Retail Spotlight: Ivy Wild

10 Questions with Ivy Wild Founder: Rachel Mulcahy

Photos of Ivy Wild courtesy of Mary Elizabeth Creative 

This April, Ivy Wild Beauty opened its doors in Washington DC revealing a highly curated assortment of non-toxic products. Inside Ivy Wild (named to evoke the natural vibrancy of DC’s plentiful ivy) Alima Pure products are in excellent company alongside the likes of Joanna Vargas, Odacite, and Sansceuticals. We had the chance to talk with Ivy Wild founder, Rachel Mulcahy, about skincare, self-care, podcasts and Postmates.

AP: What inspired you to open Ivy Wild?

RM: I was really excited by the emergence of clean beauty and skincare brands that are meeting high standards of performance, wearability, and efficacy. I’ve always loved playing with makeup and discovering new brands or little gems of products that are not always so mainstream. I wanted to create the kind of clean beauty destination in Washington, DC where I would want to shop. Something a little more accessible, vibrant, and irreverent.

AP: What are your favorite Alima Pure products and why?

RM: I love the Cream Concealer for full, stay-put coverage without shine. I am also a fan of the hydrating Pressed Foundations - the fact that they are light but buildable coverage, and not dry or cakey is ideal for humid DC summers. I also really appreciate the wide range of complexion shades. I also love the Natural Definition Mascara, I feel like it’s giving my brittle lashes a little boost each time I apply it. It’s also buildable without looking clumpy.

AP: Do you have a mantra or words to live by?

RM: I’ve never really held onto a mantra, but lately I think a lot about creating a day-to-day lifestyle that makes me happy, as opposed to holding up a singular future goal to obsessively work toward. I wasn’t the person who had a specific version of what I wanted my career or life to be. I’m much more about feeling effective, feeling balanced, and having room to grow. I think we’re often operating under the assumption that we’ll be happier once we reach that goal (whether it’s tied to a career or family lifestyle or something else).  Sometimes you can sort of be on auto-pilot working toward a future end-point without paying attention to how you really feel. Do you feel fulfilled, is that thing worth working toward, or are you putting off being happy today? It’s okay to step away, move on to something totally different, take a risk.

AP: How do you unwind after a busy day at work?

RM: First thing when I get home in the evenings, I have to wash my hands and face. It just makes me feel ready to relax. I think it also helps because it physically forces me to take a step that is not about answering email or thinking about work. If I’m not too tired, I love cooking a quick dinner. It’s a creative outlet, not a strict complicated recipe situation. Otherwise, I’m ordering delivery (and I’m probably one of Postmates preferred customers at this point) and then getting quality TV-watching and couch-sitting time with my husband and dog. If I have a day off, I want to be outside, wandering around, and not over-scheduling my free time.

AP: How do you see the notion of self-care evolving in the next few years?

RM: I think it’s so interesting to see the different threads of self-care emerging - from people who love the spiritual (some might say “woo”) aspects to those who might consider themselves more pragmatic. I love that there is growing awareness and space for everyone to identify what helps them reflect, unwind, and feels natural to their sensibility.  I hope that the self-care movement reaches a broader segment of men as it continues to evolve.

AP: What are some of the things your customers are most curious about?

RM: Our customers are very conscious of maintaining healthy skin, and are usually on the search for a great serum and a replenishing night cream. Many people come in looking for the serum that is the best fit for their skin's needs. On the other side of the coin are people who have heard the buzz about serums but don’t quite know what it’s for or how it fits into a daily skincare routine. So we also get basic questions related to that. Also, foundations and lip colors are really popular - which to me is a no-brainer! You want to get the basic, must-have products and then something with a little more color and personality.

AP: What is the best beauty advice you’ve received?

RM: The best skincare advice I’ve received is not to over-do it with too many products or too many ingredients at one time. I like to find the three or four things that work for my skin (which changes periodically of course) and mostly stick with those. The best makeup advice I’ve heard is to have a light approach and focus on the things that make your skin look great (for me personally, this is always spot-concealing and adding some bronze). Once you have that as your starting point, you can play with a bold lip, or really gorgeous eye color, or bold brows.

AP: What is wonderful about Washington, D.C.?

RM: DC is really evolving. It has a really educated, increasingly younger and active population (as more people who come here after college or grad school are saying instead of relocating to the suburbs). The food scene is amazing right now, and lots of museums are FREE. I also love that there are different lifestyles and flavors of DC. You can have the more urban experience and live in a neighborhood with lots of restaurants and offices right outside your door, or you can live in a quiet area with little houses, yards, and kids.

AP: What are your current interests/obsessions?

RM: Since we just opened Ivy Wild, it’s pretty all-consuming, in the best way. I’ve loved the work and planning to get to this stage. Being able to ask for input and collaborating with my husband on certain pieces along the way has been really fun. I’m also really loving meeting our neighbors, customers, and other businesses in town. DC’s small business world is full of very sharp, creative people. Ivy Wild aside, I’ve also become completely absorbed with podcasts. There are just too many to list, but I’m usually listening to one while I get ready in the morning, another on the way to work, and another when I’m going to bed, or having trouble sleeping.

AP: What does wellness mean to you on a day-to-day basis?

RM: Lately I’m focused on shutting out the noise and keeping my goals in check - both so that I don’t get overwhelmed with all of the endless things I could be working on or trying to improve or perfect on any given day; and also so that I can enjoy and appreciate the experience of starting a business and being in this place of my life. That also means having time to stay connected to the important people in life.  I think the more we can decide to find the things that make us feel productive, happy, and content, the better. Identify what that is, and get more of it in your life.

Visit Ivy Wild at 1328 Florida Ave NW in the Manhattan Laundry Building, and if you're not in the D.C. area, check out their dreamy Instagram.