Two young entrepreneurs from Bloomfield recently opened an artisanal soap, lotion, and candle boutique at 570 Bloomfield Avenue, taking over the old Rocktec digs.
The nameless black awning over the store has kept this new business under the radar in Baristaville. Owners Ingrid Sauer and Andrea Cassar are taking it slow as they build up stock of scent-sational products for their store, InsaniTea.
In the front window, there’s a beautiful display of pies, tortes, cakes, and pastries. They smell absolutely heavenly; they’re diet-friendly at zero calories priced at $6-$9 per slice. I loved “Grandma’s Apple Pie” and the blueberry cupcakes – and, you guessed it – they are examples of Cassar’s whimsical take on soap crafting.
Cassar and Sauer work in the back room pouring soap concoctions which could contain oatmeal, vitamin E, jojoba, aloe or all of the above into wooden molds. They hand cut the soap into blocks and set them on a wire mesh shelf to “cure” for about four weeks. The pair will mix custom soap blends, as well as lotions, and make candles in over 50 scents, like sage & pomegranate, vanilla lavender, or green tea and cucumber. Sauer compared their shop to a “Coldstone” for your body, because the variations for custom products are endless. Lotion potions are mixed up on the spot, while the candles and soap can be ordered. Recipes originated from Cassar’s Sicilian grandmother and from there, he’s let his imagination go.
One half of the store is still a work in progress, and gets back to the name, InsaniTea. Sauer plans to open a tea salon featuring organic fair trade teas and home-made vegan and gluten-free sweets, eventually expanding the menu to savory snacks. “I want to create a relaxing hang-out, and host evenings with live music, poetry readings, and more” says Sauer. Tomorrow, April 1, there’s live jazz (keyboard) 6:30-8:30 pm.
Enjoy the aromatherapy as you make your way through the lovely packaged soaps – two for $8, candles of all sizes – under $20, lotions and body butters $5 and $8 each. Then, you can have fun creating your own recipe. InsaniTea, 570 Bloomfield Ave, Montclair. 973-509-1202. Check out Cassar’s mail order business, The Home Bottega.