ENOSBURG FALLS — One step into Kim Covert-Airoldi’s kitchen is enough to make anyone swoon: the smells of hundreds of essential oils, freshly-cured soaps and warm beeswax is an olfactory cornucopia otherwise known as the skincare and wellness line Covert Essentials.
And if you can’t find her in her kitchen she’s probably in her outdoor garden harvesting fresh herbs, flowers and ingredients for her wares which she makes in-house once a week.
The Messenger sat down with Covert-Airoldi and her products — including all homemade tinctures, salves, deodorants and soaps — to hear why she decided to create her custom line of products and how she manages her homestead on a fairly main road in Enosburg Falls.
“Getting affordable, truly all-natural skincare to the everyday person is an issue,” Covert-Airoldi said. “That’s what I wanted to do for people … we should all be as concerned with what we put on our skin as what we put in our bodies.”
Q: Tell me about your new shop.
A: “We’re going to open a shop here at the house,” Covert-Airoldi said. “We’re shooting for late spring.”
The enormous light-blue house at 154 Orchard St. in Enosburg Falls often has hanging baskets, fresh vegetables and pumpkins out front for sale, but soon the front parlor will have a bold new sign with an intricately-painted lotus flower on it and “Covert Essentials” painted across the wood.
Patrons can enter into the front porch area where they will find a jungle of plants and a room smelling of forests and flowers, where they can buy handcrafted body products and get some personal advice from Covert Airoldi about their aches and pains and possible remedies.
Q: Where are you from?
A: “Long Island,” Covert-Airoldi said. “I grew up in Long Beach, right near Queens. It’s the city by the sea.”
After bartending for 10 years on Montauk and having to chase after customers like Billy Joel, Covert-Airoldi joined Naturopathica Spa and Healing Center in East Hampton, NY, starting out managing the shipping warehouse but eventually becoming a student of founder, herbalist and aromatherapist Barbara Close.
But a quieter lifestyle was what was needed for Covert-Airoldi, and after several years she decided to join her brother in Derby-Line, Vt. To do that, though, would require that she trade in her Prada heels for a set of Muck boots and say goodbye to the mentor who taught her for six years.
Q: How did you get your business started?
A: “I needed to keep myself busy, so I started making soap in my brother’s kitchen,” Covert-Airoldi said. “I started going to the Newport Farmer’s market eight years ago … But I’ve never given the product line the time and energy it deserves … Now I’m working part-time and really putting the business on the map.”
Covert-Airoldi started making lotions, soaps, balms and tinctures in her kitchens eight years ago, and frequently appears at events such as the Enosburgh Harvest Festival.
Though her line was small to begin with, the budding herbalist quickly developed a following, especially around her all-natural deodorants and skin-soothing balms that help with anything from chest colds to sore muscles.
“I’m still surprised everyday at how well I’m received by customers,” Covert-Airoldi said. “Everyone is incredibly accepting and supportive.”
Recently, Covert-Aioldi enrolled in the American College of Healthcare Sciences and is working toward a bachelor’s degree in herbalism and aromatherapy.
Q: What is your favorite part of Covert Essentials?
A: “The products have made a huge difference in our lives,” Covert-Airoldi said. “The arnica balm is used daily for aches and muscle pains, and everyone in the house uses our deodorant and lip balm.
“If I feel a cold coming on and I can put a balm on my chest that I’ve made, there’s a comfort in that. And I can take these healing recipes and share them with people now. This is my way of helping others.”
Q: Any failed experiments?
A: “The deodorant took a bit to develop,” Covert-Airoldi said, laughing. “It was a very stinky household … The first time I made it, it was a mushy mess. It was gross. The next time I tried, the product had no glide at all. It took three or four creations to find the perfect balance of baking soda, beeswax and other ingredients.”