Local boutiques, businesses and brands you may not know — but should.


When Sheryl Freedland obsesses over a product, it’s no passing fancy. The owner of Ruby’s Balm, the modern-day apothecary in West Bloomfield, knows her stuff. Brimming with all the best of bath, body and beauty, Ruby’s Balm carries only top-shelf brands. So, when we wanted to know the must-haves for keeping summertime skin fresh and healthy, we turned to Freedland for her top picks:

• Brown Sugar Body Polish by Fresh
Unveil your smoothest skin for the beach (or prep for an even, sunless tan) with this gentle, all-natural exfoliant, a longtime favorite of the pros because “no one has improved on it,” says Freedland.

Made with real brown sugar, the crystals act as natural humectants to prevent moisture loss while gently buffing away dry skin cells; and lemon peel leaves you smelling delicious. “Nothing else leaves your skin this soft, smooth and hydrated,” says Freedland. “It’s like getting a spa in a jar.” $65/14.1 oz; $38/7 oz.

• Superbly Restorative Argan Body Lotion by Kiehl’s
Follow up exfoliation with this lightweight lotion, rich with argan oil and argan leaf extract, indigenous to Morocco’s Atlas Mountain Region and fairly traded for its natural polyphenols.

“Moroccan argan oil is the hot ingredient in everything now because it has everyone’s favorite antioxidants,” raves Freedland. “This lotion is really amazing — your skin absorbs it immediately, and it smells fantastic.” $55/16 oz; $35/6.8 oz.

• Betsey Johnson Romper
Now that your skin is smooth, sunned and supple, don’t hide it completely. Cover up, sort of, with this super-soft baby-terry romper; can be worn with or without the adjustable straps. $49.

All items available at Ruby’s Balm, West Bloomfield. (248) 626-7829; shoprubysbalm.com.


Regina Pruss enchants; she’s part storyteller, adventurer, traveler, ghost hunter and artist — all her parts serving as inspiration for her line of jewelry, Chain Chain Chained. Inspired by her childhood spent between St. Petersburg and the birch forests near the Baltic Sea, Pruss’ jewels effuse a whimsy that makes them accessible.

Pruss, 34, who left Russia for Michigan with her parents, sister, grandparents and very few personal belongings when she was 10, now lives in Ferndale. She studied graphic design at the College for Creative Studies but became interested in jewelry design during a trip to New York City a few years ago.

“The DIY [Do It Yourself] movement was really in full swing there, and I loved the idea of making something with my hands,” says Pruss. She took a break from graphic design, sold a few necklaces at the Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn and her business took off.

Often working with found objects, such as metals like brass, copper and silver that are recycled and given new life, Pruss also collects objects everywhere she goes — all to feed her work; garage sales and secondhand stores are scoured.

Feathers, leaves, bones and other pieces from nature all are emulated, like in a best-selling feather-wing ring that Pruss solders, cuts and stamps to make it resemble a winding feather, dipped in gold.

“I love things that have been passed down through generations, like a simple brooch from your grandmother,” she says. “I like pulling from my environment … and save pieces for the future, without ever having an idea of what they will become; but they find a way in.”

Prices range between $10-$100; sold locally at City Bird, Detroit (313-831-9146) and 323 East, Royal Oak (866-756-6538); or online at chainchainchained.com.