New Del Mar art and skincare shop a family effort
By Claire Harlin
There’s a new shop in the Del Mar Plaza that offers original artwork and homemade beauty and wellness products, and it’s about as homegrown as it can possibly be.
Everything sold in Janecka, which opened on July 16, is handmade by the children of owner Elizabeth Janecka, save for a wall of hats and scarfs that she made herself. Her daughter, “B,” who is 33, and son Wesley, 31, are the masterminds behind the pottery, soaps, candles, balms, makeup and more sold at the shop, and after 10 successful years in business in Jemez Springs, New Mexico, the two art school grads have perfected and diversified their craft.
The store actually began as an art gallery started on a scenic byway in Jemez Springs by the brother-sister duo after they graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. Elizabeth Janecka began incorporating wellness products after being inspired personally by the positive effects of a balm she made from essential oils and natural ingredients.
“I used to suffer from eczema on my hands,” Janecka said. “I used to actually have to glue the cracks on my hands shut with wound glue, which would work until it peeled off, making the cracks even bigger.”
Janecka’s daughter had given her a book about soap-making and, with that information, Janecka devised a hand balm that became the first product to fight the eczema symptoms she had for years put up with.
“It didn’t cure it; Eczema isn’t curable. But it stopped the symptoms so I could carry on and do work and dishes and everything,” she said. “All the cracks and all the itching and scaling went away.”
Janecka began selling the balm at her kids’ gallery, and demand for the product grew, prompting her to delve into other ointments and skin care products. Not only Janecka, but also her customers, were becoming loyal fans of the essential oils used in her all-natural products.
“I once read something that said Mother Earth put everything on this Earth for us to survive, and it’s true; Everything we need is here,” she said.
Janecka also got the idea to take the same color-mixing concept that Wesley utilizes with his pottery and apply that to make-up. She started buying natural minerals like zinc and titanium and adding tints (in an oxidization process) to make mineral makeup.
“I gave him the color palette that I want and he mixed different colors of oxides,” she said. “That’s how you do it. It took a long time but we did it.”
Janecka said some of her most popular items include a muscle and joint rub, insect repellent sticks and sunscreen. She said most of her products originated to fulfill a personal need or to help someone she knows. For example, the joint rub came to be when her son dropped a brick on his elbow and needed something to help with the pain.
“He said, ‘Make me something soothing,’ and I did my research and this is what I came up with,” said Janecka. “It’s really popular with people that have chronic arthritis; It’s our No. 1 reorder item online.”
Janecka said her customers tell her they trust her products because they know where they come from.
“They also trust the fact that we use it ourselves,” she said. “People come in and ask ‘How many of these products do you use?’ and I say, ‘All of them.’”
Wesley and B have different and complementary specialties, said Janecka. B makes the jewelry pieces, for example, and Wesley does wood work, including the shelving and cashier counter in the store. The tile tables sold in the shop are particularly special because they are a group effort of the two, Janecka said. B makes the tiles, and Wesley makes the wooden legs.
“They are multi-task artists,” she said.
Wesley and B still live in Jemez Springs and Janecka hopes the success of her Del Mar store will bring the relocation of all manufacturing — and her kids — to Del Mar, where she decided to move after a lovely vacation experience.
“I like the small town atmosphere here,” said Janecka, who grew up in the tiny town of Moulton, Texas. “This is the fourth small town that I’ve lived in. When I was first here I thought it was so quaint and everyone was so polite. Not only did I think it was a great place to do business, but also a great place to live.”
Janecka is located in the former space of the Michael Seewald Gallery in the Del Mar Plaza, located at 1555 Camino del Mar. For more information, visit www.janeckacollection.com or call (505) 249-7164.