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Storefronts > Le Sabon July 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Business.

At first blush, this store’s tasteful chandeliers and fancy pottery accents, visible from the street, made me somewhat nervous. Such a beautiful retail setting usually indicates that its products will be expensive, its staff will be cold, and you will be judged on your shoes, hair and wardrobe.

Turns out this is not true of the elegant but down-to-earth Le Sabon, which sells bath and body products made with Dead Sea minerals. The store’s name is Hebrew for “to soap up” or “to lather up,” and owner Sara Kety-Elias, 42, welcomes customers to try its products at two sinks in the back of the shop.

This is an edge over a department store, Kety-Elias says, where “you only know a product if you read about it in a magazine, heard a recommendation from a friend or believe a salesperson.” The Teaneck store is Kety-Elias’ second retail venture; there has been a Le Sabon on the Upper East Side of Manhattan since 2004.

Kety-Elias came up with the idea for Le Sabon after visits to Israel during which she regularly purchased Dead Sea minerals to bring home as gifts. Today, her stores are “not only for profit”, 10 percent of her profits go to charities that promote peace in Israel. The products are diverse and unusual; they are classy, elegant and luxurious without being fussy. Kety-Elias created Le Sabon with real women and an affordable price in mind.

“Teenagers come in, and their first reaction is: ‘My mom would love this store!’ ” she says. “They sense that it’s a more mature product.”

One popular item, CandleLotion, has “wax” that is actually moisturizing soybean oil. CandleLotion is available in 20 scents, and it’s the only product that also comes unscented; Kety-Elias hopes to have that option for most or all items by summer.

The smallest CandleLotion, a tealight, costs $3.50. A 4-ounce candle is $24; a 12-ounce candle is $48. Body scrub, made from Dead Sea salt, costs $28 for a small jar and $58 for a large one. Shower mousse, which can be used as a soap, moisturizer and shaving lotion, costs $20. Traveling candles come in a plethora of scents and rest comfortably in glossy leather carrying cases that snap shut and can be reused. Small stuffed animals with the softest fur I’ve ever felt cost $10.

Le Sabon gift-wraps all purchases. Products are sprinkled with potpourri, confetti, paper shavings or other enhancements, wrapped in cellophane, tied with a bow, and placed in an attractive pink bag.

The store’s return policy is seven days with a receipt for cash, though she says you can count on one hand the number of returns to her Manhattan store. Exchanges for other scents are welcomed indefinitely as long as the product is unused. Le Sabon is hosting free after-hours Spa Nights by appointment only, when groups of up to 15 can sample products while enjoying wine and cheese. Massage therapy also is available for a price.

The W’s >
What: A bath and body shop with products of unique origin.
Where: 509A Cedar Lane, Teaneck, (201) 692-0008.
When: Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. The owner keeps Sabbath, so Friday and Saturday hours fluctuate depending on the season.
Web: www.lesabon.com.

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