Spill the Tea Sis Apothecary
Hi, there! Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your new business? What made you choose Northampton as a location for your store?
To me, Northampton has always been a place for people to come to find cool things. If you want a true shopping experience in the area, downtown Northampton is the place to go. I’ve had my items in four or five different locations over the years and worked the door at Diva’s back in the day, so I have a real connection to the town, and really envisioned myself setting up my business here. My wife Jess has also been part of Northampton, having worked in multiple restaurants around town over the years. We have a strong desire to see the town thrive and continue to grow.
With the way retailers have evolved over time, I see a lot of disconnect, especially for items that are supposed to be part of this practice. We want that feeling of magic and mysticism to carry over to all aspects of life and be part of your existence. I felt a real hole and thus a need for those—spiritual items made by spiritual people. We make approximately 40% to 50% of what we sell in the store, and I intentionally curate the rest of it, as I’m committed to ensuring that the quality and purpose of an item is considered when it comes in our door.
We want to bring people together in a safe space, and create meaningful relationships like people used to have. Years ago, you would shop somewhere not only because you liked a business or their products, but because you really got to know the business owners and you came to care about each other and have mutual relationships. I wanted to get back to a space where everyone feels welcome. I want people to feel comfortable even just popping in on their lunch break for positive energy. That’s how we can give back to the community and be a part of the conversation downtown. We have already been overwhelmed, but grateful beyond measure by the response to the shop, and to the people who have come out for our full moon events. And there’s so much to look forward to!
What are some challenges you endured, and what are some positive things that you’ve learned/that have come out of the past two plus years?
I had to learn a lot about authenticity. We are retailers turned wholesalers turned retailers. I showed my work—hand cut paper collage—in the Valley for over 15 years, and sold my art and gifts to wholesale customers. During the pandemic, I started to slowly release more intentional, spiritual-based products, which had been part of my practice for 20-ish years, to my wholesale customers. The more I started to become really authentic, the easier our business became. It was pretty amazing how it just naturally evolved, and the more authentic I got, the more profitable it became.
The Cycle of Abundance is profound—when you are spending money and making money in ways that you value and love, money comes back to you. I am surprised by the way our business changed, but if we had not pivoted, we would not have grown as the world was changing. I didn’t expect 50% of our business to become drop-ship, but we listened to our wholesale customers and were able to give them what they needed through the pandemic to keep their businesses floating. It was important to us that we continue to help them and their businesses survive. We had to work much harder, but we felt like there was no alternative, as we were not going to give up.
The hardest part of that time was being apart from our family up here, as we were living in Florida then. When we came back, we lost both my father and father-in-law, so it made for a very hard chapter for my family. But that type of loss has also encouraged me to educate our community on the healing power of spirit, the earth and the world around us. I know we have a lot of modern medicine now, but we also come from a place of folk healing and I want to make that more accessible to people, whether through herbs or energy or a combination of both.
I love that we have at least three generations of women working in the shop now, including my mother and sister. It’s wonderful having a diverse team that comes from different backgrounds, experiences, and spiritual practices. I love really listening to them and honoring their ideas and experiences, as that in turn helps me broaden my perspective and expand my offerings. The reality is that the only constant in this life is change, which can feel terrifying, but that change also strengthens and motivates me to keep evolving with it.
As business owners, what do you do to unwind/relax/rejuvenate?
My favorite way to spend my free time is with my wife Jess. She is truly my best friend, and I have grown so much as a person through my relationship with her. That quality time with her is where I get to come back to the center of my being. The other way I regroup is waking up between 3:00 and 5:00AM daily to create things for the store, paint, and make a quiet cup of coffee. This time connects me to my father, as he was a photographer and artist who would also wake up in the middle of the night to create. And as a kid, I would often get up with him to enjoy that special, quiet time with him. It’s my witching hour, and feels very necessary and restorative.
What are some exciting things that you have coming up, both at the store and in general? Any events or new projects you'd like to share?
Our full moon events have been very well-attended, starting at 50 participants for the first and going up to over 200 participants for the most recent! We are so unbelievably grateful that the community has really shown up. We can’t wait to offer more classes, tarot readings, healing sessions, and gatherings. We are taking a very exciting next step, and will make a more formal announcement about it in early October, so stay tuned! It’s going to take the entire community coming together to help us pull it off, but we feel certain it’s just what people really need right now. Some other upcoming events will be our Hocus Pocus Release Party on September 30th with the Sanderson Sisters outside our store from 5-7pm , as well as our next full moon ritual, with two sessions—one at 4PM which will be ideal for families and one at 7PM for people who really want to be out under the moon. We are also just excited to have people come in to say “hi”, learn more about us, and shop. The door is always open and there’s always more room at our table.
Fun little new Q: what’s your favorite fall food?
I am the most basic—you’ll have no problem getting me to eat anything pumpkin, from pumpkin muffins to pumpkin spiced lattes. And, being a nice Jewish girl, I am all about the applesauce and latkes at this time of year!