Photography by Kevin A. Roberts
With its iron spiral staircases and distressed wooden countertops, Maven (7290 Manchester, 314-645-1155, mavenstl.com) feels like an old-fashioned general store. Instead of stocking tools or cans of food, though, this Maplewood shop sells its own line of scented, all-natural bath products ($8 to $15) and candles ($20). And owner Kate Bethel recently launched a men’s line, adding to the boutique’s already heady bouquet.
What inspired you to open your shop?
I lost my job and decided I wanted to take a shot at opening my own store. At first, it was predominantly home accessories and gifts, but I was making bath-and-body products out of my house as a hobby. So I decided to see if I could sell them in my shop.
How did you get into that hobby?
Years ago, I saw Lush in Manhattan, and I just thought it was the coolest concept. I did some research and found it’s actually really doable.
Your scents have great names: Little Black Dress, Don Draper, My Boyfriend’s T-Shirt…
There’s also a new one called Cheap Date. It’s basically a blend of whiskey, apple, orange, cedar, and white chocolate. It’s a really nice, complex fragrance. But we thought the name was funny because of the whiskey aspect.
How do you come up with the names?
The last couple times, I put posts on Facebook saying, “This is a fragrance I’m working on. This is what’s in it. What would you call it?”
You recently launched a men’s line, Blue Devil Grooming Company.
We’ve always had sugar scrubs and soaps and things that men haven’t been 100 percent interested in. Now, we’ve added shaving cream, mustache wax, moisturizer, and beard oil.
What’s the origin of the Blue Devil name?
The Blue Devil is the Maplewood Richmond Heights High School mascot, so we’re giving props to the Maplewood area.
You must really like Maplewood.
I grew up here. When I opened my shop, Maplewood was going through a big renewal. In the ’70s and ’80s, it was nothing but pawnshops and Kmart. Now it’s very sought-after.