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Face Time: Matthew Malin + Andrew Goetz.

04.25.2017 | Posted by MALIN+GOETZ in Apothecary and Lab | No comments

by: Jane Larkworthy, Editor at Large.

Malin + Goetz is not a Scandinavian architecture firm.

Nor is it an Austrian opera, or a German term used for teaching your new puppy how to fetch. Matthew Malin and Andrew Goetz are two guys who created a brand to give you better skin, make you smell better and add a chic upgrade to your bathroom.

What began in 2004 as a minimalist boutique in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood that offered gentle products for people with sensitive skin has expanded to an internationally recognized and trusted name currently sold in 21 countries. As the brand is about to turn thirteen and open its ninth store (in New York’s Nolita), we posed 13 questions to Andrew and Matthew on the cusp of their baby’s coming of age.

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What were you like at 13?
Matthew: I was an introverted boy who was bookish and uncomfortable in my own skin. I wanted to be an architect. I was good at math and I loved to draw. I still appreciate the precision of architecture.

Andrew: I was an extremely cheeky kid, probably to overcompensate for being painfully shy. But I was also incredibly curious and creative – and remain so today. That helped me forge my independent spirit. Although I was a quirky 13-year-old who marched to my own tune, my peers seemed to embrace my sense of otherness, and I got along with a wide variety of people. I certainly had no idea what I wanted to be at that age because I was interested in so many things, a dilemma that followed me well past my teenage years.

Do you remember what product you wanted to first make when you started the brand? And did that end up being the first product?
M: The first product–desired, made and a success–is our Grapefruit Face Cleanser. I suffer from several skin issues and getting the basic of skincare perfect was the goal. Voila.

A: Coming from the design world, my focus was on the packaging. But we both knew that we wanted to create a great face cleanser and moisturizer, as well as the same products for the body and hair. Our first products are still our best sellers.

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What was the most important word in skin care to you 13 years ago? And what’s the most important word to you now?
A: Face Moisturizer. Other than a good cleanser, I probably did not need much more back then. Fast forward, thirteen years and on the cusp of my 55th birthday, my most important word has broadened to three: Recovery Treatment Oil. This product has made a world of difference in my skin’s appearance. It’s an anti-oxidant dream.

M: 13 years ago it was “simple”, and today it is still “simple.” Simple skincare solutions.

You live in Manhattan and spend weekends north of the city. Is that why it’s really important to you to tap from the region?
M: We were inspired by the traditional neighborhood apothecaries–their no-fuss artisanal quality and personalized service. With globalization, the offer of a localized approach and to embrace other mom-and-pop, grassroots and family-owned businesses in and around New York was a personal passion. We manufacture almost all of our ingredients and packaging in or near New York City. Andrew is a native New Yorker and I remember when we first met 24 years ago, he would get cheese from his favorite local cheese shop, his bread from the bakery down the street. My childhood wasn’t like that. Growing up in the suburbs of Detroit, we did all of our shopping at the big grocery store conglomerate.

A: It’s true. I don’t know of any other place that’s packed with so much diversity, creativity and energy. It’s positively electric – which means it can sometimes come with a nasty shock. But I can’t imagine having it any other way.

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What overused beauty term do you hate?
A: “Anti-aging.” First of all, it’s not about not aging, it’s about aging with grace, dignity and aplomb. Sure, we all want to assuage the appearance of aging badly or prematurely. I’m a proponent of aging healthfully. That’s very different from anti-aging. Since we can’t stop the aging process, it’s best to focus on how to do it well.
M: “Beauty.” It seems so out of date and not inclusive.

What skin care element do you think people can’t wrap their heads around?
M: Like food diets, there is no quick fix. Eat less and exercise more and you will look great. It is a simple idea and yet it’s hard to do. Use a great cleanser and moisturizer every day, stay out of the sun and avoid smoking and excess of the obvious stuff. It is a simple formula that requires daily perseverance.
A: People can’t wrap their heads around the ailment that affects them personally. If you have systemic acne – you probably could not imagine anything worse. Those with dark circles under their eyes think they’ve been handed the worst hand. We all tend to personalize our vulnerabilities and weaknesses. Thankfully, there is often a solution to many of the more ordinary ailments – but it’s still probably hard for folks to wrap their heads around them.

What are your passions other than skin care?
A: There are so many. I love to cook, I love to eat, I love to drink. We love architecture and design, we love art, we love gardening. And, boy, do we love our little pug, Mr. Greenberg.
M: That’s probably our biggest weekend passion.

