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Painlessly Beautiful: Non-toxic beauty products take flight at Fine Feather

Olivia Balcerzak

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The old saying ‘beauty is pain’ has been around for ages—but that will not hold true for much longer, according to Diana Wang, owner of Fine Feather. The Grandview shop is challenging the old phrase, proving that beauty should not be painful.

“I care so much about people having access to healthy products and being an empowered consumer,” Wang said. “Everything we carry is clean and I have set the standards for everything that we carry, and the standards I’ve set are very strict.”

Fine Feather is a new store that carries exclusively non-toxic health and beauty products including skin, hair and body care, makeup, nail color, personal fragrances, aromatherapy, and wellness supplies. Wang said each of the products in the store is hand picked by her after extensive research to confirm that there are no harmful toxins in the products.

Photos: Brian Kaiser

“I was a customer of a lot of the brands before I carried them here, so I can speak on just how well they worked,” Wang said.

She created Fine Feather after realizing that, despite the growing size and population in Columbus, there was a lack of clean beauty stores.

“I was really frustrated with the fact that I looked around Columbus for a clean foundation and I could find nothing here,” Wang said. “You can find almost everything here, but why can’t we find clean beauty brands here?”

This led her to do more research. “I had come across a few independent stores across the U.S. that carried only clean beauty and I looked at them and I was thinking to myself, ‘I really really wish someone would bring this here,’” Wang said. “I just finally realized maybe I can’t stop thinking about this, because I should be the person to do it.”

Wang began working on what is now Fine Feather full-time in January 2018, and the store opened officially in August of this year. While the store is still very new, the movement towards clean beauty is one Wang said has been around for a while and will only continue to grow in the near future.

“I really believe that clean beauty is going to become the norm someday,” Wang said. “I think the goal of anyone in beauty, whether they’re a retailer or a brand, is for clean beauty to just be beauty.”

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With that said, Wang recognizes that there is still a long way to go before “beauty” means without toxins—at least in America. According to Wang, the FDA is very limited in the amount of toxins that they can ban from the U.S.

“As a consumer […] I wasn’t very well-informed; most people are not very well-informed and that’s not our fault—we kind of default to trusting those in power,” Wang said. “We assume our government is looking out for us; our government is not allowing for toxic ingredients that could harm us to be put into these products, but they actually are.”

In fact, Wang said, the U.S. only bans 30 toxic ingredients from their beauty products, whereas Canada bans over 600 and Europe bans 1,400. Because of the lack of regulation, she said that the addition of the word “natural” to beauty products has no meaning.

“For a brand to call itself or its products natural, they can do that here because no one’s regulating, no one’s saying ‘what do you mean by natural?’ it is whatever they define as natural,” Wang said. “Because that word is not regulated, and that’s a word that people who don’t use clean products throw around a lot, so it’s lost its meaning.”

For that reason, Wang said she does not use the word natural to describe Fine Feather, either. Rather, she informs potential clients that all of the products are free of toxins and clean. Informing consumers about the products in the store, their uses, and the ingredients in them is a part of the experience customers can expect upon entering Fine Feather.

“I want it to be a place of high engagement and I really wanted to educate people who want to be educated,” Wang said.

That is why Wang said she added another component to the Fine Feather experience. A couple of times a month, Fine Feather hosts educational events that are $10 or less (and oftentimes free) to attend, and are open to the public.

“I really wanted the store to be more than just a place where you can buy products,” Wang said. “I wanted it to be a place where you can cultivate community, education and empowerment.”

Fine Feather is located at 1201 Grandview Avenue. All events can be found on Fine Feather’s Instagram page at finefeathershop.

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Community

Columbus Does Good: The COVID-19 edition

Linda Lee Baird

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The people of Columbus are always finding ways to up their game when it comes to giving back. We’re a city that’s continually building a virtuous cycle: a non-profit with a new idea solves a problem; a business builds the concept of social responsibility into its mission; a neighborhood bands together to accomplish a task—and then others are inspired by these efforts. The question here, to paraphrase JFK, is not what Columbus can do for you, but what you can do for Columbus.

On second thought, maybe those aren’t the right questions. A city, afterall, is nothing but buildings without the people who live there. The question, then, is what can we do for each other? And during times like this, we’re finding out.  

Following Fred Rogers’ advice to “look for the helpers,” we’ve been keeping our eyes out over the past weeks to see how the community is adapting. It turns out that even when we’re required by law to socially distance ourselves, the community is still there—maybe standing six feet away—but never far enough to forget what it means to be part of something larger. Here are just a few of the many awesome resources and examples of doing good that caught our eye. Remember, though, things are changing rapidly, so please reach out and confirm efforts are still underway before showing up to help! 

