Pantry Products - We Believe

Hello all!

As we venture into a new season, a new month, and soon, a new city, we thought we would take some time to introduce ourselves to any new followers….or to those who have been with us for some time but are not quite sure who we are exactly. 😉

Since 2015, Pantry Products has been handcrafting natural products aimed at contributing to healthy lifestyles. Recently, we began working with Em Deane of Locals Creative to strengthen our message + our brand. Over the next few posts, we will be unveiling our new brand strategy + sharing some of the magic we have created with Em with you. To start, let’s talk about Pantry’s Mission, Vision, + Values. 

Mission Statement
Pantry Products is dedicated to crafting 100% natural daily essentials + to providing wellness education to health-conscious consumers passionate about caring for themselves + for the planet. 

Vision Statement
Pantry Products strives to educate + to create products that make our people + our planet happy. 

Values
Our 3 core values are Tr
ansparency, Approachability, Sustainability

How do these play out in Pantry Products, you ask? Well, here we go…

We are Transparent
We aim to offer transparency in all aspects of our business. We listen to what our customers want. We strive to help our customers be the best they can. We are clear about who we are, what we do, what we have planned for the future, and what we stand for.

Currently, we are in the process of opening our Salt Lake City production + fulfillment location. We are expanding so that we can craft the products our customers have come to love with faster turnaround times.

We are Approachable
We are here for your feedback, for your questions, for your ideas. We strive to be educators for natural products + for our planet.

We love you all! We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you. Our extensive product offerings come from customer suggestions. At our in-house workshops, we work alongside you in crafting your own natural products to take home. (This summer, we look forward to reintroducing our in-person workshops as well as engaging in more community events.) We love to talk natural products with our visitors + we are always willing to provide information on the best products/ingredients for your personal use. 

We are Sustainable
We don’t do it because it’s cool. We do it because we care. We aim to use locally-sourced, non-GMO, and organic materials whenever possible. We work to reduce, reuse, recycle in every aspect of our production + business operations.

There are quite a number of ways that Pantry aims to be sustainable.

Here are some:
– We have recently re-launched our product refill program where we offer a 10% discount on refills of your favorite Pantry Products.
– We offer mask + glove recycling in our Wells Ave. shop
– We have a TerraCycle Beauty Products + Cosmetics Packaging Recycling Box for recycling containers from all your household cosmetics + personal care products
.
– Our orders are packed in recycled boxes with reused and/or recycled materials that can easily be recycled or reused. 

Stay tuned for more information to come on Pantry and what defines our brand.

Until then, be well + be kind!

Michelle + the Pantry team

Be Kind

In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” – Caroline Fleck

I’m sure you’ve heard this quote before. Maybe hundreds of times.  Our local, national, + global community is going through (to put it simply) some tough shit. And now, more than ever, we could all use a little extra kindness in our lives. No matter the person, living with + navigating a devastating pandemic is challenging. Our new reality is causing sadness, despair, + even rage. Nerves are frayed, tensions are high. Nobody is immune. We’re all going through it. Spreading a little kindness into someone else’s day will not only lift their mood but it will also lift yours. 

Over the last year, our small business has worked the literal skin off of its fingers to continue crafting + distributing our products. We’ve opted to keep our brick + mortar doors open to provide some sense of normalcy to our local community. To see the faces of our beloved customers + to meet new ones. To greet our delivery drivers with a “howdy!” + a joke. To provide a clean + safe place to shop for everyday essentials as well as some self-care treats. We’ve ramped up our production to keep our wholesale customers (+ their customers) stocked up on natural products they can trust. All while navigating a severely-disrupted supply chain, ever-increasing shipping rates with ever-decreasing reliability + growing requests for us to do more: offer more discounts, have faster turnaround, compete with big box store prices, give bigger smiles, etc. All while dealing with our own stress. 

Recently, our Production Manager, Kayla said to me “I don’t know if it’s something in the air but people have been so upsetti spaghetti lately.” And she is so right. Over the last few months, in both my personal + business experiences, I’ve seen an increase in frowning faces, complaints, demands, people choosing to post reviews complaining about an issue that wouldn’t have been an issue if they had just spoken to someone IRL, people forgetting their manners + feeling like they are owed something. As if only they matter.

We always aim to give our customers top-notch service + our team is doing their best to be smiling-shiny beacons of joy during the chaos that this pandemic has brought to all of us. During these trying times, we are doing all we can to get Pantry Products in your hands. However, the pandemic has resulted us having shorter shop hours, slightly longer delivery turnaround, and limited on-hand stock. But, we are a small business of 7 people. We are not Amazon, we are not Sephora, we are not slapping our label on products made overseas.  This is why many of our customers shop with us. Because we are Michelle, Kayla, Dani, Ang, Rhiana, Dylan + Meg. We are mixing, filling, cleaning, labeling, + packing every one of our 100 products by hand for you. We are here 6 days a week providing our in-store customers, our online customers, + our 300-something wholesale customers with healthy + effective wellness products at affordable prices. We are doing everything we can to make our customers happy because we love + appreciate you. All that we ask in return is for a little of the same.