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Where was the last great meal you had?
A: It’s hard to find a great meal. Obviously, the food has to be good, but the experience should be memorable, too. I was in London recently and I walked into Duck Soup in SoHo. The place was packed, so I figured I’d try to eat at the bar. I started to feel quite claustrophobic about the whole thing when I started talking to this couple sitting next to me. Next thing I knew, we were seated together for dinner. We had this incredible meal, not only because the food was great, but because I made three new friends. We spent the night eating and drinking into the wee hours. That was a great meal. Matthew came to London a few days later and we went back.
M: Great food. But we didn’t meet anyone new that night.

Tell us about a recent purchase you’re psyched about?
A: We bought a Sonya Flavin texture, which hangs over our bed in Hudson. She’s Dan Flavin’s wife.
M: My last purchase was a Comme des Garcons coat. I dropped a little money, but it was at Barney’s after-Christmas sale, so I got a good deal. There are such good things there!
A: I just bought my first pair of Hunter boots for the country. I don’t know how I ever lived without them.
M: He wears them all the time. They’re like the ones Queen Elizabeth wears.
A: They’re so great in the snow, and when it’s muddy. They’re this beautiful industrial gray. I didn’t go for the traditional green ones.
M: I don’t have anything like that for the snow or mud. I wear Timberlands. I did recently buy a pair of Vans for $30 that I love. They’re crazy comfortable.

Comfort’s important, isn’t it? What’s the coziest item you own?
M: I’d say the coziest things are the throws i have laying around the house.
A: I guess it’s our Eider down duvet, especially on a cold day when the wind is whipping against the windows, it’s perfect to hide beneath.

Got any vices you’d be willing to reveal?
A: I’m happy to say that I have many. I just try to moderate them so that I’m not enjoying them at all the same time.
M: Chocolate. Anything dark chocolate. I can make myself sick.

If you could pick only one Malin + Goetz product to take with you on a desert island (one that has plenty of shade), which would it be?
M: Tough one, but if I can wash my face with sea water (which is incredibly healing) twice a day, then I would take a moisturizer–SPF 30 Face Moisturizer (or if I really always had shade, then the non-SPF version, Vitamin E Face Moisturizer)
A: I cherish all my children equally. But since it’s a desert island with plenty of shade, I’m going with our Recovery Treatment Oil. It would be ideal in a hot climate, and since it comes in a glass bottle, I’d be able to slip some notes into the empty bottles with the hope that it would wash up somewhere in civilization, so someone could get me off the bloody island and return me to all my children.

Since Malin + Goetz is kind of like your love child, how would you toast it on its 13th birthday?
A: I’m so proud to see you grow up before my eyes, and cannot believe how quickly 13 years have flown by. You have grown from a cheeky kid, to an extraordinarily sophisticated adult. I could not be a prouder parent.
M: Happy birthday to the smartest, best looking, most helpful, dependable and honest child I know. How did we get so lucky?

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Where in the world is M+G… Goose Barnacle, Brooklyn Heights

01.22.2016 | Posted by MALIN+GOETZ in Apothecary and Lab | No comments

In 2010 when David Alperin opened Goose Barnacle, his upscale menswear boutique, steps from the western terminus of Atlantic Avenue, those closest to him thought he was crazy. Brooklyn Heights wasn’t exactly a retail destination, and prior to Barneys and the development of Brooklyn Bridge Park, most of the traffic in the area came from people queuing to get on the BQE. But when Alperin, a lifelong Brooklyn Heights resident, decided in 2009 that he wanted to open a store, he knew his neighborhood was the only place he wanted to do it.
On an unseasonably warm November afternoon, we sat down with David at Goose Barnacle to discuss his store, philosophy, and future plans.

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MG: Tell us about your origins, how did you get here?

David Alperin: I was born in Long Island College Hospital, which was right across the street until it closed earlier this year. My father worked there for 35 years and my grandmother owned the Long Island Bar on the corner since 1948. We’re very much rooted in this neighborhood. I was raised here in Brooklyn Heights and really only left for college.
After college I worked in banking until 2009. I was 30 years old and I was a bank Vice President, but I wasn’t really happy. Almost as a blessing from above, the economy crashed and the whole department I was in was let go. I was given a nice severance package so I took some time off, traveled, and studied design at FIT for a year. I had this idea that I could combine all of my interests into a creative space in the neighborhood that I grew up in, and really be genuine. I always felt that as a banker I was playing a role, and I wanted a job where I could be super honest and genuine with the things I’m passionate about in an area of New York that really is special to me.

MG: So Brooklyn Heights is very special to you, but you mentioned earlier that it was kind of sleepy back then. Were you worried that it wasn’t a great place to open a retail store?

