S.W. Basics


Possibly one of my favorite aspects of TAE is learning how some of my favorite products and brands came to be. Last month, I had the opportunity to chat with Adina Grigore about her line, S.W. Basics, and I was especially lucky to be able to meet her at the American Made Market the next week (per usual, I overstayed my welcome and hung out for about an hour, trying to help sell product to the market-visitors!).  Adina is this amazing, hysterical woman (with incredible skin!) who is so committed and passionate about her work but also incredibly real and honest. I’ve been particular about what goes on my skin and focused on natural, effective products for the past several years, but my last corporate role focused on Consumer Product Goods (CPGs) and I was shocked at the green-washing tactics often employed in order to make consumers believe their chemical-laden products are natural and even good for them (it’s so sad how many consumers believe green packaging means a natural product!). I’m so thankful that there are people out there, like Adina and her team, who are committed to proving that products can be natural, simple, and affordable – while also incredibly designed and enjoyable to use. No trade-off necessary. 


Adina Grigore started making her own skincare when she couldn’t find anything on the market that was gentle enough for her sensitive skin. With a background in wellness and nutrition, she knew what her skincare should be, but couldn’t find it, so she realized she’d have to make it herself.

After finding a solution, she started teaching workshops on how to make simple skincare products. After each workshop, students came up to her and asked her where they could buy her line. She realized that not everyone has the time or is willing to make their own products, but felt strongly that simple, natural products should be available and started S.W. Basics.

Adina’s goal for S.W. Basics is to educate consumers but also make them feel good about what they are buying. As consumers, we’ve been trained to buy items that are cheap and, in the case of skincare (and food), filled with artificial fillers. But it doesn’t have to be that way. People deserve better. We should all be able to go into a store and know that what we are buying is safe, good for us, and good for the economy.

S.W. Basics products are made with five ingredients or less and the belief that simplicity is better when it comes to skin care.


My favorite S.W. Basics products – the toner and the organic, reusable cotton rounds! The idea for the cotton rounds came from an intern who was focused on living a waste free life – S.W. Basics found a way to provide a simple, organic and reusable solution.


We get tremendous emails every day from customers – people who are exactly where I was when I started and who love the products. This is motivating because as an entrepreneur, you know that you think your product is great, but you wonder if other people feel the same way. The idea that people would actually be upset if we stopped is incredibly encouraging.

We have a great team, and that is very motivating – they remind us to keep going.


A flannel plaid shirt – this is Brooklyn! Flip flops, way past the date they are technically allowed.


South Florida – to the beach! We went to France for our honeymoon and loved it, but it really made us appreciate New York, so now we are trying to do more of the things that make New York an awesome place to visit.


This is not even as bad as it’s going to get. What you are going through is normal and it’s not the worst thing you are going to go through.

Do you remember were six months ago? You were in a completely different place. Every small step is more meaningful than people give themselves credit for.  You will never arrive and be where you thought you’d be.


As you grow, the concept of local changes. From made by hand and sold at markets to manufactured and sold internationally. We don’t want to local-wash, but it is important. Products can be made ethically when manufacturing locally, because it’s easier to regulate production. Products should also be made close to the end consumer, because it’s important that they are fresh. Eventually all products should be localized, it’s sustainable, better for the environment, and better for the consumer.

sw basics

The gorgeous S.W. Basics team!

Thank you Adina for making amazing products and for taking the time to speak with me!

[Disclosure: S.W. Basics sent me products for review. I have since purchased additional products and only share products and brands that I believe in.]

The Edit : Zady

I can’t believe we haven’t talked about Zady yet! The socially conscious e-commerce site has become one of my favorite online shopping experiences, and I had the opportunity to meet with co-founder Maxine Bedat while in New York to learn a little more about the vision for the brand.

Maxine founded Zady with Soraya Dorabi – the two met in high school (in Minneapolis!) and reconnected in New York over a shared appreciation for well-crafted products. While building The Bootstrap Project, they saw an opportunity to impact the apparel industry by building a community brand based on items made with style and integrity.

And they have delivered. Zady is not only a curated marketplace of amazing, ethically-made brands (Imogene + Willie, Small Trades, Clare Vivier, Pendleton, and more…) but they do a phenomenal job of telling the story – from the background of the Garment Factory, to building a closet based on cost-per-wear, to the history of denim. Even more, when you shop with Zady, a percentage of all proceeds are donated to the Bootstrap Project, which provides microloans to artisans around the world.

What I love most about Zady is how accessible the brand is – from the impeccable but still realistic styling of the products on the site, to the team’s presence on social media, to the thank you notes sent with each order. Maxine spoke passionately about building – and supporting – a community, and that belief is apparent in every single aspect of Zady.

Zady currently has a holiday pop up that looks amazing – be sure to check it out if you are flying through LGA!

Thanks for meeting with me, Maxine… I can’t wait to see what you and Soraya come up with next!

Northern Grade Minneapolis

Have you heard of Northern Grade? Managed by the founders of Pierrepont Hicks, the U.S. Made Pop Up Market started in Minneapolis in 2009 and has now popped up all over the country. It’s officially a men’s market, but I always manage a few (too many) things that I want for myself! We stopped by yesterday and as always, the people watching (this heritage movement has spawned a fascinating sub-culture… only amplified by Movember!), coffee, cocktails, and shopping were a great way to spend the day.

northerngrade-elizabeth-dehn-one-love-organicsThe amazing Elizabeth Dehn and Suzanne LeRoux set up an adorable One Love Organics Grooming Lounge… everyone I ran into was raving about the amazing products – don’t forget about the $5.95 sample pack if you have been thinking about trying this line!


The cutest Block Bots from Oh Dier! and the J.W. Hulme weekender of my dreams.


Faribault Mill wool scarves and a Black Blue St. Paul x Faribault collaboration blanket and great iPhone cases from Wood Chuck.


If you missed the market, Northern Grade will launch a B&M pop up at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts later this month!

Thanks to the team from Pierrepont Hicks, Black Blue, and Askov Finlayson for celebrating American made in Minneapolis!

all of the answers.

Isn’t it refreshing that ANNA WINTOUR admits to still learning as she goes? and doesn’t have all of the answers? As an entrepreneur, I’m always hearing that I should become an expert, fake it till I make it, act the part, etc. And there’s a lot of validity in that advice. But at the end of the day, we’re all still learning, and improving as we go… I’m admittedly a huge nerd, but I can’t imagine why you would ever want to stop learning/know everything! What’s the fun in that?


I’m really excited for Northern Grade this weekend! If you are in Minneapolis, are you going?!

A great interview with Pamela Love and another via Steven Alan with Colleen Keller, designer of new-to-me label Babe.

I told you yesterday that I was obsessed with pouches… Becca’s gorgeous pouches launch Monday!

just for fun…Garance Dore : What does your Scandal Crush say about you?

have a wonderful weekend!