Founders Matthew Malin and Andrew Goetz are New Yorkers to their core. Sarcastic and witty in equal measure, the pair heed their mothers' advice, appreciate a dog-friendly hotel and love a foreign pharmacy.
Establishing their first local apothecary in New York's Chelsea neighbourhood in March 2004, since then the duo have opened up (MALIN+GOETZ) to a global audience. With outposts in London and Los Angeles, they manage to maintain a local vibe.
Where are you from and how has that shaped or inspired you?
Andrew: I'm from New York. New York is an incredibly polite, kind and spotlessly clean city; vertical serenity at its best. It's also a good place to develop a well-honed sense of humour - it has certainly shaped and inspired mine.
Matthew: I am from the Midwest - Detroit, Michigan. It's often called the heartland of the US and is known for farming, industrial manufacturing and a strong work ethic. I like to think that some of that work ethic and wholesomeness may have rubbed off on me.
Why did you choose New York's Chelsea as the location for your first shop?
Andrew: Our first shop in Chelsea was chosen because we happen to live in the same building. We were very eager to cut down on our subway expenses.
Matthew: We already lived in Chelsea. It was our neighbourhood, and the place that felt most appropriate to set up a local shop or apothecary thanks to its young, affluent, international and diverse people. What better customer for a luxury unisex skincare brand for all?
Must-visit spots in Chelsea include…
Andrew: Without stating the obvious, I'm going to state the obvious: (MALIN+GOETZ). After that, no trip to Chelsea would be complete without a stroll down or, as the case may be, up the High Line. West Chelsea is the heart of New York's art gallery district; you could spend days here. There is also great shopping at Barney's in Chelsea and a fantastic food hall at the Chelsea Market on 15th Street and 9th.
Matthew: Chelsea is rich in a variety of cultures. Spanning over ten blocks, the gallery district is most notable for those interested in art. The Joyce Theatre is an often-overlooked dance venue of the highest calibre.
What are some of your favourite local family-owned businesses in New York?
Andrew: If you fancy amazing smoked sturgeon and salmon, you can either head to Barney Greengrass on Amsterdam Avenue or Russ & Daughters on East Houston Street. If you favour sweet over savoury, there is Veniero's, an Italian bakery on East 11th Street. I love all the family-owned Korean barbecue restaurants along 32nd Street. The Guggenheim's have done a nice job with their museum. My least favourite is Trump Tower, hands down; it's tacky and vulgar and not nearly as tall as they say it is.
Matthew: Wow. So many. Our candles are hand-poured in Brooklyn by a father-and-son team. I hope we do our part with our four shops as well.
You develop each product yourselves; how long is the process from design to distribution?
Matthew: It really depends on the product, luck, the chemist, etc. We have done it in under six months but on average about a year. One item, our Eucalyptus Deodorant, took over four years.
What are you working on at the moment?
Matthew: So much. We are considering two new store locations, looking at international wholesale expansion, we're in the process of our new Advanced Renewal Moisturiser launch, have plans for PR trips to LA and Hong Kong over the next few months and many new products in development for the next year. Exciting stuff.
Are there any plans to expand your portfolio of neighbourhood apothecaries in New York, Los Angeles and London?
Andrew: There are indeed. We are working on a shop in Brooklyn, always looking in LA and have two spots on our radar in London.
How do your products wind up in certain hotel bathrooms and what's involved in the hotel cherry-picking process?
Andrew: My mother. She travels a great deal and hopelessly leaves products behind wherever she goes. We also have a proper Hotel Amenity Program. Design is really important to us, so we always look for properties where design is an integral part of the hotel experience. We tend to like smaller more intimate properties - places that Matthew and Mr. Greenberg (our pug) would like to stay ourselves. Dog-friendly is always a plus.
What do you think makes a good hotel?
Andrew: It depends on your likes and needs; a good hotel for business may be very different to a good hotel for when you are on holiday. Besides the obvious - such as a really nice bathroom and comfortable bed - good hotels need great service. It makes you feel incredibly welcome when someone greets you in the lobby or the restaurant: "Hello Mr. Greenberg, how are you today? Can we help you with anything?" Honestly, it really does not get better than that!
Your top five hotels…
Andrew: At the risk offending any of our coveted Hotel Amenity Partners or my mother's hard work, I'm going to do something very American, and take the Fifth.
(MALIN + GOETZ) bestsellers include…
Any advice on countering the negative effects that city living has on your skin?
Andrew: Be sure to always wash and moisturise your face twice a day. A glass or two of wine is really good too.
What are your favourite travel products from your collection?
Andrew: Our Travel Ready Essential Toiletries Kit is good for those on the go - and of course our Travel Size Eucalyptus Deodorant.
Skincare essentials for jetsetters…
Andrew: If you are jetting and setting, chances are you are going to be very dehydrated, so keeping your skin gently cleansed and moisturised is a must. Drinking lots of water is also really important.
As dog owners, have you any advice for travelling with animals?
Andrew: Splurge on the extra legroom seats. Also, check your bags so you can focus on the dog, not your gear, and make sure you have all your paperwork in order. I also like to send Mr. Greenberg's tinned food to the hotel so I don't have to lug it around in my suitcase.
What are you reading at the moment?
Andrew: I usually read a couple of books at a time. I just started All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and I am really enjoying it.
Matthew: Andrew is much better than me about literature these days. However, I subscribe to almost every fashion and beauty magazine. I'm also an amateur gardener and have a library of gardening books that offer immense pleasure, insight, knowledge and inspiration.
Your favourite apps…
Andrew: I love my BBC iPlayer and my WNYC (public radio and podcasts). I also love my Nest app; it allows me to turn on the heating in our farmhouse before we arrive.
Matthew: Dark Skies, for the weather. It affects my skincare use and shoe choices.
Podcasts to download for our flight…
Andrew: I listen to a lot of podcasts. The Daily from the New York Times, The New Yorker Radio Hour, On the Media and Radiolab from WNYC, The Why Factor and How to Invent a Country from BBC, Freakonomics, among others…
Matthew: I am lucky to benefit from Andrew's recommendations and suggestions. He is quite the podcast junky. I do love This American Life.
What would you do to improve airports?
Andrew: Avoid them when possible, and take the train. Since that's not always possible, it would be nice if they could improve the food situation.
Matthew: Faster and smoother clearance that is somehow less demoralising. A great bathroom experience helps too.
One piece of travel advice…
Andrew: Be curious.
Matthew: Manage sleep, especially when travelling through time zones. It is the key to health for me.
And finally, what's in your SUITCASE?
Andrew: At the moment, just air.
Matthew: Always as little as possible. We are lucky to travel with a supply of samples from our brand (and/ or stay in hotels that carry our brand). I will have laundry done on a trip to limit the clothes I need to carry and will bring workout gear if I can.