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Beauty Specialist Offers Supermodel Treatment in B’ham

Beauty Specialist Offers Supermodel Treatment in B’ham

Beauty Specialist
Offers Supermodel
Treatment in B’ham




LBN Community Series


For more than 20 years, Jenny Brethen has been trusting Elizabeth Arsov to help her feel vibrant.

“I always leave there feeling like a supermodel,” said Brethen recently. “I have some other friends in the same field, but no, I’m very loyal to Liz. She’s does a great job and she always makes me feel good.”




The praise goes to Arsov, owner of Elizabeth’s Head to Toe. Arsov is an aesthetician and makeup artist who has won national acclaim for her work, especially in eyebrows.

She’s been an aesthetician for more than 12 years. Early in her career, a peer realized Arsov’s potential and went into business with her. From there, the business kept growing, culminating in Elizabeth’s Head to Toe.

Getting into the beauty industry seemed natural for Arsov. As a child, her sister and friends would come to her to get their hair braided or their eyebrows done. As she got older, she did makeup for friends, too.

“Growing up, my grandfather had a barber shop and my mom stayed home with the kids and did hair out of the house,” said Arsov. “I’ve been doing eyebrows since I was 11. It was something I was always good at, but I never thought that would be how I could make a living. I just thought it was a hobby. It wasn’t until I was in my late teens, early 20s that I got introduced to people in the industry while I was waiting tables.”

Today, she owns Elizabeth’s Head to Toe. She started the business in 2009 on Woodward and moved into the current building, on 14 Mile in Birmingham, in September 2019.

“I do love my job. I get to make people feel pretty,” said Arsov. “I’d like to think that goes beyond the surface of what that sounds like. We could have people come in who lost a spouse and they want a change. You can change somebody’s attitude.”

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Arsov owns the building where she works, but shares the space with the hair salon Beauty Collective as well as with a spa upstairs.

“The stylists are coming from all different places and have landed here,” said Arsov. “I feel like we’re really fortunate to have this cool work environment.”


Elizabeth’s Head to Toe offers services with a strong focus on waxing, brow-shaping and cosmetics. Additionally, there’s a quaint shop area where Arsov artfully displays seasonal fashions for purchase.

Customers come to Elizabeth’s for eyebrow-shaping and –tinting and facial-waxing, including sideburns, cheeks, chin, lip, neck and hairline; services also include eyelash-tinting and eyelash-lifting, which is a perm for lashes. Clients can also get two-week or one-day lashes as well as makeup applications, eyes-only makeup, minifacials and European facials. Serums or masks can be added for an additional cost.

Elizabeth’s also offers body-waxing services for men and women, including for the back, underarms, bikini area and stomach. A Brazilian wax — a more extreme form of the bikini wax — is also available.

“I just want people to feel good. I like people to laugh. I like to keep things light,” said Arsov. “I just want people to be happy. If you’re taking time from your life to come see me, you should feel good about it.”

Acknowledged in Allure magazine as a brow specialist, Arsov’s specialty is giving clients the perfect arch. She uses a combination of tweezing and waxing to shape the brow, but also offers microblading.

“Microblading is a semi-permanent eyebrow,” Arsov explained. “Instead of using a tattoo needle, with microblading you make a series of cuts in the skin and pack it with pigment. It lasts from one to three years, depending on skin type, time in the sun or how aggressive your skin-care regimen is. You can wake up with eyebrows.”

In an industry that thrives on loyalty, Elizabeth’s Head to Toe is rich with customer rapport and Arsov’s caring attitude.

“At the end of the day, you leave there feeling like you got a service and you have a friend,” said Brethen. “She makes you feel good when you leave her. You look good, but you also feel good.”

Elizabeth’s Head to Toe is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday. Closed Sunday and Monday.

130 West 14 Mile Road
Birmingham, MI 48009












Specialty Paper Shop Provides Creative Spark

Specialty Paper Shop Provides Creative Spark

Specialty Paper Shop Provides Creative Spark




LBN Community Series


On a bustling corner in downtown Birmingham, Paper Source stands with hidden delights, gifts galore and elegant creative ideas.

One side of the store is floor-to-ceiling paper in all colors, patterns and textures. Some are elaborate, others are understated. Some are made of trees, other paper is made of stone (you read that right). All of them are gorgeous.

The opposite wall hosts cards for every occasion, the craft area and a demonstration corner.

In between is charming.



