After growing up in a family of entrepreneurs, Wendy always knew she wanted to own her own business. It was the synthesis of her experience working in Whole Foods and Southern Seasons' personal care departments, her marketing experience, and the desire to fill a retail need in Durham that led to the inception of Indio, which she opened at Brightleaf Square on May 1, 2015.
Indio's defacto slogan is Presents for the People and you can see, in the thoughtful variety of price ranges, aesthetics, and uses, that this really is a place with something for everyone, which our quickly growing Durham needs more of.
In addition to focusing on quality and variety when choosing which makers to carry, Wendy spends a lot of time thinking about environmental impact. Is there somebody locally or regionally who can provide the same product or service as somebody on the west coast? Is their packaging low-impact? Do they use corn starch peanuts that are biodegradable and safe enough to eat, or styrofoam?
We even tried the peanuts, just to make sure :) . It's not going to become my go-to snack, but if ever in a pinch...
At Indio you'll find things like 100% recycled Scout Books made in Portland, local jewelry and wall hangings by Erica Kane Fink, and home goods by Brooklyn's Coral & Tusk, Indio also has a variety of ethically made, natural personal care products. Whether you're looking for natural deodorant, natural bristle toothbrushes, or natural fragrances, the keyword is...natural...and, chances are, Indio has it.
Wendy's background with skincare has made her an expert curator of green, cruelty-free, and effective skincare products and she's passionate about providing an alternative to the products available at the department and drug stores. Almost none of it is made safely or ethically, and most of it contains toxic chemicals tested on animals for safety. She takes it a step further than just carrying the products, though. Wendy taught a body care workshop in October called 'Food for your Skin' to educate people about basic products and natural ingredients you can find at your local grocery store to meet a lot of basic skincare needs, and plans to host more workshops like this in the future. For example, instead of tossing the lemon in your kitchen that's slightly past, cut it in half and apply to your elbows for an excellent exfoliant.
Everything at Indio, to Wendy's knowledge, is produced ethically, mostly in the US, and much of it locally.
It's comforting to know there's a place I can go to find the perfect gift for all of my sustainability-savvy friends, but even more than that, there's a place I can go to learn something. In addition to hosting a variety of workshops from skincare related subjects, to wall-hanging how-to's, it's clear that Wendy has relationships with all her makers, and is eager to share their stories with anybody who comes through the store.
My favorite part about the visit, though, was our very real, completely candid conversations with Wendy -- never canned, totally open, and eager to continue the learning process in order to bring Durham the kindest presents around.