Variety focuses on one characteristic at downtown West Bend business
Curious Apothecary started as online venture

By RALPH CHAPOCO - Daily News

July 5, 2017

Co-owners Beth Rose, left, and Anne Mahoney of West Bend pose for a photo in their store Friday afternoon at Curious Apothecary in West Bend. The store opened in the downtown location in March.
John Ehlke/Daily News

Many people have passions in their life, but only a subset of those can turn them into a living. That is what the co-owners of Curious Apothecary have accomplished.

Anne Mahoney and Beth Rose sell a variety of products in their store at 139 S. Sixth Ave., downtown West Bend. A quick tour of the location and visitors will find clothing and accessories at one end, including scarves, purses and jewelry, and at the other end will be health and beauty creations.

The two have a diverse product line, but they all have one characteristic in common.

“We are focused on natural alternatives to health, beauty and home products,” Rose said. “Our toothpaste and deodorant are natural products. We have a whole facial line that we only use natural and healthy products that we make our own. Our sunscreen, our bug spray — there are no preservatives.”

The exterior of Curious Apothecary is seen on Friday afternoon in West Bend.
John Ehlke/Daily News

Mahoney began making alternative health and beauty items as a means to live healthier.

“I was looking for low-stress hobbies, activities that could be beneficial to me and bring the stress level down,” Mahoney said. “It began with gardening, from gardening it became herbs and the soap, and then it evolved from there. It helped a lot. I still have stress but it slows me down. When you make soap, you have to pay attention and you can’t rush through it so you have to slow everything down.” It is also an activity that requires focus — so Mahoney cannot be thinking of anything else. She must measure liquids, oils and fats as she mixes them. There are ingredients that must be kept at a specific temperature and a proper protocol that must be followed.

The business began as an online sales venture. The two created an Etsy account listing many of the available items.

There is an all-purpose cleaner made with natural ingredients and mixed with essential oils designed to give a specific sent. Further down the page are photos of a Johnny Cash and Betty Page hand soap. Clicking on the items reveal additional details that read they are made with eucalyptus or lavender.

They also carry a variety of therapeutic grade essential oils.

“We started accumulating a lot of inventory, too much for Beth’s house to keep it there and then I had my soap at my house,” Mahoney said. “We thought, ‘wouldn’t it be nice to just put it all in one spot?’” That is how the idea for the retail front began. They opened their doors toward the end of 2016 and haven’t looked back since.

Aside from the satisfaction they receive by watching their business grow, it also presents them a chance to educate the public.

“We would love for people to become more aware of healthy alternatives,” Mahoney said.