“Wellness” and “self care” are two terms that always seem to be thrown about as mere clickbait, intended to soothe our problems without quite explaining how. But Sunflower & Stone owner Jalyn Vaughn views the words as much more than affirmations, instead seeing them as crucial ingredients behind the brand she founded in 2020.
We spoke to Vaughn to find out more about where the idea for her collection of soaps, lotions, body oils and incense came from, and what people can expect to find when shopping online.
1. What is a typical day like for you and your team?
A typical day first starts with iced coffee or an iced matcha latte. I am a big list maker, so I take time to plan my day while enjoying my drink. If there are soaps ready for de-molding, then that is always first on the to-do list. Something about working with the yummy smells first thing in the morning really sets a nice tone for the day. From there, the day could call for photography, whipping up some shea butter, replying to emails, or a post office run. Every day is different and that’s the beauty.
2. What is your professional background? How did you get into the retail field?
My background actually is in retail. Since age 16, I have worked in the retail space. My current day job is in the insurance field, so having Sunflower & Stone and offering retail therapy to others has not only been a dream come true, but reminiscent of my days working in retail.
3. What are the first things customers see when they access your website?
When customers virtually walk through the doors—AKA access the site sunflowerandstone.com—they will first see a message with three very important words: “You are beautiful.” From there, visitors will encounter products focused on helping to curate self-care with ease. The intent with the site design was to make it easy on the eyes with neutral colors that bring a sense of calm. Clear and easily accessible menu items mean that shopping can be a relaxed and non-complicated experience.
4. What sets your store apart?
It’s no secret that the beauty and wellness space can tend to make some women feel overlooked and underrepresented. Women who feel ignored. Women who feel unimportant. Women who feel they cannot afford to treat themselves to quality products. While my vision is to help curate the most perfect self-care moments for all who seek mindful yet luxurious products without compromising on the ingredients, it’s the “everyday woman” that’s truly at the heart of Sunflower & Stone.
5. What is one thing you think customers should know about your store that they may not be aware of?
They may not know that I come up with all of the scent combinations for our fragrances myself. I’m talking “let’s try a drop of this and let’s try a drop of that” repeatedly until I come up with a finished scent that tells the story I’m aiming for. The custom blend aromatherapy oil option in the shop is actually one of my favorite products to make because I get to collaborate with my customers. They fill out a form providing details, and I come in and attempt to address and honor those details with scent and aromatherapy. This is a process I take very seriously, and it is so much more than a perfume rollerball. More than anything, I want my customers to know that every order is created and packaged with so much gratitude, and I hope that comes across.
6. How do you keep your store’s inventory fresh and up to date?
I am a big Pinterest user. I am always creating vision boards and getting inspiration from there. I also consistently do questionnaires and surveys on the Sunflower & Stone Instagram page @sunflowerandstone, which helps me to know what my community is interested in.
7. Can you share a hint about what shoppers will see in your store next season?
I don’t want to say too much but I will say this: The scents are only going to get better. More custom options and bundles will be coming, too.
8. What was your reason for opening the store? When did it open, and how has it grown or changed since then?
Sunflower & Stone is a pandemic baby; the shop opened in 2020. I had been making body butters and custom fragrances for myself and family members for quite some time. With all of my newfound free time thanks to quarantine, I refined my body butter recipe, created a few new perfume blends, and eventually taught myself how to hand-dip incense. Really, the incense is what caused me to want to share the products and make them available. The incense was helping me through the weird time, and I really wanted to share that with others. Since then, Sunflower & Stone has grown into a community of people who are serious about treating themselves well and gently. The support of this shop has been nothing short of amazing! I am so grateful for each one of my supporters, and I cannot wait to see what we grow into.
9. What are a few of your favorite items in the store right now?
Right now, I am burning the incense Harmony nonstop! It has been bringing me to such a calm but focused state. In addition to that, I literally bathe with the Caramel Macchiato soap bar daily—sometimes twice daily! My favorite scent right now is Intuition—I roll it on all day long!
10. What are some of your best-selling products?
The Alchemist incense blend is my number-one seller. It’s a luscious blend of honey and vanilla, and the scent carries throughout the whole room. I can also barely keep the Pink Peony body butter and body spray in stock. The perfume rollerball in the scents Gaia and Oshun are huge in the shop, as well.
To peruse more Sunflower & Stone items, check out the website at sunflowerandstone.com.