Originally a seller of fine paper, Paper Source has branched out to become a go-to place for all kinds of things, especially when shoppers are looking for something unique.

“We offer custom printing, wedding invitations, Christmas cards, holiday cards, personalized stationery, custom coasters, napkins and more,” said Beth Cespedes, store manager. “For us, our motto is, ‘Do something creative every day.’ We want to be ready to help with any project walking through the door. For us, it’s creating the experiences. We do a lot of demos because we have a lot of fun things. We really try to interact.”

Those fun things include classes, workshops and demonstrations right in the store. Paper Source offers workshops and private parties — anything from lettering classes each week to an open studio for kids

Sara Allingham is the community service chairwoman and has worked at The Paper Source almost a year after starting as a seasonal employee.

“I’ve always loved the crafty kind of things,” Allingham said. “It’s something I looked forward to coming every day.”

As coordinator of the classes and parties, Allingham’s enthusiasm can’t help but spill over into her work. She likes the workshops because they givs people the opportunity to create something special.

“It’s so much fun,” she said. “And you get to try out the supplies, so if you like a stamp or a pen, you get 10 percent off.”

If you’re feeling crafty, get together a group of friends and book a private party.

“You choose your curriculum, bring refreshments and BYOB (and) host those, two hours,” Allingham said.

Each private party is two hours and projects could include, for example, creating gift wrap, card-making, making a hot air balloon with Modge Podge (decoupage material), stamping, watercolors and more.

Classes and parties make great ideas for birthdays, holidays and team-building.

Paper Source is also a great place to find a gift.

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“We have unique gifts that could be for man or woman: funny, interesting, with a sense of humor. It goes along with a happy place,” said Cespedes. “We definitely get a lot of chuckles and laughs from people who find things on our gift tables.”

Finding things on the gift tables is half the fun. Anything from Ruth Bader Ginsberg magnets to slime kits are on display. There are items for a woman who likes calm, men who like to grill, the politico in your life or just a little something to make someone smile.

After choosing the perfect gift, either from Paper Source or from another store, customers can pick from a wide variety of gift wrapping and have one of the expert team members beautify their packages. Simply purchase the gift wrap and pay a nominal fee per parcel.

A balloon station in the center of the store is a focal point.

“They’re magical,” said Cespedes. “Balloons always bring a smile to everyone’s face.”


Perhaps the best part of a visit to Paper Source is the originality of it all.

“We’re excited we have those things to offer because you can’t experience those things online,” said Cespedes.

Paper Source is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays.

115 West Maple
Birmingham, MI 48009










Clothing Shop fab’rik a Good Fit for Birmingham

Clothing Shop fab’rik a Good Fit for Birmingham

Clothing Shop fab’rik a Good Fit for Birmingham

LBN Community Series
Bringing fab’rik to downtown Birmingham was a journey of a thousand miles, and it began with sisters.

Carrie Sofikitis, 45, and Melissa Mistrot, 50, are sisters from the South. Raised in Alabama, the women have a love of fashion and style. So much so that Mistrot opened a fab’rik store in Homewood, Alabama. Working with Sofikitis, she brought fab’rik to Birmingham several times over the years as a pop-up store, which created a local following.


OWNERS, fab’rik
“Two years ago, Ingrid Tighe [executive director of the Birmingham Shopping District], approached me, because the city of Birmingham wanted a fab’rik because it fit,” said Sofikitis. “People would call my sister’s store to order things. My sister and I always wanted to do something together, but we live hundreds of miles apart.”

Fab’rik was the link.

They knew they already had a fan base for the clothing line; they just needed a storefront. Working with the Birmingham Shopping District, the women found the perfect place right on Maple Road that met the standards of fab’rik corporate officials and spoke to them of creativity, fun and beauty.

“They loved the atmosphere on Maple,” Sofikitis said of the bosses’ take. “It’s probably one of their smallest stores, but they were OK with that to be right here.”

While the sisters are partners, Mistrot still lives in Alabama and visits regularly, leaving Sofikitis to manage the store.

The white walls inside act as a blank canvas against which shoppers can view the clothing styles. Everything from denim to leggings and cocktail dresses to business wear can be found at fab’rik, but with a fun twist.

“It’s fun to explore and dress up and try new things. Play with colors and patterns, be daring, be conservative. Be creative,” said Sofikitis.

Shopper Jen Krut from Birmingham agreed.

