Debbie Brink of Pure Enchantment
Take one step into Pure Enchantment and you're instantly transformed. From the calming scent of lavender and oatmeal to all of the soft and inviting products sitting on the shelves, you just want to relax. Owner, Debbie Brink, has spent over 15 years perfecting Pure Enchantment, helping you find relaxation and a pure (and local) way to soothe your skin. I sat down to talk with Debbie and could just feel the passion behind everything she does at Pure Enchantment.
Haley Mills: How did you get the idea for the shop?
Debbie Brink: I’ve always wanted to have my own business since I was a little girl growing up in a family of entrepreneurs. It was just something always in the back of my mind. In the year 2000, my family and I were on vacation in Wilmington, North Carolina when I met a woman that made natural soaps. I bought a natural oatmeal soap for myself, washed my face with it that night, and just couldn't believe how great my skin felt--I loved it. That was an important moment for me because after I ran out of the soap, I went back to my regular cleansers and it just wasn't the same. My skin didn't feel as good, and I missed the feeling of that natural, oatmeal soap. Every year we returned to Wilmington, I would visit her to talk about natural soap and why it's so great for your skin. I started to think that soapmaking was something I might do when I retired. After a couple visits, the woman recommended I buy The Natural Soap Book to learn more and start experimenting. The minute I returned from vacation, I purchased the book and started making natural soap. That was August of 2003 and within a month, we started selling my products at craft shows.
While doing shows, my husband began wholesaling our products to local spas & salons. At the time, we had 5 young kids at home to keep us busy, and I considered this new venture to be a more of a hobby. I thought that maybe I could really focus on it when I retired some day, but my small hobby-business began to grow, and just kept growing. We opened up the store in 2008, making this year Pure Enchantment’s 15th anniversary, and the store’s 10th anniversary. We moved to our current location almost four years ago, and feel like we’re now in what I consider to be our “dream home.”
HM: What made you decide to quit your full time job?
DB: It became too much to do both. The “smart” thing to do would have been for my husband and I to stay with our corporate jobs because we weren’t sure the business was big enough yet to support our young family. However, I kept getting these signs that I was supposed to be doing Pure Enchantment. I would get touching calls from customers that would tell me how much the natural products helped them. I’m a very faith-based person, and I truly believe that He just pointed me in this direction. We were about 5 years into the business when my husband and I took the leap of faith and left our other jobs. We jumped into it with both feet because I just didn’t ever want to look back and think, “What if?”
HM: We started chatting about some of the other makers I’ve interviewed and I liked this particular string of knowledge.
DB: I love to bake. If I didn't have this love of baking, I probably wouldn't enjoy making soap or lotion because it’s really based on just following a recipe. Part of the reason I enjoy being a business owner is that doing something you're passionate about doesn’t feel so much like work. There's definitely lots of hard work involved with it, especially since a small business owner handles every single aspect of their business. Calculating and ordering raw materials, handcrafting and packaging our products, purchasing, stocking our other gift items, managing inventory, and banking--it’s all part of the job. It’s very involved. When I started, it was easy to do it from home. But then I got to the point with the business at my house where I was like, “I don't think I can bring one more thing in here”. Before opening the store, we did rent a space on Center Ridge Road where we just made the products and stored them all. We were there for about a year, which was really nice. Once you take the business out of the house, it becomes real.
HM: How did you land on that first location for your store?
DB: My husband, he’s one of those people that knows everybody around town. He's the salesman of our team, and he always worked with a lot of realtors and brokers. He saw the space and thought it would be a good opportunity for Pure Enchantment.
HM: Perfect, it's like it was meant to be.
DB: Everything that has happened, has been meant to be.
HM: I feel like that helps you feel like you’re doing what you should be doing.
DB: Oh it does, when everything falls into place, you know you're doing the right thing.
HM: How do you decide what to bring into the store and stock besides the items you make?
DB: Having never owned a store before, that was really a learning experience for me. When we opened up the store, it looked very different than it does today. Over time, I realized that our customers were coming to the store for natural and soothing products that benefited their health and wellness. So many people would visit us because their doctor would sent them in for natural skincare products, maybe someone they knew was going through a treatment like chemo, or they knew somebody going through a rough patch in life that needed a comforting gift.