So, to wrap up my rant, in a world where you can easily be upsetti spaghetti, please choose to be friendly fettuccine instead. 

XO,

Michelle + the Pantry team

P.S. The “Be Kind” rainbow sticker in the header is on display in my house as a reminder to be kind. Get yours at StickersNorthwest.

A closer look at America’s pandemic-fueled anger

 

Holiday Shipping Update 2020

Hello, Pantry fans! Pantry founder, Michelle here. First off, I want to thank you for supporting our small business over the last 5 years (we hit the 5-year mark this past week!). We put our heart + soul into every product we create + we appreciate you appreciating us.

Regardless of the time of year, we understand how important it is that you receive your order safely + promptly. We also understand this importance increases as we enter into the holiday season. Over the last few weeks, I have been intensely monitoring online order fulfillment + deliveries and I am happy to report that, as of today, we have not seen any significant delays in delivery. However, businesses all over the country are reporting otherwise. Therefore, I am writing this blog in anticipation of shipping slowdowns + hiccups as we race closer to Christmas. I hope this information will provide some insight on what happens from the time you place your order until it arrives at your front door.

(Should your order not arrive in time for your gift exchange, we have created this certificate that can be printed out + placed into a holiday card to let the recipient know that their gift is on its way. We’ll no doubt be doing this with our loved ones this year.)

Production Time:
Because we craft every single product by hand, our production time fluctuates throughout the year based on order volume. Add to that a global pandemic that has significantly impacted the supply chain as well as turnaround times for shipping + and our production times have been further impacted. As you can imagine, the increase in online shopping has kept us busier than ever (and we’re so grateful!) but it also means that our production time is a little longer than normal. Please know that our Pantry Elves are working hard to fulfill holiday orders within 2-4 business days of receiving them.

Shipping Method/Shipping Time:
The shipping method selected at checkout dictates the method that your order will be shipped + also the speed of shipment during normal times of year. (This is separate from our production time, which is the time needed to process, make + pack your order.)

Generally, USPS First Class takes 3-5 business days, Priority Mail takes 2-4, and Priority Express takes 1-2 to be delivered. However, because of the backlog of packages the USPS is handling this year, those estimates are pushed out substantially. Unfortunately, we cannot control this, and once your package is shipped, USPS is responsible for final delivery.

So, choose another shipper, you say? Well, the same is happening with FedEx, UPS, DHL, etc. Even the Big Bad Amazon is experiencing holiday delays.

Why is shipping so slow?
There are a few reasons for this.

1. The very, very large increase in customers shopping online this year because of the pandemic has created a backlog all the way back to March/April when stay-at-home orders began.

2. Postal workers being required to follow COVID-19 social distancing guidelines

3. Reduced workforce in post offices + distribution centers as many postal workers catch COVID + must quarantine and/or seek medical treatment

4. Reduced air traffic has directly impacted USPS’s ability to get packages across the country. Instead, USPS is using trucks to transport packages, which results in longer transit times + fewer tracking updates (and sometimes is the reason for a lack of tracking updates).

What can we do?
Sign up for email/text updates directly from the USPS.com tracking page. It might sound like voodoo, but signing up for these updates can sometimes “shake loose” the package. The USPS system updates + starts showing more up-to-date tracking information. The same update service is offered by the other shipping companies. Just click the tracking link on the order completion email you receive from us.

We completely understand the frustration of slow delivery, lack of tracking updates, + having to wait longer than normal for holiday gifts to arrive. We are encountering the same things with our shop orders, base ingredients + containers, as well as holiday gifts for our loved ones. We want to assure you that we are doing everything we can to get orders fulfilled in a timely manner + that we hear you, we understand you, and we’re right here with you.

If you still have questions, please don’t hesitate to email us at pantryproductsnv@gmail.com, call the shop at 775-683-9844, or drop into to chat with one of our team members. We are always happy to help in any way we can! We are so incredibly grateful for your support of our small business this holiday season!

Wishing you all a happy, safe + festive holiday season!

Michelle + The Pantry Team

A Day in the Life of a Small Business Owner

Greetings! In case you aren’t familiar with this face, I am Michelle, Founder/Owner of Pantry Products: a modern apothecary that has been handcrafting wellness products since 2015. I work alongside a team of 9 incredible ladies who produce nearly 100 products sold through our website, our brick + mortar store, and on the shelves of over 300 stores in over 40 states.

This week, our social media maven, Taylor, thought it would be interesting to give our readers a sneak peek at the life of a small business owner. So, here I am. 🙂

One thing that I’ve found with running a small business is I don’t work a typical schedule. Prior to starting Pantry, I spent nearly 20 years holding down a desk Mon – Fri, 8- 5 pm. It was draining to “have” to be somewhere and to build my life around someone else’s desires. Now, I work more than I did when I worked for others but I have a better work/life balance. Some days, I’m at work at 7 am and work until 8 pm. Some days, I‘ll take off to play outside but I’ll work all weekend. When I first started Pantry, I wanted to make all the things happen so I would wake up at 4 am and work until 12 am. This took a huge toll on me both personally and professionally. Now, I am working on a good balance of work and play. Here’s how a typical day typically looks for me….


