journal

why i love our old fashioned lip balm February 18 2016, 0 Comments

The Old Fashioned lip balm, was inspired, plain and simply, by bourbon. Back in my childless days, bourbon on the rocks was my night cap; bourbon and soda was my wedding drink. It was tough to create a balm that smelled exactly like the glorious liquor, but one that smelled like a bourbon-based cocktail, well, that, I could do.

After 23 tries, I crafted a balm scented with a blend of cedar, bitter orange, black pepper, vanilla and cinnamon. It's reminiscent of a cocktail, for sure, but also a grandfather's pipe or other things you might call old fashioned. This balm is our bestseller by far. It's become our signature product and our absolute customer favorite. 

Oh and for the sticklers out there: Before you think we serve our Old Fashioneds in a coupe—as if! The drink in the photo is actually a Brooklyn, another one of our favorite whiskey cocktails. 

If you're intrigued, try our Old Fashioned lip balm. 


why i love our La Nuit lip balm February 14 2016, 0 Comments

A few years ago, I created this delicious jasmine-scented lip balm especially for Valentine's Day. It's probably the product that took me the longest amount of time to develop. I knew I wanted to work with jasmine—it smells so incredible and both men and women are drawn to its spicy, floral scent. I added Peru balsam, which has a spicy, sticky, almost vanilla-like smell. All I needed was a top note. I tried several different citrus and herb combinations. All were overpowering. Then I landed on bergamot, the citrus used to flavor Earl Grey tea. I loved how, when these three oils were blended together, I could smell each distinct note as well as something that was more than the sum of its parts. 
The name of the balm took a few weeks to settle, but when I remembered that jasmine is most fragrant at night, I knew it had to be La Nuit, which means "the night" in French. Like the Old Fashioned, the name invokes a vibe—in this case, it's something sensual and sexy and a little exotic. (And anything said in French is instantly sexier, right?)

why i love our bare lip balm February 09 2016, 1 Comment

Our Bare lip balm, with no added scent, is made with the most sensitive folks in mind. It contains cocoa butter, which gives the balm a luscious texture as well as rosehip seed oil, which has anti-inflammatory properties. Oh, and did we mention, it's certified organic! 

There are many days you can apply this lip balm once in the morning and not think about it for the rest of the day. (And heck, you can apply it to more than just your lips...it can also moisturize cuticles and cheeks in a pinch.)

Like a good pair of black jeans, it's stylishly neutral and will protect you from those awful urban winters. While I don't like to play favorites, this is the balm I use most often. It accompanies me wherever I go! But don't let this photo make you think it's at all girly. Nope, it's a favorite of our guy customers as well.

If you're intrigued, try our Bare lip balm. 


why i started stewart & claire February 08 2016, 1 Comment

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about why I started Stewart & Claire. Yes, it was because I love lip balm and the inspiration for the brand did start over cocktails, per our company’s lore. But it was actually more than that. I wanted to make a product people really truly loved. One that made a decision for them by being the absolute perfect thing. Just what they needed.

In my life, Everlane has helped me immensely by crafting clothes I want to wear every day. And Heath Ceramics does this with dishes. I feel at peace knowing I have these things that I absolutely love to use. That I don’t have to be distracted by the new and the next and add excess clutter to my life.

For many of us, lip balm can be the same way. It’s a tiny product, but a mighty one. Many of us use it all the time, multiple times a day, in fact. It accompanies us throughout our days, our journeys. Some of us get nervous or even irritated when we don’t have it. (You know you know that feeling.) ;)

Before I created Stewart & Claire, I never loved any particular balm that much, but I wanted to. I wanted something natural, preferably organic, with a grown-up package and scent (or no scent at all for when I was having one of those days). Something that was smooth but not greasy. And so that’s why we’re here. Because I was sure that if toiled enough to create something I loved, enough other people would learn to love it, too. They would feel happier, more at ease, and maybe even, more beautiful and confident having the balm in their pockets.

