For Jennifer Shepherd, returning home to her native Preston County meant it was time to share her talents with her hometown.
After a five-year stint living in North Carolina — her husband was an active duty Marine — the couple was able to come back, buy a home and settle down. Once that happened, the occasion was right to open her own businesses, Shepherd said. And so The Buckwheat Retreat Spa & Boutique was born.
“We opened in October of 2015,” she said. “I have been a licensed aesthetician for just about
10 years, working in different types of spas and salons. When we came back home and settled down it was my time to bring these services to Preston County.
“I’m born and raised in Preston County, graduated from Preston High in 2006 and really looked forward to being able to offer good skin care and body care services. There’s tons of great salons in the area, so I wanted to bring the other side of the beauty industry to the county. Everybody has to drive so far to get anything like that, and I just don’t think it’s fair, because we have plenty of talent and beautiful area here to do it.”
If Shepherd had a philosophy when it comes to beauty and beauty services, her buzz words would be “all natural.”
“We thrive on natural, all natural as possible,” she said. “Even our nail polish is all vegan, all of our skin care that we use in our facials are all natural and organic. Anything we retail — essential oils, herbal teas, it’s all natural. Our lotions that we include in our pedicure services and our scrubs are all natural. Goats’ milk lotion that we offer for sale and also use in our services. So that’s something that I definitely want to pride myself on and it also something I wanted to bring to the county. I think that it’s kind of a new thing for people to come and to switch over to those products that are just better for us in general.”
Because The Buckwheat Retreat is a spa and not a salon, Shepherd is quick to point out that they do not offer hair services, such as cuts, colors or shampoos.
“We offer just strictly facials and waxing, massage services and manicures and pedicures. No hair. A lot of people get confused, think that we’re a salon too, because most places do do hair as well. But again I’m an aesthetician, I’m not a cosmetologist, so hair’s never really been my thing, and there’s plenty of talent around for hair. So I wanted to bring everything else. Now, we do offer formal hair styling, but we don’t do cuts, colors, shampoos, nothing like that. Just strictly so you can come here and get your hair and your makeup and your nails done for your big event.”
And because natural is the name of the game at The Buckwheat Retreat, the spa also doesn’t do acrylics or tips. Just natural manicures and pedicures and gel polish application.
But probably the most unique aspect of Shepherd’s venture is the way she has managed to incorporate that famous Preston County staple — buckwheat — into the business.
It’s not, she notes, just part of the name.
“Buckwheat is also a staple of Preston County and I also wanted to tie that in as much as possible,” Shepherd said. “Buckwheat is a great product for your skin, whether you eat it or you just use it on the outside. So I have tied that into some of our treatments — such as our reflexology treatment: You soak in a buckwheat bath, so it helps remove toxins. Buckwheat has lots of antioxidants, it helps with anti-aging, it helps with circulation, blood flow — so we use it in that. And we have some scrubs that we incorporate it in.
“We also have a buckwheat pad massage that we offer, which again helps with the circulation of your blood flow and inflammation and that type of thing, so. Those are some new things that are new to the area in general and I really hope that people catch on to that.”
For a full list of services, complete with prices, as well as the specials and packages the spa offers, go to buck wheatretreat.com.
Happy customer Darissa Shaw gave the spa a five-star (the highest) rated review on its Facebook page.
“Great little spa retreat,” she wrote. “I’ve had [the] gel manicure, prenatal massage and reflexology foot massage services here and all have been outstanding. I also love that they sell local lotions, candles and other commodities. Prices are great. It’s definitely a great addition to Preston County.”
Shepherd said she’s grateful for the opportunity to bring what she loves to the rural county she calls home, and that others seem to love what she does, too.
“This is where I fit in the aesthetics industry, and the spa, healing, holistic side isi kind of where I felt at place,” she said. “I think that our skin can really benefit just from what the earth offers, before we have to jump to al the chemicals."
ADDRESS: 426 E. Main St., Kingwood, WV 26537