Spotlight on Our Local Partners

Saturday, August 4th was Where to Next? Race’s inaugural event in D.C. Over the past several months, the W2NR team has been connecting with local businesses to be represented in the DC race. Last Saturday’s race featured a checkpoint challenge in Eastern Market, in which racers were tasked with finding three specific vendors in the crowded market to locate their next clue cards.

“A large part of our message at W2NR is advocating for supporting local businesses and connecting our racers with the local side of the city. What better way to do that than to feature local artisans in our event?” It was such a pleasure to be able to work with and connect with three talented local artisans, and we want to share some of their stories with our W2NR community.

Kim Downes, a D.C. transplant by way of New York, has dedicated her business to celebrating one of Washington D.C.’s iconic natural treasures: the cherry blossom trees. From soaps to candles, Downes has developed a diverse line of cherry blossom-inspired aromatherapy bath products to celebrate the Spring cherry blossoms year-round. Amid the bustle of Eastern Market on a Saturday morning, we were able to spend some time with our new partner, Kim Downes. Our spirits lifted by her warm and calming presence, Kim began to share her story with us.

Self-taught in the art of soap and candle-making, Kim related that the basis for inspiration in her products stem from her personal spiritual beliefs combining Tibetan Buddhism, yoga, Native American shamanism and her childhood roots in Catholicism. With integrity and a high standard of quality, her candles are crafted with coconut wax and infused with essential oils. A major proponent for supporting local businesses, Kim sources many of the herbs and oils in her products locally. When possible, she even uses herbs from her own garden.

Most importantly, Kim’s products aren’t just lovely and fragrant, but rather intended to bring a deeper spiritual healing to her customers. Kim implicitly expressed her calling to fill a need for spiritual healing in people’s lives. Customers will often come to her seeking relaxation and stress relief, and she has found that they are very receptive to natural and holistic techniques to bring balance to their lives in today’s world.

Before she began her bath product line, Kim hand-crafted fashion jewelry and accessories in New York. With an intrinsic flair for fashion, she continues to sell beautiful jewelry pieces that are all hand-selected by her. Though Aurora Bath & Jewels regularly exhibits at Eastern Market, her products are also available for purchase online at

A resident of D.C. for over 25 years, we knew we could gain some local insight from Kim about must-see spots in D.C. It’s often difficult for visitors to get a sense for the vastly different neighborhoods in D.C. Adam’s Morgan is Kim’s stomping ground, so she shared some insight on the neighborhood scene. “Adam’s Morgan has a great multi-cultural environment. There’s an amazing hotel that was built in Adam’s Morgan from a converted Christian scientist church. There are lots of eateries, and of course, Adam’s Morgan is known for its lively nightlife.”

Kim is one of many talented local artisans in D.C., and it has been our pleasure at W2NR to have had the opportunity to work with her. We stand with our local partners, and we encourage our customers to support their local communities!

Josh SarverComment