Skin in the Game

Skin in the Game

Montana-inspired natural skincare in two downtown locations.

By Wendy Coyne. Photo by Mandy Mohler of Field Guide Designs.

When you walk into Sage & Cedar, you know that you are going to have a wonderful experience. Lovely aromas fill your senses. The store has a clean and calming presence, with beautiful products displayed neatly with eye-catching displays.

Sage & Cedar, with locations in Whitefish and Kalispell, carries unique product lines that will fit your exact needs and wants. Owner Nicole James and her employees have been helping women and men find quality bath and skincare products for 25 years.

In 1994, Nicole and her partner realized there was a need for customized skin and body products for Flathead Valley residents and visitors. The first shop was small and featured a line of custom scented products for the body, hair, and all skin types. The secret was to use essential oils to bring your fragrance to life while remaining natural and organic.

Sage & Cedar started with 30 fragrances and now has over 150. Customers can blend the essential oils to create their own original scent, and add these to a full line of skin and hair products.

With the success of the first store, they moved to the larger location they now occupy in downtown Whitefish and expanded their merchandise. Sage & Cedar concentrates on the purest and healthiest skincare lines. They love finding local products to offer – like The Good Stuff Botanicals made in Bigfork – and still have many of their original lines they sold when they opened the first store.

In addition to skincare, Sage & Cedar offers candles, loungewear, jewelry, and unusual and unique gift ideas. You can find adorable “soaps by the slice” cut from large loafs in fun designs. They can help you craft beautiful gift baskets for holidays or birthdays. They offer an online store and can ship worldwide.

In 2015, Nicole was driving through Kalispell when a historic building for sale on Main Street caught her eye. She knew that a location in Kalispell would not only help her clients there but also from Bigfork, Polson, Somers, and Libby. She also knew downtown Kalispell was becoming more and more vibrant so now was the time to move in – and she was right. After purchasing the building, she set her sights on creating a beautiful space in this new storefront. The second location has been successful since the doors opened.

Nicole says that today she has the best employees she has had in 25 years. Crissy Mills has been with her for 12 years and helps lead with experience and expertise. The rest of the staff have been there over two+ years and hold so much knowledge about the merchandise and how they can help customers with targeted products for their specific needs. This personalized customer experience is key to repeat business, which has made Sage & Cedar successful year after year. Nicole invests in her employees and they invest in her, the clients, and the business, in return.

One thing she’s most proud of is Sage & Cedar’s fundraising event at Ladies Night Out in Whitefish each year. For five dollars you receive a free lip balm and a chance to win a larger gift. The funds raised are donated to a local charity. Some of the recent recipients are North Valley Food Bank, Special Forces Devils Brigade, Flathead Youth Homes, and Life Savers Animal Rescue in Polson. The employees love this event and feel great about giving back to the community.

Nicole says that the last 25 years have been a great ride. They have had their ups and downs and weathered the storms. Her employees, the community she serves, her exceptional product lines, and, most importantly, her customers, have made the difference.

As she begins to renovate the Whitefish store she looks forward to many more years to come in Whitefish and Kalispell. Sage & Cedar is here to stay and we couldn’t be happier.

Stop into Sage & Cedar at 214 Central Avenue in Whitefish, and 227 Main Street in Kalispell. Find them online at www.sageandcedar.com and on Facebook, or call (406) 862-9411 (Whitefish) or (406) 890-2299 (Kalispell). Open seven days a week during the summer at both locations, check their website for hours.


About the Author: Wendy Coyne is active in her local community of Whitefish, serving on the boards of Whitefish Animal Group (WAG), and Whitefish Community Garden. She is the Board Chair of Citizens for a Better Flathead.