6 – 8 a.m.
 Wakey-wakey!
I wake up sometime between these two times. If I wake up past 8, I feel like I’ve missed getting a jump start on my day and that I am already behind on my to-dos. While I love lounging in bed, on work days, I try to be up and out of bed within 30 mins of waking. I have a cup of coffee while checking in on emails, social, and my calendar before tossing on some clothes, making the bed, spraying down my million cowlicks, and taking the dogs for a quick walk.

6:30-8 a.m. Getting a move on. 
After the dogs have been walked and more coffee has been made, I’ll turn on one of our two of our favorite local radio stations: KUER or KRCL while spending the next half hour getting ready. (I always have music on. Always!) Clothes are selected, a shower is taken, breakfast is either made or packed up for taking to work, and I chat with my partner, Heather, on the plans for our day: how our work days are looking, who will walk the dogs in the afternoon, what we’ll do that evening for dinner, if we can squeeze in a hike/bike, etc.

8:30 a.m. Head out for the work day.
We recently moved to Salt Lake City so going into the shop to work with my team happens only one week a month now. To ensure I don’t get cabin fever working from home and to help meet new folks in our new town, I recently joined Kiln, a co-working community. I go into “the office” at least 3 days a week and, since it’s a short commute from our home, I often ride my bike over. Before I leave, I load my backpack with all my tech items, my notebook and journal, my water bottle and my Keep cup, a few pieces of fruit, and my must-have Pantry work items: hand sanitizer, Get Sh$t Done roller ball, Honey + Lavender lip balm, and Nail + Cuticle Essential Oil. And of course, my Neverender face mask. Once I’m ready, I say goodbye to the family, don my helmet and cruise out the door.

9:00 a.m. Getting down to business.
Once I fill my coffee cup and water bottle and find a chill Spotify playlist, it’s work time! On Monday mornings, I make a weekly to-do list so I always know my main priorities for the day and week. As one who struggles with staying focused and not jumping from task to task, having a short list of high priority items helps me hone in on what I should be doing. If it’s not on the list, it gets jotted down for a later time. My general manager, Jessica, and I both post our weekly to-dos on a Slack channel so we can stay tuned in to top-level initiatives. Every morning when I get to my laptop, I review this list before I begin any other tasks.

9:15 – 10:00 a.m. Check e-correspondence.
With 2 business email accounts, 2 social media accounts, 2 third-party wholesale accounts, 2 Slack workspaces, and our assorted shop lists, I spend at least 30 minutes responding to messages, checking in with the team, and getting a feel for what the shop needs for the week. Action items are jotted down in my notebook for tackling when I need a quick break from priorities.

Kiln coworking

10:00 – 12:00 p.m. Let’s do that work!
As a small business owner, I wear many hats. On any given day, I can be found managing any/all of the following: web design + content creation, sales +  marketing, graphic design, Human Resources, finances, product research + development, inventory management, and community engagement. When I announced I was moving to Salt Lake, people thought, that by not being in my shop, I was leaving my business. Moving is actually one of the best things for Pantry as I am not devoting 80% of my day to running the brick + mortar during the day and then trying to find the time to work on the lengthy list above. The shop always took priority over strategic planning but now I can focus on higher-level tasks. I am fortunate that my Pantry team members can keep the shop flourishing so I focus on growing the business.

12-12:15 p.m. Journal Time!
Recently, I started journaling again. While this was something I did religiously in my younger years, I stopped writing around the time my OCD and general anxiety disorder started increasing as I found it easier to avoid my thoughts than to acknowledge them. I thought I had everything under control but, in reality, I was stuffing everything which led to even more anxiety, less sleep, and increased avoidant behavior. Upon seeking professional help and actively working on my anxiety, I know it’s better to tackle my worries head on. By setting aside the time to journal every single day, I can communicate my concerns and insecurities before my brain has a chance to catastrophize them. But journaling is not only for working on the negative thoughts. It also allows me to “talk” through ideas with Pantry, plot out plans for my future, and celebrate my wins (both personally and professionally).

12:15-12:30 p.m. Quiet Time
It is rare that I have time to myself to do absolutely nothing. Most of the time, this is my choice. As an ambivert, I feed off of being around people and have been known to be blue if I spend too much time alone. However, sometimes I become too overwhelmed by the constant stimulation of others. Recently, I discovered the Relaxation room at Kiln which features an essential oil diffuser, mood light lamp, and the most incredible Kyota massage chair. While I’d prefer to be out on a bike ride, going for a hike or taking a yoga class, sometimes my schedule/the weather/COVID won’t allow it. Taking these few minutes during the day helps to recharge my batteries while working out muscle tension.

12:30-1:00 p.m. Lunchtime
While I try to eat what I bring from home, the best part about being in a new city is discovering their food culture. And Salt Lake hasn’t disappointed. From their wide array of Greek/Mediterranean restaurants to handmade arepas, crispy curry fried chicken, housemade mole, and gluten-free pizza.

1:00-4 p.m. More work.
Having the time to dedicate to Pantry‘s growth has allowed me to take on tasks that have been on my list for years. Recently, I have tackled the following:

  – Restart this blog – there’s so much wellness product info in this head of mine. I now have the time to get it out to you.

