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A Pioneer in Green Beauty Looks to Awaken a Stubborn Chicago Market

The Windy City has been slower than other markets to embrace the green beauty movement. But Jenny Duranski hopes that's about to change.

Most independent operators shudder when an established competitor moves into their turf.  But when Credo opened up in a neighborhood not too far away from Jenny Duranski’s green beauty boutique and organic spa called Lena Rose, she celebrated.

“I am welcoming them with open arms. I’m a green nerd who was one of the first into their store,” Duranski said. She was also the first, she noted, to bring green beauty to the market with a nontoxic nail salon called Noktivo in 2013 and then with Lena Rose last November.

Duranski believes the marketing muscle Credo brings to Chicago will ignite interest in green beauty. Chicago, she related, has been slower to react to the movement than the East and West Coasts. “We feel people will walk into Credo, go home and hit their search bar to see what else is in Chicago,” she said hoping that would attract more foot traffic. Duranski selected her location in an emerging neighborhood with easy access to transportation. Kim Davis, a recent visitor to Lena Rose, characterized the area as charming with many young families. “My 23-year-old daughter would love to move here and she’s just the type of customer who Lena Rose would attract,” Davis said.

After getting ill from the chemicals she worked with as a certified nail technician, Duranski delved into research to uncover healthier ingredients. She’s become a huge proponent of green beauty, traveling to Washington, D.C., to lobby for safer cosmetics.

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“Right now, nothing is safety tested. There’s no research on ingredients; it is really a wild, wild west industry,” she explained. Duranski prefers plants, herbs, butters and oil to chemicals prevalent in beauty lines. “There are ingredients the earth provides that our bodies can metabolize, why aren’t we using more of those things,” she questioned.

To that end, the menu at Lena Rose features vegan, nontoxic, farm-to-face services including facials, waxing and makeup. She prefers to offer local, often female-own, product lines. “We don’t use a professional back bar. We use our forward-facing consumer products in our spa room. I feel it is important for clients to experience a service in our spa and go home and use the products — they come back and buy tenfold,” she said.

Green beauty product and environmenal portraits
No two Apothecary facials are alike. Shin Lim

The leading service is the Apothecary facials featuring ingredients like organic herbs hand mixed and customized by her aestheticians. “No two are alike,” she added. The assortment also includes a cosmetics line, 100% Pure, which has caught the attention of customers who didn’t realize natural cosmetics could work and be good for you. Lena Rose also offers lash and brow tinting using vegetable dyes. Because her goal is reaching more consumers, she keeps pricing accessible. A 100% Pure palette retails for $50, for example. “I’m not going after the luxury market. My first pillar is health,” she said. She also donates products and service to local fund-raisers and donates a portion of her revenues to local charities.

Duranski, who plans to add e-commerce in the next month, has a vision to grow her concept to include everything from hair and nails to acupuncture and yoga classes.