TOQUE Magazine is your quarterly regional lifestyle ‘lookbook’ dedicated to showcasing the goings-on from Wellington County to Waterloo Region. You've probably seen TOQUE Magazine around the region, they offer their look book free of charge at local businesses. Inside you will find stories, in words and images, celebrating all our region has to offer.
We are so excited to be featured in their most recent "The Handicraft" issue.
Through the front doors of the Princess Twin Cinemas and down a sun-soaked staircase, you’ll find The Truth Beauty Company: a calm and cozy curation of natural, sustainable, and cruelty-free beauty products. ‘We’ve been Uptown for fourteen years,’ founder Jen Freitas tells me, adding that her team recently celebrated ten years in their current location. While ‘clean’ and ‘green’ products are becoming increasingly popular among mainstream beauty brands, Truth Beauty has been advocating for health conscious and socially responsible self-care since its beginning days – and they’ve seen a lot of change over the years.
‘Clean beauty has become quite popular – and at the same time, the marketing has become super murky,’ Jen tells me. While buzzwords like ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘naturally-derived’ are well used by brands, there are no official standards for terms like these within the beauty industry. There is no one-size-fits-all product: consumers ask different things of their products when it comes to performance, ingredients, packaging, price and brand ethos – and matching product to consumer desire requires some research.
‘We don’t expect consumers to be experts in these products,’ Jen tells me. ‘We want them to come in and tell us what matters to them, and we’ll do the rest.’ Hundreds of crisp boxes, minimalist tubes, and glass jars line the open shelves and antique tables that fill the shop. While the space feels like a gallery, Jen and her team read these shelves like an opulent library: with intimate knowledge of the brands’ practices and the products’ functions, they can guide clients to the perfect self-care routine that fits their body, budget, and values. That thoughtful attention and Jen’s tenure in Uptown comes with a community: ‘Our clients are incredibly loyal, and their experience of these products becomes part of the knowledge we share.’
Something we often overlook about independent shops like Truth Beauty is that, even before we arrive, the products are hand-selected by Jen (out of literally millions in the marketplace), her selection process hugely informed by her long-standing relationships with the faces behind the brands, most of which (like The Truth Beauty Company) are women-owned, self-funded, Canadian companies. Locally-owned bricks and mortar shops like Truth Beauty are much more than just a store: they are a curated experience, a collection of the best items available, an accumulation of years of research, trial and error. Moreover, they offer opportunity for other small enterprises (online, new, and small brands can’t compete with the marketing budgets of big brands, a major barrier to innovation within the industry). Between the established brands, Truth Beauty makes room on its shelves for new faces in the marketplace, and together they sit on the shelves as equals.
‘The clean beauty industry began a long time ago in home kitchens, and only recently the big guys started to take notice,’ Jen explains. ‘If you want to keep that creativity alive,’ she adds, ‘you have to make room for the little guys to show what they’ve got.’ I carry Jen’s words with me as I step out onto the streets of Uptown, a place where our own ‘little guys’ continue to hold their ground and bring new ideas, paradigms, and products to the community.
Words by Dani Kuepfer. Photos by Chris Tiessen.
Thank you TOQUE Magazine! Read the The Handicraft Issue here.