At first glance, “chocolatier” might not be an obvious stepping stone to becoming a skincare savant—but a closer look reveals a through line between the careers. At least that’s the case for Nicholas Fritz, founder of Vancouver Island’s Asklepios Garden: a decade back, a friend was starting up a skincare line and thought Fritz’s knack for tempering chocolate and working with cream fillings as an apprentice in a Bowen Island chocolate shop might come in handy. Her hunch was right, and together, she and Fritz took their Sangre de Fruta brand all the way to the pages of Vogue.

It’s this experience—paired with a background in graphic design and a return to school to formally study the science of skincare—that make Fritz’s own Asklepios brand so compelling. Pretty, potion-like packaging; plant-based ingredients blended with care; and (here comes that chocolate piece) a passion that’s downright Willy Wonka-like (though Fritz’s choices in headwear are far more stylish).

ASKLEPIOS GARDEN FOUNDER nicholas fritz poses in front of a fireplace in a blue hat

Asklepios is the Greek god of healing; his symbol (a serpent wrapped around a staff) has been used by doctors for centuries. Asklepios Garden’s own logo plays off of that classic icon, with a a snake elegantly coiling itself around the stem of a rose.

a selection of bottles artfully displayed

Fritz’s skincare studies are rooted in European cosmetic standards (which are among the strictest in the world) and witnessing his mother and grandmother mixing homemade balms and lotions growing up. But the elegance of Asklepios’ serums and cleansers go far beyond the homespun or health-food-store products he grew up with. “I have a respect for nature, but I also wanted to create something luxurious—something high quality in which everyone could take pleasure,” Fritz says. The Rose Euphoria Glow body oil is what Fritz calls “a luxurious moment,” while the Élixir du Poèt floral facial toner is crafted to inject moisture in with hyaluronic acid, even as it soothes and tones.

a bottle of rose body oil

The goal with everything from the adaptogen-packed Crème Fraîche cleanser to the Prima Materia serum (made with omega-rich sea buckthorn oil and hydrating borage oil) is to protect the natural moisture barrier, promote collagen production, and deliver nutrients deep into the epidermis. Scents come from essential oils—ones that are appealing genderless. “It was important for me that every product had a grounding luxurious scent, to either invigorate or calm the mind,” says Fritz. “The goal is to create a ritual that you really look forward to and enjoy doing because it feels beautiful.”

a group of bottles on a white background