  – Work through ongoing website issues that affect sales. These include fixing the shipping rate calculator, adding more subscription options, improving website copy and SEO, more in-depth product descriptions, offering gift wrap, Skin Care by Skin Type

  – Roll out new products – keep a look out for new offerings such as more cleaning products, a new mens’ line, virtual workshops, and festive holiday offerings

  – Pursue more wholesale business – more Pantry Products to more people

  – Find a business mentor – I don’t have a background in Business so it’s important to work with a mentor who can help guide me in my journey. SCORE is the best resource I have found.

  – Develop a dedicated production facility – Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to see the team crafting your favorite products. This location would handle our wholesale production demand.

4-4:30 p.m.  Head home.

4:30-5:30 p.m. Catch up with the fam.
This usually means Heather and I walking/hanging out with the dogs while discussing our workdays. You wouldn’t think an associate professor in Chemical Engineering would have much crossover with running a small business but Heather’s experience running her research lab and leading her team of students is very relatable to what I experience as Pantry’s leader. I cherish the time we get to spend together discussing our respective days, challenge, and achievements. Even if most of the time she’s helping to peel me off the ceiling because I’m overwhelmed.

6-8 p.m. Enter Chef Czarka
I typically end the work day around 6 p.m. and start in on one of my favorite activities: making dinner. I would say I spend the majority of my free time thinking about and/or talking about food and my love for spending time in the kitchen is what helped spawn Pantry. I cherish taking ingredients from my kitchen pantry and combining them into something delish. Bonus: Pantry creations are also WAY better for my waistline!

7-10 p.m. Dinnertime
While Heather and I well aware that we shouldn’t eat late dinners, our schedules often result in dinner closer to bedtime. Other times, it’s not our schedules but the fact that I (once again) have spent too much time creating something nourishing. Once dinner is ready, we set aside work, social media, and other other distractions and select a spot to continue catching up on each other’s lives.

Between 9:30 and 10:30 p.m. Time for bed!
Since my days can be long and I cannot stand/afford to be dragging through a workday, I am usually in bed by 10:30 p.m. Sometimes, we opt to “rot our brains” which consists of watching an episode of Monk that Heather will last 10 minutes into.  I’m not one of those lucky folks that falls asleep quickly and I struggle with shutting my brain off. In the instances where I need some assistance finding slumber, I load up Sleepcasts on the Headspace app or tune into Nothing Much Happens for one of Kathryn Nicolai‘s soothing stories. These two have changed my bedtime!

And that, folks, is a sneak peek into my days. It’s exciting to reflect back on how my schedule has changed in the last 5 years and I’m excited to be able to reflect back in 5 years again.

Want to more about what it’s like to run a small business? Comment below!

Thank you for reading along!
xo Michelle

I know what you are thinking right now, “What the heck is a Dainty Rhino?” Is it an endangered species? Meh, not really. Some wild creature who eats mass amounts of greens and is as buff as Schwarzenegger? Well, that’s a little bit of a stretch, but I’ll take it! Alright, alright, let the drum roll slow and allow myself to introduce…myself (insert Austin Powers accent, please). My name is Rachel and I am Pantry’s leading expert in packing tape security management, cardboard cutting specialist, and product packing connoisseur. Why Amazon has not tried to poach me from Pantry Products for my wide variety of skills– I have no idea. So, now the question is, what does a box packing dainty rhino have to do with skincare products?…

Photo by Rachel Koester on May 27, 2018.

 

Outside of my gun slinging box cutter skills, I am a full time personal trainer at a small local gym here in Reno. Along with being in the gym hours on end each day, I am an avid mountain biker and former collegiate soccer player. Basically I’ve spent my entire life sweaty, dirty, smelly, bruised, and have always struggled to find skincare products that didn’t make my skin breakout, give me rash, or make me wonder why I couldn’t pronounce the ingredients on the label. This gym rat + weekend dirt shredder is tough on the inside, but wow, is she dainty on the outside.

Let’s face it– literally. Sensitive skin sucks. Bad products suck even more. A few years ago I had such a bad reaction to a particular lotion, my legs and stomach were covered in a rash so terrible that the dermatologist thought it was staph infection. This Dainty Rhino was so done being…well, dainty. This fueled my mad search for clean products with natural ingredients that weren’t going to annihilate my skin and force me to wear pants and long sleeves in the gym or on the trail. Cue the cloud parting music, throw in some singing angels, rays of sunshine, and that is how my body and face felt the first time I used Pantry Products. So, let’s take a peek into what a Dainty Rhino skin regime looks like…

RISE & GRIND: The only graceful part of my morning routine is when I’m actually using Pantry Products. The alarm goes off anywhere between 5:30-6:00 am, in which I slowly manipulate and twist my body in order not to crush our tiny 10lb dog who likes to sleep between my legs. I would love to say my feet hit the ground running after that, but it’s actually more of a dainty tip toe over our 70 lb Golden Retriever who likes to sleep in the middle of the floor. Did you even know a Dainty Rhino could move like a ninja? I finally stumble to the sink and I rinse my face with warm water (I don’t ever actually “wash” my face in the morning- is that good or bad? I have no idea!) Besides coffee, the best part of my morning is using my absolute favorite product, the Aloe + Rosewater Toner. I put a few dabs on a cotton round and gently sweep over my entire face. Right after the toner, I use the Moisturizing Facial Mist, which gives an awesome refreshing spritz and helps me wake up and get ready to face…three hungry dogs. After dog mom duties are completed, caffeine has been ingested, breakfast consumed, I always do several generous swipes of the Rise + Shine essential oil rollerball before I run out the door. Phew, does anyone else need more coffee?

