Former CSU Rams create relaxing bath products at Salus Natural Body Care

Nicole Towne

As finals bring student stress to a bi-annual high and the winter cold promises dry skin, students my find that they need to bring a little bit of TLC to their bodies and minds. Salus Natural Body Care in Old Town provides products to let you treat yourself or give as a gift.

Located next to the popular store Curiosities on Walnut Street in Old Town, Salus provides handmade cosmetics including soap, lotions, bath bombs and shower bombs. Salus was created and is owned by Elissa and Jerell Klaver.

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Photo credit: Nicole Towne

The Salus concept was created in 2004, and by 2007, Elissa and Jerell Klaver opened their first store in Manitou Springs. Fort Collins is home to their second store that opened in 2011. They recently opened a new store in Highlands Ranch.

Elissa and Jerell Klaver met at CSU when they were both students. They later went on to get married and raise a family together. For them, Fort Collins has a special place in their heart, and when a shop space opened, they knew they wanted to bring Salus to their undergraduate home.

“We fell in love with Fort Collins from our undergraduate days and had to come back,” Jerell Klaver said.

The store, which gives off a happy, easygoing and fun vibe came from a difficult time in the Klaver’s lives. It was a time of loss and self reflection.

“At the time, I was a corporate MBA type meaning I was working for IBM, Verizon and a lot of fortune 100 type companies,” Jerell Klaver said. “You’re working literally 100 hours a week, and through that time, we lost our second son. Through his passing, it made us look at ourselves and think ‘what are we doing with our lives?’”

After this, they started brainstorming and taking time to think about their hopes and dreams.

“We went downstairs and hung up paper around the entire basement and we wrote down our dreams, hopes, desires, what we didn’t want to do, everything,” Jerell Klaver said. “Out of that came the concept for a customizable cosmetics company. Over the years, we refined the concept to be very specific to bath bombs, shower bombs and soap, and we love it.”

Salus has grown immensely since then. Today, it produces and sells handmade cosmetics with the help of approximately 50 employees. It is estimated that each year Salus produces three tons of soap and over one million bath bombs.

“There’s no one who can make (bath bombs) as good as we do,” Jerell Klaver said.

One of the largest national and international homemade cosmetics companies, Lush, is also known for their bath bombs, but there are a few factors that set the bath bombs apart. Salus produces lower priced bath bombs suited for a single bath. The bath bombs are under $3 each. Lush’s bath bombs are large and colorful but can be more than twice the price. Salus’s bath bombs do not utilize coloring like Lush but are made with coco butter and shea butter to provide a deep moisturizing experience, something that Lush’s bath bombs do not guarantee to provide.

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Salus is more than just a bath bomb store. It is a place where customers can speak with employees who know their products inside and out. For employee Bri Lezine, working at Salus allows her to get up close and personal with the products.

“My favorite part about working here is definitely the versatility of my job position,” Lezine said. “A couple days of the week I’m back here making a lot of our products and recipes and the other few days I’m up front and I’m selling them. I make our products. I know exactly what goes into them. I kind of have a visual memory for the recipes now. It helps me sell them.”

Lezine takes pride in being able to share the products she makes with others.

“I love sending my friends and family stuff I made my self,” Lezine said.

Salus strives to create products that anyone can use with the goal of making people feel happy after using the products.

“Business school 101 was that women buy cosmetics and men don’t,” Jerell Klaver said. “We learned that’s really not true at all. … We’re not really gender specific in our products. We just want everyone to be happy.”

The bath bombs come in a countless number of scents, and customers are able to customize their own scents for products such as the lotions, which are whipped up with the requested scent combination in store.

For Jerell Klaver, scents are not gendered. Instead the focus is about finding a scent combination that makes the customer happy.

“Vanilla isn’t just a female scent,” Jerell Klaver said. “Blue musk isn’t just a male scent. People like what they like. There’s no set sent.”

For more information about Salus visit www.shopsalus.com.