See inside Modesto aromatherapy shop hand-making its products
My job is, admittedly, one of the more fun ones at the paper.
I get to visit restaurants and try out new food and check out local boutiques. It beats sitting through a sewer bond meeting, is all I’m saying. But I am not kidding when I say two of my co-workers nearly friendly sparred over who would get to come with me to Modesto’s new Mobaak Aromatherapy Shoppe.
And the reason is as clear as the nose on your face. Well, more precisely, the reason is because stepping into the Roseburg Square shop is a bit like entering nose nirvana. Coconut and rose, lemon and honey, lavender and chamomile, tobacco and leather. The soothing smells are all courtesy of the store’s artisan handmade and locally produced products — candles, soaps, body oils, facial scrubs and more.
Owner and founder Heather Enriquez started making homemade soy soap at home for friends and family about five years ago. But then more people started asking for some. So the Modesto native decided to set up a website to sell her self-made bath, body and aromatherapy products.
“At the time, I had been making it for fun and for use,” she said. “I was just giving it out as gifts because I like to keep things natural and homemade. But then everyone started wanting some.”
Around the same time, her youngest child, now 2-year-old Samira, was dealing with a serious heart condition that required a month-long stay and major surgery at Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera. She had worked the past decade as a phlebotomist with Memorial Medical Center but had to take leave because of her daughter’s illness.
Now, missing the action of working in a hospital setting, she was looking for something else to do. So the idea for an aromatherapy business started to sprout. Last spring, Enriquez began selling her products at the Modesto Certified Farmers Market. Then in late November 2018, just in time for the holiday season, she opened a brick-and-mortar shop in Roseburg Square.
The name Mobaak comes from Enriquez’s elder daughter, now 4-year-old Soriya, who when she was younger couldn’t pronounce the phrase, “I love you to the moon and back” when her father would say it to her. So, instead, she would reply “Mobaak.”
The sleek, contemporary store showcases all Mobaak products and gives customers a glimpse of how they’re made. Before opening, Enriquez’s home garage, living room and kitchen were all test labs. Now, the front of the store is retail space and the back is its production facility, where the candles are poured, soaps cured and body oils mixed.
Enriquez takes a holistic approach to her products, using as many natural and local ingredients as possible. The raw materials can be seen in jars along shelves, everything from bay leaves to coffee grounds, whole cloves and Himalayan salt.
Before deciding on the current location, Enriquez looked at other centers. But the Roseburg Avenue site is in her childhood neighborhood and offered a better space. The store sits two doors down from O’Brien’s Market, between a yoga center and fitness studio, and blends in well with the center’s local and artisan boutiques and antique shops.
Enriquez now has about half a dozen employees and even has a monthly subscription, where customers can sign up for regular boxes with special releases. She has a number of staple products year-round and also offers seasonal varieties. Mobaak still has a booth at the Saturday downtown farmers market.
Friday will be the unveiling party for the brand’s summer collection. The free public event will include live music and libations from 5 to 8 p.m. at the shop.
Mobaak Aromatherapy Shoppe, 897 Roseburg Ave., is open noon to 6 p.m. Monday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 209-846-0184 or visit www.mobaak.com.