SWEAT, BABY, SWEAT: I absolutely love being a personal trainer, but if you’re not conscious of your body, well…things get funkay. Whether I’m sweating during my own workout or getting amped up while teaching group class, I am constantly varying between sweating and not sweating. This is why the Lavender + Ylang Ylang Deodorant is my BFF in the gym. Not only does it keep me so fresh and so clean clean, but I don’t have to worry that toxic chemicals are seeping into my lady pits. Ain’t nobody got time for that. I am fortunate that my schedule allows me to workout in the afternoon, but the downside to this is freshening-up after my workout to get ready for the second half of my day. The other absolute must in my gym bag is the Apple Cider Vinegar + Rosewater Toner. I always keep a few cotton rounds in my travel makeup bag and do a quick sweep of the toner over my face. Not only does it do an awesome job of getting the sweat off my face, it is also a very pleasant smell under your mask!

A must have for the gym bag!

 I FEEL NAKED WITHOUT: If I’m at the gym, grocery shopping, on the trail, or gracefully trying to walk three dogs, there is a 99.99% chance that I ALWAYS have the Orange + Vanilla lip balm in my pocket. Most lip balm products actually end up drying out your lips even more, therefore forcing you to use even MORE lip balm! Ugh, lame. I don’t know about you guys, but now that we are living in the times of wearing these awesome pieces of fabric covering our faces all day, my lips started to become as dry as our Nevada desert. It is quite awesome (and more safe), to not have to pull your face mask down every few minutes to apply lip balm. This smooth-like-butter feeling will leave your smackers moisturized for hours on end.

Bruce knows the good stuff!

NIGHT-NIGHT DAINTY RHINO: I wish I could say that my evenings are comprised of Netflix & chill, but in all reality my partner and I live the glamorous night life of doggie dinnertime, nighttime poop walks, and administering senior dog medications. With that being said, if a quick shower can be squeezed into the evening, I always get a little taste of pampering from the Honey + Lemon Exfoliating Face Scrub. This product is a great way to literally scrub the day away and give your face a little TLC that it deserves. On the flip side, if a shower doesn’t happen amongst the doggie madness, I always have a bottle of the Makeup Remover in my medicine cabinet armory. I love the makeup remover because not only does it actually work, but it doesn’t burn your eyeballs out of your head to get the job done.

Before the last of the dog kisses for the night (who am I kidding, there’s probably 5 more minutes of dog kissing and a Pug massage), I like to do a little swoop of the Pack Your Bags Neroli Eye Serum. Now that I am officially smack in the mid-30’s (ah!), there ain’t no shame in a little help with those puffy eyes that say, “This is what I look like if I go to bed after 10pm.” One last spritz of the moisturizing facial mist, thirty-seven more dog kisses, eye mask on my head, pillows perfectly propped and squished, a smooch for the partner, and this Dainty Rhino is down for the count.

Natural Dry Shampoo

Unlike fairy tales and Hollywood movies, the best dreams do not come to life merely by chance. They are realized when one is open to the opportunities the universe affords them and when someone is not only able to identify a problem but to provide a feasible solution. When someone dares to say out loud that something is missing from the world + that they want to be the brave soul who takes on the challenge of filling the void. This exact situation occurred when Pantry Products’ founder, Michelle identified the need for truly natural, truly chemical-free products consumers could turn to in a misleading and toxin-filled personal care market.

In 2015, upon realizing what was hidden in the mass-produced personal care products on her shelves and how simply these same products could be crafted naturally, Michelle began whipping up health + wellness goodies for her friends + family with items she sourced from her kitchen pantry (in case you wondered where the name “Pantry” can from).

She applied her lifetime of crafting, her nearly two decades in corporate marketing, and her tireless work ethic to bring Pantry from her teeny Reno kitchen to her first storefront in less than 6 months. Since then, Pantry Products has grown to over 90 products, 3 brick + mortar locations, and 100s of wholesale stockists across the U.S. But, not without A LOT of hard work, late nights, and support from her personal network, and her dedicated Pantry team members.

Pantry’s first store. located in The Basement,  was known as The Pantry Vault because it was located inside an old, you guessed it, vault. This teeny space was less than 200 square feet and housed a handful of products on shelves custom-built using copper pipes reclaimed from The Basement. With just one shop employee helping Michelle (when she wasn’t working her full-time Marketing job), this little space was home for retail operations but also product production. Everything from lip balms to hand soaps and face masks to bath bombs was created in this space, by these two. The Vault was where many of our customers first met us, drawn in by the smells emanating from this concrete cave. People tentatively walked in, discovered what we were doing, and selected products to try out. These same people still visit us today and have been crucial in the growth Pantry has experienced.  It was in this space that our photographer, Abbey Kay, first discovered our hand soap + coffee body polish + was instantly hooked.

