Getting the Glow in Springfield, MO
“I would have died to have a Sephora or Mac counter growing up in this town,” says former magazine editor and beauty industry editorial director Courtney Dunlop of Springfield, MO. “My life probably would have been completely different if those places had been here then.”
Since they weren’t (and probably for other reasons, too), Courtney decamped for New York City where she attended the Fashion Institute of Technology, worked as an editor at Jane and Marie Claire magazines, a consultant at Aveda and beauty industry editorial director at Clinique.
When she moved back to Springfield 16 years later, Mac and Sephora had finally arrived in town, but Courtney saw a market for more and better beauty products and service. “Those places can be confusing if you’re not an expert,” she says.
Enter Good Skin Day, Courtney’s brand-new beauty concept store inside Lavaré Spa in downtown Springfield, where she’s already become the town’s best source for expert beauty information and favorite beauty industry insider products, the likes of which Missouri has never seen.
I caught up with Courtney to hear more about her return to Springfield and how it’s fast becoming the city with the best-looking skin in the Midwest.
TB: What made you decide to leave New York?
CD: My industry was changing, and I just wanted a lower stress life. I love reinventing myself, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, and New York is not the place to figure things out – it’s too expensive and too stressful. My husband and I considered a few cities, including Nashville, Kansas City, and Asheville, NC, but ultimately we decided on Springfield because we know the life here is easy and low-stress. I really believe in the Midwest.
TB: Was it always the plan to open a beauty business?
CD: I think I always had this idea floating around in my head, but I really decided to do it when I got here and it was a freaking beauty desert. So many industries forget that there are places between the two coasts, which means there are lots of great opportunities here. People here are on social media, they read magazines and watch TV. They see all this cool stuff and they wonder why it's not coming here. Someone literally has to leave and bring it back, like a scout in pioneer times. Marketers on the coasts don't even know that Missouri exists -- that's literally millions of potential customers they are missing. These are sophisticated, educated people -- not hayseeds that don't want cool stuff.
TB: Have you been getting a great reaction?
CD: People have been incredibly welcoming and supportive. My customers are really cool and so laid back. One of my first clients came in a few days later to buy products for her daughter and she was just glowing. They're thirsty for good expert advice without an agenda. Of course I’m selling my products, but I want Good Skin Day to be a transparent place to get good skin care advice. My store is very tiny, so I’m not going to have something for everyone, but I'm happy to recommend products outside of what I sell.
TB: How does a Springfieldian's beauty needs differ from a New Yorker's?
CD: (laughs) It's a completely different thing! In New York, everyone has chronically dry red skin all the time. Winter sucks the life out of your face and everyone has eczema and chapped lips. You get a lot of fine lines, dehydration and redness. Everyone there wants thick creams for hydration -- just layer upon layer of moisturizing things. Here, everyone is oily because it's so humid all the time and they have brown spots from sun damage, because they all go to the lake. Sun spots are difficult to treat but I have some products I'm guiding people toward. I have a cleanser that's just delightful but no one here wants it -- everyone in New York wants it. A lot of the time, it's just a matter about educating people about things they've never used before.
TB: Are people intimidated by the price points?
CD: We actually hit a lot of different price points. I sell these Korean sheet masks that are like $2 each, but then we have items from the 37 Actives neck and chest line that are in the $200 range. Most of our products are priced similar to Lancôme, around $50-60. If you shop at Sephora, you're used to those prices. I don't think I could sell a $600 Rachel Comey jumpsuit here but beauty is more accessible than fashion.
TB: Okay, here's the lightening round. Where will you take your New York pals when they come to visit you in Springfield?
CD: I'm still discovering new places. I do a lot of ballet and yoga, and Springfield has a pretty decent scene for that stuff. Here's what I like so far for shopping and dining:
For home, gifts, and cards I like The Market, and for mid-century furniture I like Grayson. But what I REALLY like to do is go to flea markets and antique stores for furniture, glassware, and décor. And this area is overflowing with excellent antiques for amazing prices. I love Relics here in Springfield and Spring Creek in Ozark, MO (I don't think they have a website). There's a lunch spot inside Spring Creek and they serve the most incredible homemade cakes. You have to get there at like 11 a.m. to reserve a slice, because they sell out quickly. But it's worth it.
For dinner, I like Nicola's, which is Italian and where I celebrated my birthday. And we recently had our launch party for Good Skin Day at Cellar + Plate, which is the best wine bar in town and they serve really tasty tapas. It's a fun place to go to for happy hour with a group.
Good Skin Day is inside Lavaré Spa, where you can get the best facial in town, and we are conveniently located next door to Elle's Patisserie, home of the best coffee in town, and the most delightful homemade chocolate truffles you've ever eaten. They did the desserts for our launch, including cardamom macarons in our signature shade of green.
For breakfast, Anton's Coffee Shop is a diner that's been around for a million years. You can get regional favorites like hash browns (can't find hash browns in NYC!), biscuits, and chicken fried steak. Nearly Famous is my favorite lunch spot. They are known for their signature tomato soup. It's so good.
Thanks so much to Courtney for telling us all about Good Skin Day and your favorite spots in Springfield. We'll definitely be planning a beauty/antiques/truffle road trip soon!