For these next few weeks, during this month of love, I’m going to share more about why I created each of our lip balms as well as why I love it. And I promise that as our company moves forward and maybe, eventually, moves beyond lip balm, I will use the same philosophy with anything S&C puts out into the world.


we're in Southern Living magazine! June 25 2015, 0 Comments

 

The gorgeous, smart Amanda McClements of Washington, DC, lifestyle boutiques, Salt & Sundry, mentioned our balms in Southern LivingWe couldn't be more thrilled. Thanks Amanda!


introducing the Negroni lip balm May 15 2015, 2 Comments

Stewart & Claire Negroni lip balm in progress.

When people working with Campari contacted us about creating a negroni lip balm, I almost said no. Campari, the crimson aperitif liqueur, is an infusion of more botanicals than I can identify. The other two ingredients, sweet vermouth and gin, pile on scents and flavors from more spices, herbs and tree barks. 

But then, I became too intrigued. I mixed myself a negroni and went back and forth, smelling the cocktail while I added different essential oils and extracts to small bowls of oil. After a few days of this, I settled on a formula, and at the last minute, I told them, Yes! Yes I can make a Negroni lip balm. And it will be awesome. 

I created this lip balm as part of Negroni Week, which starts June 1. From now until the end of Negroni week, we will donate $1 for every Negroni lip balm sold online to the Grameen Foundation

Enjoy!

- Kristin


we're in Vogue! January 30 2015, 0 Comments

 

The rose-and-mint-scented lip balm we created for Boston-based beauty shop, Follain, made its way onto the pages of February's Vogue


taking a little break December 24 2014, 0 Comments

Thank you for helping us have an incredible holiday season. We will be taking a much-needed break and will resume shipping January 2. We hope you have a wonderful transition into 2015.

how we plan to give back November 22 2014, 0 Comments

 

We recently signed up to receive Google alerts for the keyword, "lip balm." (Please don't ask us why this took three years.) Along with cute articles about unconventional ways to use lip balm and stories about the growing lip balm market (like this one from the Associated Press featuring yours truly!), we see many, many requests for lip balm donations from homeless outreach organizations all over the US. 


Since starting our company in 2011, we've thought about how we can change a little piece of the world (in addition to creating a great product, of course!). These frequent Google alerts reminded us that food, water and shelter aren't the only necessities. Personal care items (yep, including lip balm!) keep people clean, comfortable and healthy, and that is important. We've decided that it's time to share our lip balms with more people, especially with those who might not otherwise have access to them.

We were already going to donate lip balm to NYC Rescue Mission this year. Then we thought, Why not get you, our most faithful fans, involved? So, here's the deal: For every lip balm we sell from our online shop, from now through the end of the year, we will donate one to NYC Rescue Mission. If we collect more donations than one organization can use, then we'll spread the S&C love to others.

In this spirit of giving, we created a few easy-to-grab gift sets. Plus, we curated a mix of buyable and DIY-able gifts over on Pinterest to help inspire you this holiday season. (To those of you who read this far, we hid a discount code on the Pinterest Gifts page!) 

If you like these ideas, could you share them with your friends?


why we love death & co October 07 2014, 0 Comments

We first started Stewart & Claire out of our fourth-floor walk-up apartment in Manhattan's East Village, right in the center of the cocktail universe. Within those few blocks were the legendary PDT, the tequila-focused Mayahuel and the bitters-obsessed Amor y Amargo. And then there was Death & Co. Windowless, with a hulking dungeon-like door, two-hour-plus waits on the weekends and drinks full of ingredients you never heard of, you'd think this bar was untouchable and deeply pretentious.  

Because we were lucky enough to live around the corner, we knew this wasn't the case at all. We'd often slip in on Saturday evenings at 6 pm, just as the bouncer started his shift, and nab seats at the marble bar. We loved watching the bartenders mix the house-made tinctures with obscure booze sourced from even more obscure parts of the world and ultimately pour the drink into a beautiful and very specific glass.

To some people, the pomp and circumstance just to have a cocktail might have seemed ridiculous, but we loved the magic of it all. The ceremony, the conversations we had with the bartenders and the feeling of being enveloped in this luxe cave-like space away from the mayhem of the East Village were all part of the experience. 