Within a matter of months, we out grew our beloved (but limited) Vault. When a shop space in The Basement offering better visibility, running water, a closet, and 2 windows (this is huge in a basement) opened up around the corner from The Vault, we didn’t hesitate to snag it up. It was larger than The Vault which allowed us to increase our production capabilities, grow our product line, and increase our staff. It also meant more room for new + existing customers to peruse our handmade wares.

Since we were able to offer more products in this space, we kept dreaming,  growing, and coming up with new ways to push the limits of what we thought Pantry Products could be and achieve. We also enjoyed inventing new ways to decorate our favorite feature: the window light well. It’s seen everything from hay stacks and pumpkins to a fully decorate Christmas tree and 7′ inflated flamingo floatie resting on hundreds of beach balls.  It’s still one of our highlights of this space.

In 2018, we moved into our second Reno location on Wells Avenue. This space was nearly four times the size of our store inside The Basement + it was key in helping to again expand the production side of Pantry Products.  This new space allows to house more back stock to meet the demand from our retail and wholesale customers, provides a private space to host our workshops, + a roomy place to create more products.

 

Our next adventure will be opening up shop in Detroit, Michigan where boss lady Michelle was raised. We are so excited to head back to her roots + to share the Pantry Products we love with the city that she loves. Who says you can’t go home again?

(exterior mock-up of Pantry Detroit)

We’ve enjoyed being a part of your lives over the years + we can’t wait to add even more joy to your home through clean products. Stay tuned to see what’s next!

– The Pantry Team

This is a question our team receives nearly every day from visitors to our stores.  With so many lovely items to choose from, it’s difficult to select just one but, we recently posed this question to our team members. Below is what they’ve selected as the handcrafted Pantry products they simply can’t live without.

Alissa, Retail Manager

Pack Your Bags: Neroli Eye Serum is magical. It’s a wonderful remedy to morning puffy eyes, and with Neroli being a sedative and stress reducer, it makes for an ideal part of the night routine! Armpit Detox is my #2 because being that the main ingredients in most deodorant brands today are very toxic, the armpit detox is brilliant. It lessens the need for deodorant entirely + frees my mind of worry.”

 


Taylor, Project Manager

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The Aloe + Chamomile Cream is THE BEST stuff there is. It’s a perfect creamy consistency to that is just hydrating enough but not too greasy. I use it every night before bed paired with the Pack Your Bags roller and every few days I use the Vanilla Mint Lip Scrub. (Pro-tip: I also use the lip scrub to exfoliate my face and it works wonders).


Sunnah, Shop Assistant
Nourishing Night-Time Cream is my favorite product, not only to use, but also to make! I love its nutritious ingredients, especially the neroli, rosehip, and aloe vera. Not only does it help heal my skin but it does so at the best time, at night! Neroli has really helped me settle my nerves because it lowers cortisone in the brain which has made a huge difference with my PTSD and depression, so I wake up feeling well moisturized, topically nourished, and happy to start the day.”


Erik, Wholesale Manager

“My favorite product we make is the Shampoo Bar. I switched over to shampoo bar a year ago and noticed my hair is way softer than when I used liquid shampoo. And I don’t need to use a conditioner.”


Scott, Shop Assistant

“My favorite product is the Grapefruit Mint Shave Gel. The razor glides so smoothly on my face and neck after using it that I don’t get any irritation like I do with other shaving creams or gels. I love the fresh scent and the soothing aloe vera keeps your face feeling cool and refreshed afterwards.”


Hawa, Shop Assistant

Nourishing Night-Time Cream has been one of my favorite products so far. Neroli has been such an uplifting ingredient. The smell is calming before bed and the active response my skin receives from neroli’s benefits of cell reproduction influences me to use it in the morning as well. My go-to routine day n’ night.”


Abbey Kay, Photographer

“I love the dry shampoo because it works so well, doesn’t leave your hair feeling sticky like aerosol dry shampoo can, and it smells like chocolate! It’s the best dry shampoo I have tried and I use it every single day.”


Michael, General Manager

“I love this oil cleanser as the oil and friction of applying it really exfoliates my skin. Removing it with a hot face cloth really further cleans my skin, opening the pores and giving me a true clean.”


Michelle, Owner

“I literally crave our Nighttime Repair Serum. It’s lightweight, incredibly moisturizing, and it smells like heaven! The combination of jojoba, argan, and sweet almond oils help keep my skin hydrated without clogging my pores while our blend of carrotseed, rosehip, and essential oils work to balance, rejuvenate, and brighten my (oft-overworked, under-pampered) skin.    


Lou
Lou divides his time between “supervising” and exploring. To ensure he looks + feels his best no matter the activity, he reaches for Pantry’s Puppy Paw Protectant.


Winnie +  Chase 

Pantry’s fashionista pups choose the Dirty Dog Wash as their favorites, paws down!

 

 

 

 

 

What are your must-have favorite Pantry Products? We would love to know, so tell us below!

