Arizona naturally has a western edge to its culture, but in the urban setting of Downtown Phoenix this can oftentimes be lost. Sarah Stokes of Ranch Road Boots is determined to change that one pair of boots at a time.
Ranch Road Boots is a rapidly growing company with a down-home feel, staffed full time by Stokes and her dog Skillet. Their boots are made in Texas – ensuring that each pair has a little of that Texan heart and soul stitched right into them – but their operations are based out of Levine Machine in downtown’s warehouse district.
“Downtown Phoenix is small but mighty,” Stokes proclaims. “It’s the coolest downtown and maybe one of the United States’ best kept secrets.”
Her customers live across the United States, and Stokes came up with an innovative way to bring them the luxury of a custom fit and style in the comfort of their own home.
Stokes created a “fit kit” that she sends to customers where they are able to watch a video and read a guide on how to measure their feet to ensure a perfect fit. The kit also includes swatches of leather for the customer to choose from, ensuring the boot is exactly what the customer wants.
“These boots are beautiful, wearable and as at home in New York City as West Texas,” Stokes said.
Each pair of Ranch Road Boots takes roughly 12 weeks to be completed from the start to finish, and comes with a sterling silver nail on the inside of the left heel. Stokes said that it is a reminder that you are wearing a serialized pair of boots handmade just for you.
“Ranch Road Boots proves classics don’t have to be boring or purely utilitarian,” Stokes said. “Our leathers, craftsmanship and customer service is second to none.”
And as boot buyers know, if you want serious boots you’re going to pay a fairly serious price. But hey, that’s the cowboy way.
For those who are lucky enough to live in the Valley, you can visit the mobile Boot Saloon at special locations that change frequently. To find the next stop for the Boot Saloon, follow @ranchroadboots on Twitter for updates.
For all-natural skin care products provided by one of America’s fastest growing private companies, look no further than your own local retailers.
DeVita Natural Skin Care, a Phoenix-based cosmeceutical line, placed among prominent independent companies like Yelp, Chobani Yogurt and KIND Healthy Snacks on the 2012 list by Inc. Magazine, the Inc. 500/5000.
The skin care line ranked at number 2077 on this list of independent entrepreneurs after experiencing a three-year sales growth of 127 percent.
Available at Healthy Habit Health Foods and other retailers throughout the Valley, the certified woman-owned business offers high-quality products that are PETA certified, vegan and 100 percent paraben-free.
Cherylanne DeVita, Ph.D., DeVita’s president and CEO, said she started the business after repeatedly finding herself disappointed by the ingredients used in other skin care products.
“The products I was purchasing were expensive, and I felt as though the American woman was being taken advantage of by the skin care system,” she said. “So I decided to come up with a natural line without any toxic preservatives in it.”
DeVita’s products use organic aloe vera bases rather than the typical water bases, she explained, and all of the aloe vera comes from Arizona desert plants.
Using this type of base allows the products to absorb into the skin faster and deeper.
The natural ingredients in this skin care line allow customers to experience rapid moisturizing effects, the diminishing of fine lines and wrinkles, and the reduction of blemishes, DeVita added.
She said the success of her company came from careful timing, and also by developing a product she knew women wanted and demanded.
“There’s really a need out there for women to find effective, safe beauty products,” DeVita said. “Also, we like our beauty products beautiful and elegant, so it was the perfect time for a line to come along that uses natural ingredients, that is safe, and that is beautiful.”
DeVita said that when she found out her company made the list, she was stunned.
“When you start a company, you’re so busy working that you don’t take time to stop and look back at what you’ve accomplished,” she said. “We are very honored to be among a group of great start-up companies that have become household names in America.”
Featured photo: DeVita products at Healthy Habit Health Foods.
Take a peek inside locals’ shopping bags and learn how they use health and beauty products in everyday life.
Occupation: Owner of Elements of Hair
Her neighborhood: Downtown Phoenix
Where spotted: Phoenix Natural Medicine and Detox Center
What she purchased:
• Green Machine juice (celery, cucumber, spinach, kale,
grapefruit, apple, ginger)
Why she chose these products: I juice at home, but it’s nice they have this place here so I can just come in, and they do it for me. I bought (IntestiMax) because I was on antibiotics and wanted to try something soothing for the intestinal tract. It’s a natural product made up of herbs and amino acids that supports colon health.
