Akosua Nyarko, owner of Creme de la Creme Beauty Lounge, opens up a small plastic container with compartments filled to the brim with vibrant colours, from sunshine yellow to dark aubergine. “What do we want to do today?” she asks, her mixing stick poised.
The store has a wide variety of ready-made beauty products – all crafted in house, with Nyarko herself fine-tuning the formulations – but the true draw is the bespoke options. A customer can work with a staff member to create a bespoke shade, and you can craft everything from the perfect red to an edgy pale lavender, trying them on as you go. The custom options are relatively affordable, and range from $28 to $90 for custom face oil.
While Creme de la Creme began as an e-commerce company, Nyarko always had her sights set on a more experiential model. “I wanted something where it wasn’t just a purchase, it was an experience,” she says. “Edmonton is so diverse, there’s so many different ethnicities here. As a woman of colour, I find when I go to buy something there’s often trouble finding the right shade, so having something completely bespoke, tailored to your needs, that’s where the idea came from. I want women to come in here and find something that they absolutely love and not have to settle.”
In addition to lipsticks and glosses, you can craft a custom nail polish, eyeshadow, face oil and perfume – and Nyarko is currently at work on a formulation for bespoke foundation and concealer.