Have a great day!
– The Pantry Team

Happy May! This month we have so many things to be happy about. We are opening our first Pantry Products store on the East Coast in Brooklyn! This is a dream come true & just the start of Pantry taking over the country & eventually the world! Just kidding, but we really are excited! We are also loving this gorgeous Reno weather & can’t wait to spend sunny days on the Truckee River & at Lake Tahoe. May & springtime offer such a fresh perspective on the things going on around us. So we thought it’d be fun to share with you all today our teams perspective on our freshly made Pantry Products. Keep reading to check out the Pantry team’s favorite products & why we love em’!

Nicole, Operations Manager

So hard for me to narrow down as so many of the products have been effective on my skin. Prior to using Pantry’s clay masks, I was spending upwards of $70 on a charcoal mask from Sephora, that I maybe got 10 masks out of. I love Pantry’s Activated Charcoal Mask because, not only do you get around 30-40 masks out of a single jar, but it allows for so much creativity! I’ve mixed mine with Greek yogurt, honey, warm tea, etc. I also love that instead of doing a full face mask, I could do little spot treatments and make the consistency thicker or thinner depending on how badly my skin needs it. I’m a girl who loves quality and quantity which is exactly what these masks provide!

Caitlin, Community Ambassador

One of my favorites is the Garden of Love Body Polish. I have really dry skin, so the polish moisturizes while it exfoliates. Plus, you step out of the shower smelling like Spring!

Michelle, Owner

How do I select one product?? That’s like asking my Mom to pick her favorite child (Me! Sorry, boys!) Maybe I can narrow it down to a couple… Our Oil Cleanser changed my skincare world. I have always despised washing my face. The soap in the eyes, the splashing water, the rush after to apply lotion after, and the inevitable oiliness afterwards. The first time I used it, I was smitten. My pores were clear, my skin felt clean AND hydrated, and I wasn’t soaked from all the splashing. My second choice would be our Lavender + Ylang Ylang Deodorant. I sweat a bit. Whether I’m hot or cold, active or sedentary. Since controlling sweat wasn’t a concern for me, I’ve been seeking out the best deodorant for years…without luck. I am continually amazed by the deo we created. Not only do I smell and feel fresh throughout the day but I actually sweat less! And, added bonus, no ridiculously painful rash from baking soda irritation.

Taylor, Shop Assistant

I’m obsessed with everything in the store, but recently the Makeup Primer + Setting Mist has been consistently finding its way back into my routine. It’s cooling, smells soooo good, and gets the job done!

Caleb, Shop Assistant (not pictured)

My favorite Pantry product is the Gardener’s Hand Salve. I use it on my calluses from CrossFit, and it helps me go back 6 days a week without blisters or cuts on my hands! Plus you can’t beat the long lasting softness.

Abbey Kay, Photographer


I have loved using & trying out so many different Pantry Products since 2015. But my absolute favorites that I use every day are the Dry Shampoo in Raven, the Air & Linen Spray in Lavender & Lemon, & the All-Natural Hand Soap in Orange & Clove. I am super sensitive to certain scents & can often get headaches from them being too much, but all three of these scents are subtle enough to be used in my daily routine.

Elle, Operations Assistant


My favorite Pantry Product is the Noggin Healer: Headache Relief Roller Ball. I get headaches almost every other day, and I used to constantly be taking medication for it (which I hated having to do). However, this product oftentimes works better than the medication, actually soothing the headache quickly and completely, plus it’s all-natural!!

 Dena, Shop Assistant
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For me, every Pantry product is my favorite. So I will narrow it down to my top 3 essentials. The Cedar Lemongrass Deodorant; keeping it real and fresh all at the same time. I love the Nighttime Repair Serum; Rich in aroma and nourishment. Full of multiple essential oils for the health and vibrancy of the skin. I use it day or night and sometimes on the ends of my hair. And the Bare Bones Laundry Detergent. Clean and simple. Laundry has never felt so good and my hand washables feel extra pure.

What’s your favorite Pantry Product? We would love to know, so tell us below! And be sure to follow the behind the scenes of the opening of our Brooklyn store here & here!

Have a great day!
– The Pantry Team

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself & what made you decide to start Pantry Products.

My name is Michelle M. Czarka but I answer to Meesh. In 2015, I founded Pantry Products: a handmade line of 100% all-natural skin + body care products in response to a consumer marketplace hawking chemical-packed products and over-priced natural skincare.  I was born in Michigan, raised in the Metro-Detroit area, and relocated to Lake Tahoe 12 years ago. (And yes, if you ask where in Michigan, I will pull up my right hand to indicate home). I am passionate about truth in marketing, supporting local business and my community, celebrating my inner child, singing all the songs, and eating all the noodles.  

 

Where did the name come from?

When I first started creating natural gifts for my friends and family, I was sourcing ingredients from the shelves of my kitchen pantry. Items such as coconut oil, sugar, avocado oil, cocoa powder, etc. When I decided to turn my hobby into a business, I sought a name that was as clean as the products and conveyed the simpleness of the ingredients. Pantry Products was born.

How many of the products do you currently use in your home or day to day life, & what are your top three favorites?