“I love that every time I walk into fab’rik I can find an amazing, quality piece of clothing at the perfect price point that leaves me feeling good about my purchase and excited about what I will wear,” she said.

More than a clothing store, fab’rik is an experience. Not sure what you want? Ask a stylist to help you out. In a hurry? Call ahead with what you need, and they’ll run it out to the curb when you pull up.

“It’s not about selling, it’s about connecting. I want them to text their favorite stylist,” said Sofikitis. “We’re there to wow the customer. Fab’rik’s motto is one of the things that drew me — ‘No sticker price, no attitude. High style with heart.’ It’s supposed to be like you’re in your best friend’s closet.”

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In addition to fabulous fashion finds, fab’rik gives back. For example, proceeds from the in-house Asher brand go to the orphanage in Africa from which the company owner adopted her child. Also, there’s a donation trunk at the front of the store where customers can leave clothing they no longer want. That clothing is then donated to women at a local shelter.

“We’ll go to the shelter that serves women coming into rehab. We get them dressed, do a fashion show, they keep the clothes,” said Sofikitis. “There’s that giving back that really spoke to me.”

Linda McMahon has worked at fab’rik since its Nov. 7 opening.

“It was the right time. I needed a few hours out of the house,” McMahon said. “I know Carrie and I love her. This is fun and it’s wonderful. I haven’t met anyone I didn’t like. It’s a blast to see something new start up and be part of that, especially in Birmingham because it’s my home town.”

While most of the merchandise is sent from corporate, Sofikitis has some flexibility with accessories and some of the clothing.

“This is their first Michigan store and their first in a northern climate. It’s going to be a learning experience for all of us,” said Sofikitis.

Part of the fab’rik experience are the services offered. In addition to the stylists, gift wrapping is available, as are private parties. Fab’rik can host parties for up to 20 people — refreshments are provided ­— and shoppers receive 20% off their purchases that night.

There’s something for everyone at fab’rik.

“It’s a multigenerational place to shop and find something for everyone. We get new stuff all the time,” said Sofikitis.

123 West Maple
Birmingham, MI 48009








New Treat Shop Adds Eastern European Flavors to a Dessert, Ice Cream Menu

New Treat Shop Adds Eastern European Flavors to a Dessert, Ice Cream Menu

New Treat Shop Adds Eastern European Flavors to a Dessert, Ice Cream Menu

JULY 2019
LBN Community Series
It’s been a circuitous path, but John “Ivan” Zaryckyj has reached his longtime goal of owning a neighborhood sweet shop.

The Beverly Hills resident and his family recently opened Splitz ‘N’ Blitz, which sells ice cream, custard, sodas, candy and a variety of desserts, on East Merrill in Birmingham. The shop is located in the space formerly occupied by Sweet Thing, a candy store, and is next door to the restaurant 220 Merrill.


“It’s a treat shop for kids and families,” said Zaryckyj, adding that the shop offers “a little bit more than your standard ice cream fare,” including desserts popular in Eastern Europe such as Marlenka, a layered honey cake produced by a Czech company of the same name.

Splitz ‘N Blitz also carries back-in-the-day candies like Chuckles and Boston Baked Beans (peanuts in a candy shell) and desserts like strawberry shortcake and a “fudge brownie delight.” There are also hot dogs and chili dogs; Zaryckyj plans to add to the hot food menu when the weather cools.

The shop’s name, Zaryckyj’s daughter and go-to server Tassia explained, combines two dessert ideas: banana splits (“splitz”) and “an explosion of ice cream” (“blitz”).

Zaryckyj, who grew up in southwest Detroit and graduated from Chadsey High School and Wayne State University — he is “straight from the hood” in his telling — traces his love of the treats business to a Dairy Queen on Michigan Avenue near his boyhood home, where he began working at age 11.

“This was always in the back of my mind my whole life,” Zaryckyj said during a recent interview. As a preteen and a teenager, he said, he learned how to make everything that can be made with ice cream, and the importance of cleanliness in a place that sells dairy products.

However, Zaryckyj had a number of different careers before Splitz ‘N Blitz, including asphalt and concrete paving (he started as a teenage “grunt” and later owned a small company), cellular tower construction and servicing, and a short stint with Dairy Queen’s corporate office.

For the record, Zaryckyj is also president of the Michigan chapter of the Ukrainian American Youth Association, directs and dances in the Kolomeyka Dance Ensemble, which performs traditional Ukrainian folk dance, has run summer camps for kids and once owned a valet service. “I don’t sleep,” he said, only partially kidding.