When you walk in to Pure Enchantment, you might notice that the store is comprised mainly of calming tones and colors. We make sure to always have comfy pillows, cozy robes and loungewear, and soft slippers. There are always new things that we’re finding to carry in the store. Sometimes I see things on Instagram or in magazines that inspire me, or I discover products from from local artisans that I think would be a great fit in the store. Recently, we brought in Furbish & Fire candles. Being a local, small business owner, I love to bring in other local products when I can. I’m always trying to find pampering, calming, and comforting new items that I think our customers will really love.
HM: What is your favorite scent?
DB: That would have to be my signature scent, Pure Enchantment, named after our store. That scent was born because we noticed that everyone would come into the store and ask, “What’s that scent I’m smelling? I want to buy that”. What they were smelling when walking in was the combination of many different scents of products we’re crafting in our kitchen. It really wasn’t a scent we had on the shelves to sell to them. But one day we were making some bath soaks in the scents Lavender, Oatmeal, and Rosemary Mint, and the combination of aromas was amazing. It struck me that this was the embodiment of what people smell when they enter the store, and I think I said something like, “Oh my gosh! That is Pure Enchantment.” We needed to have our own signature scent and it was perfect, so that's what we created! Coming into the store, you’ll still have that experience today, smelling a mixture of soft essential oils and gentle fragrances. But now when customers ask about it, we can point them to our signature scent! Our Pure Enchantment fragrance is blend of lavender, oatmeal, rosemary, and peppermint, and every time I put it on, it makes me think of this place. It's a very soothing spa scent.
HM: Where did you come up with the name?
DB: It’s funny because I think about it sometimes, and wonder, “Why did I pick ‘Pure Enchantment’”? When you start a business, it’s really hard to come up with a name, and if I had to do it over, it would probably be something simpler. I wanted “pure” for our pure ingredients, and “enchantment” was a word that came to mind when thinking about the feeling of putting a natural lotion on your skin. Our name has really guided the path that the store has taken. Simply stated, it’s pure enchantment.
HM: What is your favorite product that you have in the store?
DB: That is a tough one. It would probably have to be the soap, which is whole reason I started Pure Enchantment. The oatmeal soap is near and dear to me. But I could also never be without out lotion bar--I always have one in my purse.
HM: What is your favorite season in Cleveland and why?
DB: I don’t think that I have one. I really think that one of the reasons I love Cleveland is that we get to experience all the seasons. I love our spring because the flowers are blooming, and it's beautiful with it’s fresh, clean air. Then fall comes around and the leaves are vibrant and falling crisp, crunching under your feet. And winter! Who doesn't love a soft, snowy day? I love sitting cozy at home by a fire with a cup of hot cocoa. Summer, I love, of course. There's so much to do! I love being able to go and walk through the metroparks, ride my bike, or walk along the lake during the warm summer months. There's so many things you can do when you experience every season. That's what’s so wonderful about Cleveland.
HM: What is your favorite dinner spot in Cleveland? I know, there are so many.
DB: There's so many! We love to try all the new and different places popping up around the city, but we also love the old standards. We leave the store after a long day, and we might go next door to Stino da Napoli, or Tartine. We also love eating at Rustic, on Center Ridge Road. My husband has gone to Rustic since was a child, so it’s special to us. You can always count on a good homemade meal, and it’s comforting to see some of the same people that have also been going there for years.
Friday nights, my husband and I like to keep it simple by grabbing a pizza, heading home and taking some time to relax. In the summer, we enjoy sitting outside in our little backyard oasis together, just taking in the good weather. We’re a big fan of Sauced in Fairview, which has the greatest wood-fired pizzas. Some other places we love are Don’s Lighthouse or Salmon Dave’s for great seafood. Another place special to us is the Blue Point Grille because that's where we went when we first got engaged! There's never a shortage of great restaurants in this town--just another thing I love about Cleveland!