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The Alchemist’s Wife offers natural skin remedies for muggles and magicians alike 

For many of us, our childhood interests end up driving our adult pursuits. For Ramie Gulyas, it was her passion for lotions, potions and products that inspired her to launch The Alchemist’s Wife, an apothecary at 917 Chicago Ave. – inside Follow Your Nose pets. 

Ramie Gulyas, with her husband Dave. She opened The Alchemist’s Wife at 917 Chicago Ave. in 2015. Credit: Belinda Lichty Clarke

“As a kid growing up in a small town downstate, I saved my allowance money to buy bubble bath and perfume from the Avon lady or saved up for when we went to St Louis to a big department store,” Gulyas remembers.

“I loved playing with my grandmother’s collection of perfume bottles and jars of creams and lotions. It was fascinating to me.”

Gulyas later went on to work for prestige brands of cosmetics, bath, fragrance and body care products and advanced her career. 

“I learned so much, but I also figured out what I would have done differently,” she explains, adding that in the 1980s and 1990s, there wasn’t much interest in more natural products or more sustainably sourced ingredients and packaging.

When her son was born in 2005, he was allergic to almost everything, she says.  “He had extremely sensitive skin, and the biggest issues for him were the ‘supposedly’ fragrance-free products that had an artificial masking scent added,” she says.  “Fragrance was even added to disposable diapers back then.”

With her background in products and ingredients, Gulyas says she could easily decipher the ingredient panels, but as she searched for all the products you need for an infant such as laundry detergent, baby bath products, lotions, diaper creams, etc., she says was frustrated at every turn. 

“If I liked something, they would change the formula or the store would discontinue it,” she says.

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