Her must-have: I love the juice because it’s delicious and it gives me a ton of energy. The best way I can describe it is it just tastes fresh, and it has a ton of nutrients inside. You cannot sit and consume this amount of vegetables, so it’s really a powerhouse of energy and nutrients.
How she benefits: The juice is giving me vitamins, antioxidants, and it boosts the immune system a great deal. It contains an assortment of vegetables, including kale, which I know is one of the vegetables with the most antioxidants. I haven’t been sick with a cold or anything for about three years, and I believe it’s because of all the juicing I do. (IntestiMax) will help my digestive system. In the body, if digestion is not working properly, nothing else really works.
Why they fit her style: These will help to me live a healthy, active lifestyle and help me get through the day with plenty of energy. I don’t get that afternoon slump like I used to thanks to these kinds of products.
District: Historic Roosevelt
• 15% off for ASU students with a valid I.D.
• 20% off during Independents Week with Golden Coupon
• 35% off week of Fourth of July
• 2 Culture Fresh T-shirts for $35 all month long
District: Evans Churchill
(6th Street south of Roosevelt)
• Any purchase of $50 or more at GrowOP will receive a 10% card for Madewell
(6th Street south of Roosevelt)
• 40% off rack inside all month long
District: Melrose/7th Avenue
• 20% off during Independents Week with Local First AZ’s Golden Coupon
• 20% off during Independents Week with Local First AZ’s Golden Coupon
• 32% off from July 12-15 storewide
• 20% off everything on Third Thursday
• 20% off during Independents Week with the Golden Coupon
• Short Leash Hot Dogs on Saturday, July 21
Essential oils, the liquid extract found in plants, are becoming the products of choice for local companies looking to offer alternatives to chemical-filled health and beauty products on the market today.
Loral Deatherage, cofounder of ecocentricity!, hosts classes on essential oils and uses them herself for anything from the common cold to stress relief.
“I usually base things on facts and research, so when I first heard of these essential oils, I thought it was just some modern day ‘woo-woo,’” Deatherage said. “But now, every time I have a pain or ailment, I go to the essential oils first rather than to a doctor or medicines.”
According to Deatherage, essential oils are basically the energies used by plants to protect themselves against various threats. The plants are typically steam distilled to capture the essence inside. The oil from each plant contains different properties and can be used for a variety of applications.
These oils are similar to herbal medications, Deatherage said, but much more powerful.
Common uses include alleviation of burns, headaches, colds, coughs, upset stomach, nausea, fever and bug bites. People also use them for aromatherapy to relax, sleep better and even prevent illnesses.
Despite the long list of benefits, Deatherage said people today aren’t commonly using these oils because our society focuses on hospitals and doctors for healing or wellness.
“Doctors won’t usually steer people toward essential oils for their illnesses because it’s just not part of their training,” she added. “They are taught to treat things with drugs or surgery.”
Ancient civilizations used oils (similar to the blend “Thieves,” pictured right) to fight off illnesses and even ward off the plague, but then we became too “smart” with our technological advances, Deatherage said.
“We forgot about what’s out there in nature, and about these methods that are much easier on the body,” she said. “We’ve turned our health completely over to our doctors rather than being responsible for our own bodies.”
Tracy Perkins, owner and artisan at Strawberry Hedgehog, said she uses essential oils in her bath and body products because conventional products can contain over 3,000 different chemicals.
“There is a reason people get headaches when they head through that (perfume) section in the shopping mall,” Perkins said.
She added that the blanket term “fragrance” often refers to products containing thousands of mystery ingredients, including some that are toxic.
“We could easily return to using all essential oils in place of synthetic fragrance,” Perkins said. “(There are) greatly improved products available that actually help people rather than hurt them.”
Kari Bower, owner of Emelmahae Soap Company, said she has used essential oils for over 20 years and also refuses to put any synthetic fragrances into her products.
“Using essential oils makes for better products because your body knows what to do with them,” Bower said. “They are also better for the earth and won’t cause pollution issues because the earth knows what to do with them, too.”
With more people becoming “label-readers,” Bower said there is much more awareness of the difference between natural and synthetic products. When she sells her products at the Phoenix Public Market, customers will actually pick up the soap products and read the list of ingredients.
“People are starting to notice a difference in these types of things,” she added. “I think that (the oils) are a much better choice, and they enhance life while helping clean out unnecessary toxins from the things around us, so they definitely deserve a shot.”
Keep an eye out for these local companies that sell essential oil products: