âœYou have to have a certain kind of fearlessness and courage to say, You know wnat? We’re going to have to move forward and make changes and also stay true to who we want to be.’â -Kiran looks unassuming, except for the blooming flowers that punctuate the otherwise industrial neighborhood.
But the flowers are a hint of what’s behind the front doors. This is hallowed ground to beauty lovers: It once housed the humble headquarters of Horst Rechelbacher’s Ayurvedic-inspired beauty product line, Aveda. And once Rechelbach-erknown simply as Horst in Minneapolis, a mononym on par with Beyonce, but of the beauty world sold his naturally luxe line to Estee Lauder for a reported cool $300 million, it became the headquarters for his next, even more ambitious, undertaking: Intelligent Nutrients.
IN became his life’s passion, even though, financially speaking, he no longer had to work. Believing he could top himself in the safe-but-sexy sphere, he developed a USDA-certified organic beauty company, creating food-grade beauty products that were as kind to the earth as they were to wrinkles. He was even known to prove it by drinking the hairspray at press events.
Horst had a legacy even before he left this world. Regarded as a sort of Willy Wonka-meets-Steve Jobs of the hairdressing set, his eccentric personality and often futuristic ideas and practices squarely placed Minneapolis and Minnesota on the
Intelligent Nutrients HQ houses a salon that feels ultra-luxe; Kiran and Nicole in front of their growing empire.
Kiran modeled for Horst in the Aveda days; Horst and Nicole share a moment; Horst as art.
âœHe was always striving to be better, and we’re continuing that. We can do better. We don’t ever want to get stagnant. We want to be innovative and true to who we are.â -Nicole international style and beauty scene. His pronouncements could be equal parts charming, enlightening and feather-ruffling: Horst’s passion kept him endearingly filterless. So his death at 72 from pancreatic cancer felt like a cruel irony, one which left many wondering: What now?
Enter his partner of more than a quarter-century, Kiran Stordalen, and his daughter from a previous marriage, Nicole Thomas-Rechelbacher.
âœCancer is a horrible disease, and in Horst’s case, it was a particularly devastating diagnosis,â Kiran says, sitting at a table near the retail floor at the IN HQ. âœBut it really afforded us an opportunity to transitiona little bit of time and breathing space to gain perspective and think about the next steps… Horst recognized that while it is a privilege and an opportunity to have a business like thisand he felt strongly about that it’s also work, and it’s not an easy undertaking. And he wanted us to do it our way.â
Nicole, mother of three, says Horst even warned her about the amount of time and energy the business would take, but she was undeterred:
âœThis is bred in me,â she says over an aromatic margarita the glass literally spritzed with the company’s perfumeconcocted by mixologist Nate Uri, who developed a menu of re-invented classic cocktails to complement the scents and now tends bar in the headquarters on Thursday and Friday nights. âœThis is in my soul. Watching my dad on his journey of leaving his body through cancerthat was hard. But it would have also been hard to lose IN, too.â Besides, warnings or not, both women knew the magnitude of the task. Loving the ultra-famous hair guru gave them the insight that while Horst was perhaps a visionarya term, Kiran says, he may have been flattered by but would have deflectedhe was also a seeker of truth and education, which, as he told them, you only achieve the hard way: doing the work. Both women had accompanied Horst on the road for his sourcing trips, meditated in ashrams in India, maintained the organic farm in Osceola, Wisconsinthe whole gamut. In fact, Nicole recalls her youth and the rise of Aveda as enmeshed, inseparable.
âœThese little things we do every daythe vanity of beautycan make a difference.â