanser in the shower and then will use a Serum, Intense Eye Crème and Day Protection. I reapply moisturizer throughout the day using oils and sprays. The evening is when I would do a face mask, after cleansing from the day – either a hydrating or resurfacing mask – with a heavier cream for evening if I’m not using an overnight mask.
Bethany: I use the Cleansing Lotion for my face and, after showering, I apply the Body Serum all over. Then I follow up with the Hyaluronic Serum for hydration, and the Intense Eye Crème.
What is the most important piece of advice you give your customers when looking for a product suited to them?
Leilani: We love to have them try it in the store, or we will let them take a little sample home with them – because, at the end of the day, everyone’s skin is different. Only you as an individual know what works best for you; we can steer you in the right direction, but your routine should be unique to your needs and wants.
Do you have any mottoes, or mantras, that you live by and run the business in light of?
Leilani: As I get older, I truly try to only do what makes me happy – and only work with brands and people that make my day a better one.
Bethany: I like to have fun and feel good about what I am doing. If there is no joy for me, then others will not feel the joy!
Botanica Bazaar is open 7 days a week from 10am-6pm. You can also find their full selection of products, including Immunocologie,