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The drive to work, to stay busy, is part of who he is, Zaryckyj said. “I was the kind that, on Saturday, I always showed up” for a paving job as a youth, while his peers might’ve been partying the night before or spending Saturday at the beach.

Zaryckyj’s wife, Natalia, an executive at an auto parts manufacturer, is his partner in Splitz ‘N Blitz and their children, daughters Tassia and Lesia and son John, help out there.

Zaryckyj planned for his shop off and on for years, scouting locations and making deals that later fell through. “We were just looking for the right spot,” he said.

He found the place on Merrill Street, he said, when he stopped by the closed Sweet Thing to check out the fixtures that were being sold off. “One thing led to another,” he said, and he struck a deal with the building owner. He likes the shop’s location amid downtown Birmingham’s heavy foot traffic.

The shop officially opened on July 21 and marked its first full day in business on a recent Tuesday. “Hopefully, before it ends up I’ll have multiple locations,” Zaryckyj said.

“I just thought I’d like to see what it’s all about,” said Ella Carroll, who stopped in with her mother, Stephanie Carroll. (They each ordered an ice cream flurry.) She used to frequent Sweet Thing in the same spot, Ella said.

“We drive by all the time and we’re like, ‘Oh, we should go in,’ ” Stephanie Carroll said.

Splitz ‘N Blitz carries a small selection of toys, and Zaryckyj plans to add another product line that, along with ice cream, desserts and candy, will also appeal to kids: comic books.

“To me, it all falls together,” he said. “Everything kids like.”

Splitz ‘N Blitz, at 230 East Merrill, Birmingham, is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Splitz ‘N Blitz
230 East Merrill











Children’s Boutique Features Mom-Tested Clothes

Children’s Boutique Features Mom-Tested Clothes

Children’s Boutique Features Mom-Tested Clothes

JUNE 2019
LBN Community Series
Walking in Petite Cabane is enchanting. Inspired by European stores, the serene atmosphere and well-made children’s clothes are cultivated beautifully by owner Carrie Martin.

For Martin, Petite Cabane was a long time coming. When she was 17, she was scouted by a modeling agency. From there, she moved to New York City, then Europe. Her career took off and, with it, her knowledge and attention to fashion.


“The first inspiration came when I moved to Europe and became pregnant with my first,” Martin said. “I just noted how differently they dressed their children, just more attention to detail and style. It sparked something. It stayed and grew from there.”

Years went by, 24 to be exact, and her first son is grown. She has three more children; the youngest is her 5-year-old daughter. She was with her little girl when Petite Cabane finally materialized.

“I was riding past with my daughter on the front of my bike. I literally just peeked in and thought, ‘A-ha,’” said Martin.

The boutique is at 205 E. Maple in a cozy section of downtown Birmingham that could be mistaken for a street in Paris or London. It’s Martin’s dream.

“In Europe it’s called a concept store, which means it’s not just clothes,” she said. We have sizes for newborn to eight years. Ton of books, toys, balance bikes, pedal bikes, we have all things children.”

Shoppers can find the perfect gift for a new baby or a quality outfit for family photos.

“I currently have France, England, Denmark and Sweden, but it will be ever-changing,” said Martin. “I have about eight different lines represented right now, and I will be bringing in three new lines for autumn/winter. That’s what I love, I’m not married to one particular line.”

A huge part of her focus for the boutique is quality and detail.

“A lot of these clothes are tried and tested by me from being a mother for nearly 24 years,” said Martin. “I still have the raincoat that’s been through my three boys, cousins, friends and now my daughter. I’ve also focused on keeping the brands sustainable and women-run, which happened by accident. That’s my favorite, really supporting the small businesses.”

In becoming part of the fashion industry, Martin is very conscientious about leaving a footprint. Fashion is known to be one of the most wasteful industries on the planet, so she’s trying to do her part to reduce waste and harmful lasting effects.

“I try to be minimalist and thoughtful about my purchases, so the brands I carry are organic, certified sustainable, for example the shoes for babies use vegetable dye. We really do focus on what our footprint is,” she said.

While she knew there was a market for girls’ clothes, boys’ clothing was a different story. She opened the store March 16 with a smaller inventory of clothes for boys for a very specific reason: boys’ clothes are basic and she wasn’t sure if the market was ready for well-made pieces for boys.

“People have responded so well, and it helped me decide which direction we can go forth with,” Martin said. “They are responding and understanding what my mission was.”

