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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Barrett

Book report: HausMagic by Erica Feldman

A few years ago, I went on a solo day trip to Salem, MA in search of some inspiration. At the time, I didn't think that owning a shop was a realistic possibility for me, and the idea that I would have to be solely responsible for something as large and as involved as a brick and mortar retail business was not at all an attractive prospect. I went into a lot of little shops that day, but when I walked through the door of HausWitch, I could feel that there was something different in the air. Most noticeably, when you enter Erica's store, it is open. There is breathing room. The products have space to tell their stories. Commonly, shops are treasure troves of discoverable goods, and often filled to the rafters with products. I assumed that was an ideal method (and it is for some), but it's always the thing that didn't resonate with me when it came to being a customer of said shops. I always feel overwhelmed by all the things asking for my attention.

After reading this book, and knowing Erica a little better as a person, I am struck by her ability to transcend the boundaries of place making as self care, and apply them to her business model. Yes, HausWitch is a place to buy things, which has it's own merit (supporting local economy, investing in yourself, in women, in human interaction), but the way that this shop has always been special to me, is how I feel when I walk in. Lifted, empowered, nurtured, and inspired.

Looking back to that day in Salem, I can remember Erica's unique brand of magic making, and her skilled ability of creating space and community with intention, and recognize that as a pivotal turn in how I thought of shop keeping, which is very likely one of the sources I drew from when I started envisioning my own business. You can sell things to people, or you can give them an experience that is a unique as you are - something you'll never be able to buy on Amazon.

This book will be stocked at the shop this spring, and if you find yourself in Salem, I highly recommend a visit to HausWitch. The "Boundaries In a Bottle" spray is the real deal.

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