DA: Like you said earlier, everyone thought I was a little crazy because there was nothing down here. There’s this old rundown hospital, no retail. Brooklyn Bridge Park hadn’t been developed, Barneys wasn’t there yet, and everyone thought I couldn’t make it happen. I had this vision that it was going to slowly grow and that I had the time and the patience to slowly grow with the neighborhood, and it gave me time to figure out what my model was and who my customer was. And slowly we’ve been able to improve and that’s really always been my mission—to constantly improve and find ways to make my offering more special than the rest. There are a lot of other good stores out there, but none like mine, and I think that’s the one thing I feel like I can stand behind.

MG: How do you go about making your offering more special than the rest?

DA: I start by never looking at other stores or blogs. The last thing I want is to read a fashion magazine and have it tell me what to buy, and I don’t want to be inspired by the same medium that I’m working in, so I look to art, architecture, my friends, or wherever I happen to be traveling for inspiration. I’m constantly seeking inspiration through experiences because that’s how we evolve. Beyond that I listen to my customers. As much as everything in this store is special to me and something that I’d wear, I realize that some of my customers need a different fit or have a different lifestyle. So it’s a balance of staying true to what I’m into, what feels special to me, and what my customers value. For instance, we just recently started retailing online.

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MG: You’ve been open for five years but just started retailing online?

DA: We’ve been doing the online store for a year and it’s because our customers want it and we want to be able to extend that additional level of service to them. That said our focus will always be on our brick and mortar store because that’s where the experience is. I want to get people off of their devices and back into touching products and testing things and listening to the music and talking to me and my employees. I think there’s going to be a return to experiences and a lifestyle where people want to leave the house and meet up with friends to go shopping, go to restaurants, and that appeals to me. I want to focus on that.

MG: That’s a lofty goal, people are hooked on their devices.

DA: It is, but again, it’s genuine, it’s what I know. I’m not really an online shopper, so it’s easier for me to focus on the in store experience. We’ve got a great space and we’re starting to utilize that more as not just a store but a gallery as well, which adds to the experience while shopping. Whether my customers realize it or not, everything in here from the furniture to the fabrics on my sport coats, to the art on the walls is all connected in my mind. We house our Malin + Goetz products in an old Bell Company phone booth from the fifties that was in my grandmother’s bar. When I first started designing this place I knew I wanted to start with those, so when I was looking for a desk or a couch or a table to display products on I thought about what would look good with those phone booths.

MG: We’re honored that they house our products! You mentioned using the store as a gallery space, and I know you just had your first show.

DA: Right, Richard Sigmund.

MG: Is that indicative of where Goose Barnacle is headed?

DA: It’s definitely one of the things I’m interested in, making better use of this great space. Right now we’re getting ready to start construction so we can move our stock area to the basement and we’ll open up the back to give us more rack space and wall space. Another thing we’re working on that I’m really excited about is expanding our private clothing label. We’ve done some hats and shirts and things like that but I really want to expand that and make a product that has all of the details I’m looking for and has my stamp of approval. I can stand behind everything because I made it. We always want to have a great selection of products from around the world, but if we can create a core private label brand for those people who really want something that came from my mind and this little shop in Brooklyn. Those two plans together go side by side and I think will be a big change for next year and enable us to do a lot of things.

MG: We look forward to seeing it happen. Thanks for hanging out with us.

DA: Thanks for coming to visit.

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Winter Skin Savers

01.19.2016 | Posted by MALIN+GOETZ in Apothecary and Lab, Products, Skin Conditions, Skin Stories | No comments

By Erica, National Training Manager

Cold temperatures have finally arrived in New York and my skin is feeling it. As much as I love winter, I notice a change in my skin as soon as the needle drops, so I switch up my regimen to include more intensely hydrating cleansers and moisturizers. Here are my winter skin saving tips to carry me over into Spring…

When I find that my skin needs a little extra care, I turn to my Facial Cleansing Oil. This emulsifying oil cleanser gentle cleanses, hydrates, and drumroll…removes a full face of makeup.

After cleansing, my skin feels clean and refreshed with a noticeable glow.

Next, I reach for my Replenishing Face Serum. This lightweight sodium hyaluronate gel boosts, moisturizes and plumps up fine lines and wrinkles. It’s the perfect prep for my final skin saving step – Replenishing Face Cream. This rich cream is formulated with vitamins and antioxidants to help skin repair, and it leaves my skin feeling soothed.

