Meet Miko DeHoniesto, the founder of Tonic & Sage, a handmade, vegan body care company based in Wilkinsburg. She’s 27 and has a background in fine art, pastry, herbalism, and has practiced cosmetic formulation as a hobby for 8 years. But when the pandemic hit and she was laid off from her pastry job, Miko took to another creative, handmade outlet.
We chatted with Miko about her business journey, her favorite products, and her tips for self care.
What led you to start a vegan skin/body care business?
I started my obsession in making skin care as a teenager due to the dry and sensitive nature of my skin. I always wanted to sell my products, but it took time to form fully. I decided to go with a vegan approach to skincare because it’s sustainable and accessible to more people than products derived from animals.
How are your products made?
All of my products are made by hand in small batches. I source only plant based, eco-certified ingredients. The shea butter, which is an ingredient I use a lot of, is certified fair trade from Ghana.
Tell us about one of your favorite products you make.
I love all of my products, but of course my number one is of course the Body Buttah. I used these in my daily regimen to keep my dry winter skin moisturized. As I said before, I have super dry skin so I use it on top of a lotion to seal moisture. I even use the “plain jane” on my face at night to seal in all of the moisture from my hydrating moisturizers.
Let’s spotlight one of your scent creations.
The Element Body Buttah made with lemon aniseed and pachouli. It reminds me of the way Pittsburgh smells after a summer rain. Some people might get it if you know the smell of the wild plants that grow all around Pittsburgh properties. It’s the way that I designed it, and I love that a year later it still evokes those same feelings of a lovely rainy summer night.
On your site, you said: “The product is just a tool to reconnect and check in with ourselves.” What tips do you have for our readers for slowing down with self care?
Be intentional, mindful, and gracious. As a company, I’m really only representing a part of taking care of yourself, but there is so much more to self care. Our fast-paced society makes us major consumers of time, and we tend to want things instantaneously. When you take time out for yourself, try to put yourself in a head space to be kind to yourself. For example, one of the ways I like to self-care is to take baths. I try to make this moment about letting go of things that I cannot control and just allowing myself to process things that have happened within the week, without interference.
What’s the story behind the name “Tonic & Sage”?
When I decided to start this business, I knew that I wanted the name to be something that relates to what I do as a business but also to me personally. Tonic and Sage are two things I consistently reach for to take care of myself time and again. Tonic is actually not referring to tonic water but really herbal tonics, which I make for myself often especially when I’m feeling sick. Sage is a favorite herb to grow and work with.
When you’re not operating this small biz, what else do you like to do around the ‘Burgh?
In non covid times, I really loved to go out for a bite to eat or for happy hour with friends at Allegheny Wine Mixer or Kingfly Spirits in the Strip. I am definitely a foodie so a lot of my leisurely outings are centered around getting good food.
What local business do you think deserves a shoutout (and why)?
There are quite a few but a current favorite is Mystic Mixtures. They are fellow vendors at the Bloomfield Saturday Market. They create cocktail potions that can be served with or without alcohol. I think their products are wonderfully magical and really creative.
What’s a project you’re working on (big or small) and how can The Incline readers help you with it?
Honestly, just creating some buzz about my business. I’m not much without a customer base, and I’m still just trying to get my name out to as many people as possible. Following on social media helps so much and the place I’m most active on at the moment is Instagram. I plan to start a Youtube channel soon, featuring footage of me creating my products and maybe even some tutorials. Instagram and Facebook are @tonicandsage, and my Youtube channel will be the same.