In an age where many storeowners are abandoning their brick-and-mortar stores to try their luck selling goods online, Elizabeth Devos is going against the grain by bringing independently owned beauty products that are mostly sold online to a strip mall. She opened Vosenna in the Lamp Post Plaza in early June.
The store carries exclusively “indie” brands of makeup and skin care, body care, and hair products. “We’re talking about small manufacturers,” Devos explains. “Nothing is beholden to shareholders, nothing is mass-conglomerate-made. Everything is made in the U.S. and not tested on animals.” A number also are organic, gluten free, GMO free, and vegan. According to Devos, the differences grow from there. “Each brand has their own story,” she says. Maia’s Mineral Galaxy, for instance, was started by a woman in Maryland who found wearing traditional makeup was giving her acne breakouts. Girlactik, on the other hand, was started by a celebrity makeup artist who wanted to get the “glam glow” look to last longer for her clients on the red carpet.
Devos says most of the brands she carries are primarily sold online by their manufacturers to small bases of loyal customers. A former professor at EMU’s school of business with a longstanding interest in beauty, she saw “a gap in the marketplace” for bringing those brands to a physical store. She hopes to have customers who come in for one brand and discover several more. Plus, “as much as people say they love shopping online, beauty is one of the only industries that sells better in person than online.”
Proving her point, she has portable “testing stations,” carts with wheels carrying disposable application tools for customers to use when trying on the samples (there’s one for nearly every product). Several makeup mirrors sit atop a large circular table in the middle of the store.
While the stone-grey walls, brushed nickel accents, and light wooden floor give the store a high-end designer feel, Devos says she has something for everyone. Many of the indie products have prices competitive with drugstore brands, she says, “at much better quality.”
The store also has a shelf devoted to products for men, a shelf of cruelty-free makeup brushes, and a selection of glass-over-artisan-paper jewelry from Michigan-based Glassology.
In the works for Devos is her own line of Vosenna products, starting with an aloe-based liquid foundation designed to minimize skin breakouts.
The store’s logo is an angular fox wearing makeup, in a nod to Devos’s last name (Dutch for “the fox”), which in turn inspired the name Vosenna: a combination of Devos’s name and the names of her twin thirteen-year-old sons: Elden and Enthony. “They both have ‘en’s in their names,” says Devos, “and then I just put the ‘a’ on the end to just kind of feminize it.”
Vosenna, 2386 E. Stadium Blvd. (Lamp Post Plaza). (734) 929-4356. Daily, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. facebook.com/Vosenna