As we relaxed into our drinks, we'd often talk about what we wanted from life. Should we move to Brooklyn? Maybe have a kid? Should I see if I could really turn this lip balm-making hobby into a business? When I eventually started working with our graphic designer to create Stewart & Claire's branding, Death & Co's ornate Victorian graphics and materials juxtaposed with its warm, rustic touches absolutely influenced me. 

Fast forward a few years. We have moved to Brooklyn. We do have a kid. We are, indeed, working on this business. Thanks to all of this life change, we now rarely go Death & Co, but it's still a very special place for us.

Coincidentally, a very good friend, who is a literary agent, helped Death & Co sell its book to Ten Speed Press. Another friend helped write the book. 

Earlier this year, when plotting our first limited edition collection, I remembered that the Death & Co book would be out in the fall. I floated the idea of a collaboration by the owner, David Kaplan, and he loved it. 

Instead of mimicking specific cocktails, we decided to create balms inspired by categories of drinks--boozy, citrusy and smoky. Like Death & Co's drinks, the balms are complex and interesting but still inviting. For two of the balms, we used illustrations from Death & Co's incredible artist, Tim Tomkinson. We're packaging them in hand-stamped muslin bags, each of which is hand-numbered. And at the end of the year, we will stop producing them forever. 

If you love cocktails, our quirkier lip balms or just weird experiments in collaboration, we hope you'll give the collection a try. 

 


our first limited edition collection October 03 2014, 0 Comments

 

Next week, the stunning book from our favorite New York City bar, Death & Co , is officially on sale. (You can pre-ord er here  it now). 


Inspired by the book, we’re going to release our first-ever limited edition collection of lip balms—a collaboration with Death & Co’s founder and owner, David Kaplan.

Stay tuned for more details about the collection, and in the meantime, enjoy this recipe from Death & Co. Happy Friday and cheers!

 

Photograph by William Hereford. Courtesy of Ten Speed Press. 

 

From Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails, with More than 500 Recipes.
Courtesy of Ten Speed Press. 


by David Kaplan, Nick Fauchald and Alex Day

APERITIVO JULEP
Alex Day
 
Here’s an example of what great a cocktail should be: a whole that’s much better than the sum of its parts. Anytime a bottle of something new or foreign shows up at Death & Co, we taste it and keep it in mind for creating new drinks. The afternoon the deliciously bittersweet Amaro CioCiaro showed up, Alex had a sip that lingered in his head through that  night’s service. At some point he was mixing a drink made with Massenez Crème de Pêche, and a whiff of that heady peach liqueur synced up with the amaro and Dolin dry vermouth, another new favorite at the bar. Bartenders often scoff at low-alcohol drinks, so he thought it would be fun to serve this drink in a vessel that usually indicates a boozy concoction—the julep tin—and give it an oxymoronic name.
 
2 ounces dolin dry
Vermouth
¾ ounce amaro ciociaro
1 teaspoon massenez crème de pêche peach liqueur
Garnish: 1 mint bouquet
 
Put all the ingredients in a julep tin. Fill the tin halfway with crushed ice. Stir with a bar spoon, churning the ice as you go, for about 10 seconds, holding the drink by the rim so the entire tin can eventually frost up. Add more crushed ice to fill the tin two-thirds full and stir until the tin is completely frosted. Add more ice to form a cone above the rim. Garnish with the mint bouquet in the center of the ice and serve with a straw.


want more kissable lips? September 18 2014, 0 Comments

You know how, sometimes, no matter how much balm you apply, your lips are still dry and flaky? That's because, just like other parts of your body, you need to exfoliate them. Unlike other skin, lips need special treatment. They're sensitive and must be handled with care. 

To combat this problem, we're thrilled to introduce our very first lip scrub, which we call Mint Julep.

To make it, we blend organic sugar, oils and butters with vegetable glycerin so it's ultra-moisturizing and delicate enough for lips. Then we scent it with mint, cedar and black pepper, so the experience of using the scrub is invigorating, much like its namesake cocktail. And that's a fantastic way to start the day, don't you say?