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Lastly – body care. Dry skin can pop up all over so take the extra time to address dry skin from the neck down. My go to body products are Vitamin B5 Body Moisturizer and Vitamin B5 Hand Treatment. Vitamin B5 is a powerful antioxidant that deeply hydrates and helps boost collagen. I instantly feel nourished and the fatty acid base allows for immediate absorption so I can get dressed without any wait time.

Bring it on, February!

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Malin+Goetz & The Laundress

11.05.2015 | Posted by MALIN+GOETZ in Products, Advice, Lifestyle, Locations | 1 comment

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Here at Malin+Goetz we pride ourselves on being family owned and from New York City. Since like attracts like, we have had the pleasure of befriending the owners of the Laundress, who are also independently owned and work just a block away from us. Just like Malin+Goetz was created to simplify skincare, The Laundress was founded with the goal of taking the chore out of laundry.

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We wanted a chance to share the love of each other’s products with our loyal customers. This month we are delighted to have partnered with them for a fun sampling opportunity. While supplies last, all online orders will come with a bonus sample provided by the Laundress. Enjoy their Stain Solution and a special opportunity to receive 10% off when you shop their site thelaundress.com. Because clean skin deserves clean clothes.

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Where in the world is M+G… Merz Apothecary, Chicago

09.17.2015 | Posted by MALIN+GOETZ in Apothecary and Lab, Locations | No comments

Anthony Qaiyum from the historic Merz Apothecary, a Chicago landmark with 140 year experience.

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What was it like growing up in Merz Apothecary?
Hah, It was really cool for us. My parents were always so busy that we got to really explore and do some things we shouldn’t do. We would discover the books from the 1800’s with formulas so it was kind of like having a Harry Potter dungeon. We felt like we had a secret place that no one else was able to experience.

Will the beard be making a comeback soon?
I’m itching for it! I’m kind of in the mood for a beard again. I would say most likely before the holidays. I’m not sure if it will be as big but it will make an appearance.

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What’s a Qaiyum family thanksgiving dinner like?
We usually do it with my parents, my brothers, all of the wives, kids, 20 something cousins and 4 sets of Aunts and Uncles. It’s pretty wold.. It usually ends up drinking lots of Underberg bitters so that we’re not feeling TOO tired. A lot of joking and catching up.
The Q Brothers Underberg video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bo2rwhwkEkc

If you could take a vacation right now, where would you go?
I would go scuba diving somewhere in the south pacific – maybe Indonesia. I want to find the craziest little creatures.

When you were 10 years old, where did you see yourself now?
I was a type A personality kind of kid. I’m don’t know if it was when I was 10 but I remember watching the movie Wall Street. I don’t think I really got the lesson of greed but I loved gambling. I thought I would be a stock broker or a successful trader type of guy. As I got older, that seemed like the most boring thing but at the time I saw myself wearing a suit and doing something like that. Then probably a magician.. Cards and coins. I’m not sure if I ever thought of that completely professionally but I spent a lot of my free time learning magic, studying magic and practicing.

Pick your poison – what’s your drink of choice?
Gin. In a second. As a cocktail a Negroni is probably my favorite thing but I do prefer a mix of gin, soda, bitters and lime. It’s not sweet at all.. It’s like the “beer” of cocktails. For me, I can enjoy them over the course of an afternoon and not feel awful.

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Deserted island album pick?
Ahh, that’s tough.. I have a hard time with this one because I have so many favorites but I would probably have to go back to “Doolittle” by the Pixies and live with that.

What’s your Chicago neighborhood of choice?
LINCOLN SQUARE! It’s the best. I have 20 of them on the 2nd place list. I grew up here because of the store but I hadn’t actually lived here until the past year. I feel like I’m finally home and I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be.

What’s the first website you hit in the morning?
New York Times. I don’t watch the news and I don’t spend a lot of time staying on top of everything but it’s my morning and evening routine to make sure I know what’s going on in the world. I make sure to get a viewpoint that doesn’t seem to be antagonistic or annoying.

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Beauty/wellness trend you could do without?
I would say in the wellness side of things, anything weight loss oriented seems to be sort of missing 3/4 of the equation – better lifestyle, eating better, etc. It can seem to be false hope for people but in general I know that it’s hard to make the right decisions but it’s key to being health.

Beauty/wellness trend you couldn’t do without?
I will never go back to shaving with a cartridge razor. Shaving with a double edge razor and a shave brush is an old trend that’s now big again but I think that it’s here to stay. I don’t think that there’s any way I could ever go back. I’m a guy with thick whiskers who never enjoyed shaving and it changed everything for me. I love shaving now..

Describe your approach with Q Brothers and smallflower.com in 1 sentence.
The best products from around the world for your body – from the inside out. That’s a simplified description of the approach we take.

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