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