Volar Beauty Flies Into Free People
Volar Beauty is soaring, but founder Josh Beeler isn’t anxious for it to skyrocket.
The natural beauty brand that gets its name from the Spanish word “to fly” has landed on Free People’s website after entering Shen Beauty, where Beeler works as an assistant manager, makeup artist and brow specialist, in July. While the distribution expansion is welcome, he’s comfortable keeping Volar Beauty’s product collection and retail network tight.
“I am not looking to be the next Estée Lauder and conquer the world. I just want to put it into the hands of people who appreciate the time and effort that goes into it,” says Beeler. “Shen was the first, but now there are tons of natural beauty stores. I think that’s a great way for me to go. I like Free People because it reaches more people, but I’m happy with niche retailers. I’m not trying to roll out into Nordstrom’s across the country. That’s just not me.”
What does characterize Beeler is careful attention to detail. At the end of Volar Beauty’s ingredient decks, he lists the magic sauce — love — that he swears it goes into each product. He hand pours the brand’s Ambiance Mist and Body Essence through crystal filters. He also places tiny quartz, rose quartz and amethyst crystals inside their bottles for positive energy.
“I’m a small, homegrown operation, and I know every single thing that goes into them. I don’t send out to laboratories, where you try out different face creams. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just not how I wanted to do it. I took a long course in aromatherapy because I wanted to know what I’m doing and do it right,” says Beeler. “I don’t want this to ever be a vanity project.”
Volar Beauty’s product range contains three items and three scents. In addition to the Ambiance Mist and Body Essence, there are Smelling Salts inspired by Beeler’s regular subway commute across Brooklyn from Bushwick to Carroll Gardens. They are designed for airplane travel and fetid cubicles or classrooms, too.
“On the subways, you will find that it doesn’t smell amazing. If I spray something, though, I’m going to offend the person next to me. I need something that’s self-contained. That’s why I created the salts,” explains Beeler. “I did research on breathing in salt, and I found it was naturally anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial. If you’re around kids a lot, it’s a great thing to breathe in. It wards off germs and bad smells.”
The Body Essence, Volar Beauty’s bestseller so far, was formulated with goal of elevating the shower ritual. Beeler elucidates that its blend of sesame seed, sunflower seed, jojoba, lemon, sage and rosemary oils was developed to absorb quickly without skimping on hydration.
“I wanted it to be super effective. The carrier oils that we use you will find in face oils. They are high-grade and organic,” he says, adding, “I want to make products that bring you back to yourself, and that help you relax and take time to care for yourself. A shower is an opportunity to pamper yourself, even if it’s 10 minutes.”
Beeler points to his occasionally stinky Chihuahuas as motivation for the Ambiance Mist. “Sometimes they really need something. The Ambiance Mist is full of essential oils and charcoal-filtered water that goes through the crystal filter as well,” he says. “You can use it on pets, babies, furniture and yourself.”
Volar Beauty’s products, which vary in price from $34 to $42, are available in the scents Awaken, Calm and Ascend. The energizing Awaken features lemon, rosemary and sage; soothing Calm includes peppermint, lavender and patchouli; and the warm Ascend showcases spruce, patchouli, lemongrass and lavender.
“You are not just putting on an oil. You are putting it on for a reason,” says Beeler, elaborating, “When they’re doing bridal makeup, a lot of makeup artists are big fans of Calm to calm down the bride.”
The merchandise is packaged in glass topped with gold and wrapped in labels decorated with intricate patterns. “I wanted it to transcend regular packaging,” says Beeler. “There was no specific inspiration, but I wanted it to take flight. I wanted you to look at it and feel it was your time to escape.”