Food

One of the greatest concerns that came when Gov. DeWine closed schools was for the kids across the state who rely on daily free breakfast and lunch, including the 50,000 students in Columbus City Schools. Luckily, the school district continues to provide free breakfast and lunch to any child under the age of 18 who needs it—even those not enrolled in CCS—at 15 “grab and go” sites across the city. The Mid Ohio Foodbank and the Parks and Recreation department even teamed up with the schools one morning to offer free, pre-bagged produce at a Grab and Go site in addition to the meal. A list of the Grab and Go sites is available at ccsoh.us/Page/7560. 

Kids, of course, aren’t the only ones who need to eat. The Clintonville Beechwold Community Resources Center has partnered with the Clinton Heights Lutheran Church for a sack lunch drive offering food to all ages. The CRC has also assembled and distributed “necessity boxes” for older adults in Central Ohio. The CRC plans to keep giving, and is requesting monetary donations to support its work at this time. Visit clintonvillecrc.org/updated-crc-services-for-covid19 to learn more. 

COhatch has proven to be more than just a coworking space during this crisis. It partnered with Vaso and the Point App to make and deliver meals to those in need across the city. Reach out for help if you are in need of food or supplies to [email protected]; or contact [email protected] to support their efforts. 

Make-A-Day is seeking funding to send food trucks to low-income areas of Columbus in order to feed the homeless, children home from school, and other residents. Support their mission with a donation at makeaday.fun. 

Gear and supplies

A key ingredient in the hand sanitizer that you can’t find anywhere on shelves these days is good ol’ ethyl alcohol. Luckily, some local businesses including Middle West Spirits and Watershed Distillery have an abundance. They are making hand sanitizer to provide first responders, hospitals, and homeless shelters. The Columbus Foundation purchased the first $50,000 worth of product from Middle West, according to a report from The Dispatch

Meanwhile, Bespoke Salon Studio is collecting PPE to donate to area hospitals while the salon is closed. Send them a message on instagram at @bespoke_salon_studio_columbus to donate.

Caffeine Karma

The Roosevelt Coffeehouse is collecting donations of coffee for first responders, because, let’s face it, they’re going to need it in the coming weeks. The community can help in two ways: by purchasing $9 healthcare worker bags that the shop will give to first responders, or buy a bag of any coffee for yourself and they’ll donate another bag to a healthcare professional. You can also leave notes of encouragement on the bag. Grab your joe and help a hero at 300 E Long St.

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Arts & Culture

Virtual Experiences bring culture to our couch

614Now

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Now that we're all stuck at home for the foreseeable future, we could use some entertainment beyond hours of Netflix bingeing. And yes, Carole probably did it*

WOSU Public Media has come to the rescue by putting together a list of local, virtual experiences to enjoy from the safety and comfort of your bunker. Here's a list of just a few upcoming events ranging from music to the arts.

Sunday, March 29
Columbus Symphony’s Russian Winter Festival – The Columbus Symphony broadcasts its Russian Winter Festival ll concert, featuring masterpieces by Prokofiev, Borodin, Rimski-Korsakov, and Tchaikovsky at 1 p.m. on Classical 101.

Columbus Goes Live – The Cyber Festival –  A virtual entertainment experience streaming across different pages to support local performers who are directly impacted by the critical shutdowns of venues during the COVID-19 outbreak. Join in and make history by supporting your favorite bands, comedians and performers in the Columbus area.

Why not a virtual bar?

Brewdog is even getting in on the act with its upcoming, Brewdog Online Bar. They plan to "open" for business at 6pm on Friday, March 27th. The bar plans to feature live beer tastings with our co-founders James and Martin and other beer experts, homebrew masterclasses, live music & comedy and more.

Brewdog will be sharing further details soon and a complete schedule of the events on their Twitter and Instagram accounts.

*Carole, as in this Carole.

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Philanthropy

Helping hand: Union Cafe, Axis Nightclub, Hubbard Grille Relief

614Now

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As we continue down the path of dealing with the health and economic consequences of Coronavirus, many people and organizations are going to need help if you're in a position to do so. On this page each day we will feature one local person, family or organization in need for your consideration.

If you need assistance, now might be a good time to create your own GoFundme.com page (we're not affiliated). If you know someone in need who is using a different giving platform, please send us their page for consideration to feature them here.

Union Cafe, Axis Nightclub, Hubbard Grille Relief

Employees and our friends at Union Cafe, Axis Nightclub, and Hubbard Grille have been displaced until further notice.  This campaign is to raise money to help all the hourly workers get by until they can return to work.  They have most literally put the food on our table many times, now it's our turn to help put food on theirs.  I placed a goal off a rough estimation of how many full-time employees there are at all three business and calculated a goal of a thousand per person.  I know this goal is lofty, even helping them pay a bill could go a long way. 

Columbus Artist Relief Fund

We’re raising money to help offset the financial impact felt by Columbus artists through lost work. Gig money that was going toward this month’s rent or next month's taxes, the gas bill, food. This is open to individual artists only. ALL of the funds raised will go directly to artists in central Ohio. Priority will be given to BIPOC artists, transgender & nonbinary artists, and disabled artists - but the goal is to try to help as many artists with need in Columbus as possible.

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