This is a tough question! While Pantry crafts and sells skin + body care products, we are really more of a lifestyle company. Our products are developed to support and contribute to a healthy lifestyle. We strive to be a natural replacement for the harmful products lining most store shelves. For me, all of my personal care products are Pantry. I use all of our bath products including Coconut + Chai body wash, Coffee + Choco body polish, Grapefruit + Mint shave gel, Rosemary + Mint hair wash + rinse, the sea salt soaks for sore muscle and soul pampering. I use our Coconut + Chai Hand + Body lotion, Lavender + Neroli after shower spray, dry shampoo. My skincare is all Pantry (and this could easily be my favorite part of the brand). Product testing our oil cleanser changed my entire outlook on skincare. No splashing of water, no mad rush to slather lotion on my dried out skin only to feel greasy, no need to control oily skin throughout the day. Three times a week, I oil cleanse. In the morning after my shower,  I use our Pack Your Bags eye roller, Aloe + Rosewater Toner, and Rejuvenating Facial Mist. I brush my chompers with our Tooth Powder, put on Bergamot + Lemongrass deodorant, apply Force Field roller ball as fragrance. At night, I treat my skin to more Pack Your Bags before applying our Nighttime Repair Serum, I spritz my pillow with Eucalyptus + Spearmint Air + Linen Spray and apply our Nail + Cuticle Oil before slipping into slumber. I could go on and on…lip balms, room sprays, candles, pet products, laundry products…I use them all!

Oil Cleanser

 

 

 

 

My favorites (at the moment) are Combination Oil Cleanser, Tooth Powder, Rejuvenating Facial Mist.

Tell us what it’s like to be a female owner of a business? What’s the most fun part & the most challenging?
I absolutely love being a business owner. I love developing ideas, I love introducing people to healthy alternatives to the cancer-causing products found in today’s marketplace. I love sharing information and engaging in conversation with my customers.

Being a female business owner has challenges aside from the day-to-day tasks of operating a business and ensuring my passion and message are communicated clearly through all channels. There is a lot of talk of female empowerment these days but I also feel there is a lot of competitiveness between females and female business owners. I work hard to support the women around me and to share opportunities for promotion any chance I have. There’s enough opportunity out there for all of us so I believe in sharing the success and actively working to lift up my fellow hard working ladies (and men).

What does a typical work day look like for you?

I’m not certain small business owners have typical work days. Some mornings starts around 7:30 a.m. with computer + coffee time on my couch where my pup, Lou curls up around me while I address emails, review my daily/weekly calendar, manage inventory, develop new products + labels, and tackle various aspects of biz ops. Some days, I’m up early for a run or road bike ride followed by local errands: picking up packaging and labels, shopping for ingredients, dropping off orders to our area stockists. Other days, I head right into the shop to work on production, test recipes for new products and our monthly workshops, custom blend requests from our customers, brainstorm with my neighbors in The Basement on collaborations. This variation of schedule is one of my favorite aspects of being a business owner.  

You’re clearly all about living a natural healthy lifestyle. Do you have any tips on how to start doing that for a beginner?
The transition starts with one simple step. When you run out of a product, instead of replacing it with the same, seek out a natural alternative. Purchase a chemical-free body wash, trade out your hand lotion, toss out that terrible deodorant and allow your body to detox naturally. All Pantry products are priced affordably so folks can afford to purchase healthy without emptying the piggy bank.

Here are a few simple questions:

Dogs or cats?
All the animals! I love both dogs and cats and share my home with a Bichon-Poodle named Lou and a tiger striped kitty named Emma. I value Lou’s playfulness and companionship while, with Emma, I appreciate her independence and ability to oftentimes desire nothing from me than a warm place to curl up and a couple forehead butts.

Coffee or tea?
Strong coffee with a splash of cream in the morning, spicy ginger tea at night.

Morning or night?
I’m at extremes with the times of day. I love the wee hours of the morning before the world wakes and the late hours of the night after the world has gone to sleep. Like most people these days, I’m often distracted by my iPhone: text messages, social media, emails. The “off” hours allow me to focus on work, writing, designing, and planning without interruption.

What else are you passionate about?
In today’s current political state, I’m passionate about social and political activism and about speaking up and out about inequality. While I am but one woman running a very small business, I believe small actions can have highly complex and large impacts.

How has starting Pantry Products changed you & your life?
It has changed so much of my life. For nearly 20 years, I worked in corporate marketing in various industries including automotive, mortgage banking, commercial construction, and healthcare. I loved my career but I always desired to create something for myself, a place where I could pave my own path and bring my ideas to life. The skills I honed during my Marketeer years have aided in bringing Pantry to life as a brand and the experience I gained working side-by-side with the C-Suite of highly successful start-ups has guided my practices as a business owner. I’m passionate about what I do and every bit of me is poured into every aspect of Pantry.

What does the future have in store for Pantry Products?
The question I ask myself nearly every day! My immediate goals are:

  • Become 100% organic in 2018
  • Expand our partnerships with amazing stockists across the US
  • Continue to serve as an educator in both my local and online community
  • Land Pantry on Oprah’s Favorite Things list. 😀
Pantry Products