She also plans on carrying more layette, which is a set of clothing and linens for a newborn, because she sold out so quickly. But that’s part of shopping at an upscale boutique—once an item is gone, it’s gone.

“I wanted people to feel unique, but with that comes the fact that we’re going to sell out of things,” said Martin. “Nobody in the area represents any of these lines. The only place anyone can buy these is online. People like seeing them in person. People are used to have everything at their fingertips.”

Later this year, she plans on opening an e-shop, where customers can get their favorite pieces from the comfort of home.

Christina Wincek of Birmingham loves having Petite Cabane in the neighborhood, especially when shopping for her daughters, ages 4 and 6.

“I have always loved the vintage look and more traditional style children’s clothing, it’s really hard to find,” Wincek said. “Shopping little small businesses is a passion, so when Carrie opened the shop, it was an instant for me.”

While the style is what drew Wincek into the store, the quality is what keeps her coming back.

“Knowing they’re nice clothes that wash well, a lot of the pieces can transition and layer really well,” she said. “A lot of Carrie’s fabrics are lightweight and soft, so they breathe. Kids can run around and not get the clothes stuck to them. It’s such a wonderful addition to downtown Birmingham.”

Martin isn’t just selling clothing for families. She truly feels part of the community and welcomed by parents and grandparents looking for a special something, or a classic piece for everyday wear.

“It feels like an extension of myself and my home,” Martin said. “I feel a sense of the community. I love the children, I will remember the children’s names more than the parents’ names. I’m so excited to see them grow and their families grow.”

Petite Cabane
205 E. Maple Road
Birmingham, MI 48009












A Great First Year in Downtown Birmingham for St. Croix

A Great First Year in Downtown Birmingham for St. Croix

A Great First Year in Downtown Birmingham for St. Croix

MAY 2019
LBN Community Series
Bob and Jan Nelson of Owosso have been shopping at St. Croix for more than a dozen years, and have always been happy with what they’ve found.

So it wasn’t a big surprise to see the Nelsons follow them a year ago, when the men’s clothing store made its move from the Somerset Collection in Troy to the streets of downtown Birmingham.



“They have good service, and (merchandise) is good quality,” Bob Nelson said. “If they don’t have what you want, they’ll find it. The service is fantastic.”

Apparently, the Nelsons aren’t the only ones who think so. According to general manager Victoria Knight, foot traffic has doubled what it was at the mall, and many customers have followed the store to its new location (268 W. Maple).

The resulting big business solidifies the thinking of making the move a year ago, following 24 successful years at Somerset.

“It was time for a change, and it was time to leave the mall setting,” Knight said. “We’ve heard from many clients that they no longer like shopping in the malls. So we listened.

“We found Birmingham and realized Birmingham was ‘the’ place,” she added. “A year later, we (believe) we made the right decision.”

St. Croix specializes in men’s clothing, largely made in the United States and Italy. All of the store’s knitwear is made in the U.S., handcrafted and made in the company factory in Winona, Minn. Some sport shirts, trousers and socks are made in Italy, while belts and leather coats are made in the U.S.

More than 80 percent of the store is U.S-made. Coats, pants, shirts, belts and other clothing items can be found in abundance.

Our Previous St. Croix Article

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And they’re being found by both new and repeat shoppers, especially – in a big change from their mall days – by men.

It’s a change that has convinced everyone at St. Croix the move was timed perfectly.

“It’s the best move we’ve ever made,” said Mike Hill, Knight’s assistant, who has worked at St. Croix for 11 years. “We’re more of a destination location. The guys are more comfortable shopping here.”

It was a trend Knight said she’d heard about, even before they left Somerset.

“The wives used to come shopping at Somerset and now we see the husbands shopping in Birmingham,” she pointed out. “Most men have expressed to us … they want a small, intimate boutique shop like ours.”

The other thing the new location has given them for the last year is more creative freedom. Knight said she’s got more room to create in her windows – and within the shop – than she had in Troy.

“We aren’t mandated by the mall,” she said. “We can be as creative as we want with the windows and what we need to do in the store, because no one is telling us what we can and can’t do.”

As the store celebrated with customers new and old, including cupcakes for the occasion, Knight couldn’t have been happier about the move.

“We love Birmingham, we love the community,” she said. “Everything about Birmingham is what they say … small community, everyone works together and it’s just a great place.”

St. Croix
268 West Maple
Birmingham, Michigan