Made in Virginia 2019 Awards: Style & Beauty Winners

24 products made by skilled, enthusiastic, and creative Virginians.

Bright Body Clear Skin Potion, Eye Elixir, Ayurvedic Facial Oils, and Hydrating Gel.

Photography by Fred + Elliott

Bright Body

Flaxseed & Oat Protein Curly Hair Gel, Moisture Locking Curl Spray, Deodorant, Hydrating Gel, Clear Skin Potion, Eye Elixir, and Ayurvedic Facial Oils (Vata, Pitta, Kapha), Richmond

Bright Body founder Gabi Day was going through a flare up of her multiple chronic illnesses—looking for “anything else I can do that can give my immune system a break,” she says—when she got her, well, bright idea: a range of bath, body, and hair care products using only ingredients found on the Environmental Working Group’s safest list. “I’ve always been that person that, once I get something in my head and decide to do it, that’s the end of it,” says Day. After a self-taught, year-and-a-half-long crash course in cosmetic chemistry, Day launched her brand in 2017. Two years later in October 2019, the brand opened a brick-and-mortar shop in Richmond, Bright Body Boutique, carrying locally made beauty and skin care products that she says are good for “our bodies, our communities, and our environment.” 

Staff Notes: “Very professional packaging! My skin feels moisturized with no residue, and it helped with dryness and redness. I love the fresh herbal scent.” (on the Ayurvedic Facial Oil)

$14-$35. MyBrightBody.com

I Spy Artisan Jewelry 

Cuttlefish Inclusion Cast Jewelry, Reston

I Spy Artisan cuttlefish inclusion cast jewelry.

A lifelong jewelry fanatic, British-born Lisa Markowitz discovered cuttlefish casting after a desire to learn more organic forms of jewelry making led her to a class on the ancient technique offered at a local community center. Drawn to the textures and patterns that the process yields, and taking inspiration from the fish themselves, Markowitz transposes handcarved molds onto metal. The result? Pieces as unique as they are elegant. “All of my pieces are one of a kind,” says Markowitz. “So for me, what I really enjoy is working with the customer and deciding on a budget and a vision and making their design become a reality.” 

Staff Notes: “The striking designs are a testament to nature. The rings remind me of beach sand bedecked with buried treasure.”

$75-$700. ISpyArtisanJewelry.squarespace.com

Meanwhile Back on the Farm 

Wax Canvas Backpack, Lynchburg

Meanwhile Back on the Farm wax canvas backpack.

Heather Harris has never been one to idle. Not long after retiring from bag designing to become a full-time, stay-at-home mom, she decided to try her hand at blogging, bestowing the project with the name Meanwhile Back on the Farm. “I never wrote a thing!” exclaims Harris. She did, however, begin creating under the name: food, apparel, and, inevitably, bags, such as the brand’s wax canvas backpack. Inspired by Harris’ desire for a stylish, travel-friendly beach bag, the canvas is treated with waxes and oils that make it weather-resistant and allow it to age into a feel akin to leather. Speaking of age: The bag’s leather handles are sourced from a 150-year-old U.S. tannery.

Staff Notes: “Love the practical combination of handles and backpack. Great size, fun fabric—and those copper rivets really pop!”

$215. MeanwhileBackOnTheFarm.com

Shira Brooks Studio 

Range Necklace, Richmond

Shira Brooks Studio Range Necklace.

Rock climbing and jewelry making might not have much in common on the surface (or at all, really), but Shira Brooks has brought these disparate lifelong passions together in a beautiful way: the Range necklace collection. Each one-of-a-kind piece is crafted from stone cast in reclaimed sterling silver, with Brooks using as many recycled materials as possible. Currently working on a collection of bronze and sterling pieces with moveable kinetic components—“like little fidget toys and worry stones that you can wear,” she says—Brooks always has an eye on her mountains: “I’d like to focus on specific mountain ranges and hiking areas in the next several months. Open to requests, of course!” 

Staff Notes: “Simple, but evocative. The thicker chain gives it an outdoorsy look. Definitely a piece that has character and a story behind it.”

$150-$250. ShiraBrooks.com

Watery Mountain Essentials Mountain Moss shampoo bar and Wolfgang Beard Company beard butter.

Watery Mountain Essentials

Mountain Moss Shampoo Bars, Warrenton

Be the change you wish to see in the world—when Doris Davis launched Watery Mountain Essentials in May 2018, that idiom applied in more ways than one. After reaching out to her favorite natural bath and body manufacturer seeking a milder fragrance in one of their products to no avail, the lifelong DIY-er hunkered down and decided to create the product herself, delving into cosmetic chemistry to create her own. The shampoo bars, available in scents including Mountain Moss and Mountain Rain, also have a positive impact on the physical world: Crafted from ECOCERT and COSMOS-approved ingredients, they are never tested on animals and come in biodegradable paper or a reusable tin. 

Staff Notes: “I love the way it lathers, and the scent is fresh and clean. It seems like it would last a while. I would definitely buy it!”

$12. WateryMountain.com

Wolfgang Beard Company

Beard Butter, Richmond

Mike Montesano has an impressive beard. Keeping it that way, however, took a lot of tinkering. Having trouble finding affordable products that didn’t make him break out, he decided to figure out what worked best for his own skin. After testing the resulting products on colleagues and friends to rave reviews, the requests came rolling in, and he and his wife, Kristy, officially rolled out Wolfgang Beard Co. in 2016. The brand’s Beard Butter strikes the perfect balance between oil and balm, nourishing with ingredients like shea and mango in a creamy, butter-like texture. The product comes in a whopping 18 scents. “We kind of took everyone’s suggestions,” says Kristy. “Some people love the scent of the outdoors; someone would say ‘I want to smell like pancakes.’ We wanted to make sure we offered a little bit of everything to everyone.”

Staff Notes: “I loved the way this felt and smelled. It doubles up as a conditioner and styling agent, something that beard oil cannot do if you have a beard that is longer than an inch.”

$15.99/lb. WolfgangBeardCo.bigcartel.com


Meet the other winners of our Made in Virginia 2019 Awards:

Drink

Food

Home & Lifestyle


Click here to meet the 2018 winners.

Click here to meet the 2017 winners.

Click here to meet the 2016 winners.

Click here to meet the 2015 winners.

Click here to meet the 2014 winners.

Click here to meet the 2013 winners.

Click here to meet the 2012 winners.


The Made in Virginia 2019 Awards were selected by the Virginia Living editors and originally appeared in our December 2019 issue. Look for these and other products made in Virginia in the Virginia Living Store

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