The web page of the Albion Beatnik Bookstore, based once in Oxford, then Sibiu, always neo-bankrupt, now closed for business: atavistic and very analogue, its musings and misspells on books and stuff.
The Leafology beauty product range is my latest sales product here and is an attempt to go commercially peripheral. It’s a range of beauty product that includes body care, lip balm, facial oil and cleansing, mother and baby product and more. The Leafology range is created in small, fresh batches in an Oxfordshire village.
I’ve sold quite a lot already in the last week, especially the long thin pointy-stick one comprised of Frankincense and tea seed (also sweet almond and a bit of chamomile), and it seems as though you rub it on your eyes at night. Its canister sure makes it look like a stick of dynamite (though there’s very little chamomile in that, is more nitroglycerin, diatomaceous earth, sodium carbonate and ethylene glycol dinitrate). The invention of dynamite, of course, funded the Nobel Peace Prize – US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, war hawk extraordinaire, once won that (the day “political satire became obsolete,” said Tom Lehrer), and President Nixon was peeved that he had missed out. The link with beauty product here is that in 1960 Nixon had missed out also on the Presidential election, largely because he refused to wear make-up (the beads of sweat on his chin made him look shifty during the first TV presidential debates, JFK had been working on his tan even on that day). The essence of Leafology and its (golly, more than peripheral) association with dynamite and American politics therefore has played its part in modern history, not only through beauty sleep and the elimination of eyelid wrinkles, but in electoral politics, Kissinger’s détente with China, and Hollywood bank robberies (what looked like Magic Eye Night Serum was used, I remember, by the Hole in the Wall Gang in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid).
But it’s not Richard Nixon or Robert Redford that links the Leafology range to the shop; rather it is that every one of its product contains tea, either in its leaf form or its extract. Tea is ultra-rich in antioxidant power (it also laid the foundation for our industrial revolution, is host to the addictive sport of biscuit dunking, and there are over 60 types in the cafe here), so this range, as said, glows with health. I heartily recommend it: natural, organic, nothing synthetic that damages the skin. I’ve still not plucked up the courage to try the beard oil (but as all ladies over 80 fall for the usual unkempt, hirsute me – booksellers traditionally are their last gulp of sexual frustration – I’ve no need to).
I’ve been seriously impressed with this small business as I’ve witnessed its genesis over the past year, seen it grow from a casual, almost accidental starting point to its fully fledged presentation today. It is smart in its marketing (there are miniature essays on its labels, a natty font also), snappy in its use of logo and storyboarding (Harvey, the six foot rabbit in James Stewart’s imagination, my favourite childhood film, gets an apothecarial workout), and it all smells delicious. It has just over twenty items in its list so far and is set to grow. Every aspect of the business is ethically sourced, including its packaging; its intention is to remain so.
Leafology has also devised two Yuletide teas – one black, one white – to be featured in the shop this Christmas season. Testing pots for its product are here to sample if you stand unsure on the use of tea and its relevance to beauty, or the alpha-wave contentment one can derive from it. Leafology uses only plant-derived ingredient incidentally, and is suitable even for fussy vegans (note to vegans: you are fussy).
Local food stuff to be sold here very soon, too, also bars of chocolate (vegan), teas (both bag and leaf), and I’ll be able to match these teas (and choccy) to an appropriate book. Gotta work out, too, the best read to accompany beard oil. Probably not Jane Austen. Possibly Freud, who must have had something to say about beard envy, he had a biggun himself.