Our hands are appendages of wonder that allow us to pursue both practicalities and passion. They even predict your future if you are a palmistry enthusiast. Folk pop singer Jewel even dedicated an entire ballad to them, explaining to Rolling Stone in 1998: “I started to believe that if I watch what my hands do, I’d have a better idea of what I was thinking, consciously or subconsciously.” We use them to gesticulate, eat, feel, hold, sculpt, draw, grab, throw, point—not to mention the hands on the front line that work tirelessly to save human lives every day, or the calloused palms that built the very streets we walk on. But especially in the last few years,they have been through the wringer, enduring countless stripping soap washes and globs of alcohol-laden hand sanitizer.
Erin Kleinberg believes it’s time we gave our hands the luxurious ritual and TLC they deserve. Rightfully so, given that hand care is a $16.9 billion market opportunity growing at a 4.5% CAGR, but Kleinberg’s approach prioritizes soulful art over empty commerce, the ritual over rushed application. A married mother of two with an entrepreneurial empire to run, it’s those special, meditative moments that mark a cornerstone of her wellness approach. Another is the empowering spirit of the matriarchy. “Ritual is a buzzword now, and I wish there was another term I could use for it, but that concept is authentic and natural to me. It all stems from the rituals I had with my grandmother, something as simple as sitting at her kitchen table, having some tea, and talking while she was moisturizing her hands. I cherish those moments so much,” she reminisces. “It is about finding those things that work for you, to inspire that moment of solace.”
As the co-founder of influential website Coveteur, a frontrunner of the “shelfie” and aspirational influencer lifestyle genres, as well as CEO and owner of award-winning branding and advertising agency Métier Creative, which has worked with the likes of Ouai and Augstinus Bader, Kleinberg certainly has an eye for identifying the je ne sais quoi, the “it” factor that determines the next big blockbuster brand. As Kleinberg recalls: “Especially during my time with Coveteur, spending time with each individual, how they juxtaposed their closets against their environment, I became obsessed with interiors and how beautiful soaps and candles can create that hygge. It's always about comfort, the comfort that my grandmother provided to me, that our matriarchs can do for us.”
Kleinberg founded the Toronto-based company Sidia as an ode to her grandmother in 2020. The range has found a home in high-end retailers including Maxfield, Goop, and The Webster. Operating under the motto of “Coming home to yourself,” the line began with a range of chic jersey and pique kaftans and soon expanded into loungewear: bamboo velour headbands, dried floral arrangements in collaboration with EW.Pharmacy,and luxury updates on the humble tracksuit.
Comfort is certainly the keyword, while maintaining elegance and beauty. It’s a modern concept of beauty: one not confined by the gilded cage of suffocating Spanx, high-maintenance hair, and endless lipstick touch-ups, but rather liberated with free-flowing silhouettes, tousled waves, and tinted lip oil. One that radiates contentment in one’s own skin rather than a complete overhaul of one’s natural state. Of course, a certain level of care and detail goes into creating this image, but it certainly has more leeway for personal interpretation and is less constrictive. “For me, what defines the aesthetic of beauty is comfort. It just sums up my whole being and Sidia's whole being. Maybe one day I feel comfortable with an amazing, full makeup look, and some days it's sweatpants and skincare,” Kleinberg comments. “Beauty is what's comfortable to you and that's what my grandmother created for me.”
Tying into the concept of self-created cocoons of solace, the brand’s home fragrance range plays off of the beginning and end of each day with the invigorating Wired and relaxing Braless candle. The former is an invigorating mix of spearmint, ginger, citrus, and eucalyptus, while the latter contains soft spices, coconut cream, and amber atop sensual guaiac wood and cashmere musks. “The candle range was an amazing opportunity because we were in a pandemic, and obviously scent became huge. It is such a way to transport ourselves back into nostalgia and to take us into the future. That got us excited about where we're going in terms of scent,” Kleinberg comments. “But I do have to say that hand care was something that came to the surface for the very beginning of Sidia.”
Now the company has ventured into the personal care realm with two products. “Hand care is the next frontier. The beauty world is so focused up here [on the face], and we wanted to really pay attention to hands again. Our hands tell our story: they are so hard working, we love with them, we craft with them, we create with them, and nobody's paying attention to them, except they're really obsessed with their nails,” she remarks. While manicured talons of all shapes and sizes have been all the rage on Instagram and beyond, caring for the skin around the acrylics has been sitting in the background. Two and a half years in the making, Sidia’s offerings consist of the Cactus Water Hand Serum and Hand Exfoliant, formulated to Credo clean standards and as an ode to her late grandmother’s endless search for moisturizing yet non-greasy formulas. “A principle of mine is just continual learning, not stopping to test, learn, and grow. So when it came time for us to develop this first product and foray into personal care, it was about taking our time, iterating hundreds of submissions,” Kleinberg recalls.
The Hand Serum contains antioxidant-filled cactus flower, prickly pear, avocado, and shea butter, while the Hand Exfoliant uses a perlite, rambutan, avocado oil, and juniper oil-infused gel texture to nourish, refresh, and even regulate hormones. The former is a citrus and amber-scented fluid made with a low percentage of clean synthetics, and the latter contains notes of bergamot and vetiver, completely essential oil extracted. Both fragrances were coordinated to meld in harmony when layering the products. Scenting hand cream is a delicate balance: add in too much and it becomes overpowering, keep it too subtle and the magic juice might get lost in the shuffle. “At first we thought, should we toy with an unscented option? Yes, down the road we will, but honestly, for us, it's about creating this brand experience, but also being in tune with the customer,” she remarks.
Kleinberg’s impeccable eye for packaging style is undeniable: the black, sleek shapes that emanate elegance, a jewel-esque emerald green cap, a typeface with just the right level of thickness that is bold, but doesn’t scream. In fact, Sidia proclaims itself as “not another beige-colored beauty line.” “Packaging can ignite so many feelings and emotions in people. It's the instant reaction. We live in a world of digital shopping so obviously your packaging needs to be fire because that's what people are seeing right away,” Kleinberg states. “You go into a clean beauty store and everything looks like a sea of sameness. There’s some outliers of course, but we wanted something that felt more alive and sexy. We want to have this brand come across with a vibe, a mood, a feeling, and evoke something without even really saying anything. Our packaging does that.”
Despite the impeccable aesthetic standard Kleinberg holds herself accountable to—her roots are in fashion design and creative direction after all—it’s not a case of shiny exterior and hollow shell. Her grandmother was a Holocaust survivor who emigrated to Canada at a young age, and Kleinberg has made it a company mission to support those healing from intergenerational trauma by partnering with the Women Like Us Foundation and The Loveland Foundation, donating 10% of all launch-week sales to the foundations. For its hand care offerings, Sidia will be donating 10% of sales during launch month to the Brigid Alliance Fund, aiding those who need to undertake long journeys in order to access abortion care in the US. The brand has also previously set up grant programs with creative therapy healers and is currently beginning a joint mentorship program with Métier Creative for young female graduates and budding start-ups.
This mutual empowerment is the lifeblood of Sidia. Even speaking to the all-female team behind the brand feels like a collective of creatives navigating the everyday challenges of modern womanhood while devising exceptional products in an age of overabundance. “I'm so inspired and proud that I can create this beautiful, hopefully global, modern-day luxury brand that celebrates the matriarchy and her honor and legacy,” Kleinberg proclaims. “A lot of the brands in the sensorial personal care space have a male-dominated perspective. I think it's interesting to include a female one.” Kleinberg is continuing the legacy of bravery and power, the divine feminine one could say, that her grandmother lived before her. In essence, an inspiring matriarchy—one with remarkably scented and moisturized hands to boot.
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