Soothe Your Soul will soothe in cyberspace
by Elka Worner
Soothe Your Soul is more a sanctuary than a store, according to many of its longtime customers.
Massage therapist Laura Vartanian describes the warehouse filled with crystals, aromatherapy and health supplements as “Disneyland for the senses.”
“If life is throwing you curveballs, pushing you down into the ground and you have gravel in your face, this is the place to come to unwind and rejuvenate,” Vartanian said.
“I love it here,” said healer Kathleen Kraskouskas, as tears welled up in her eyes. “The owner is always so kind and welcoming.”
The cause of Kraskouskas’ tears is Soothe Your Soul’s closing in the coming months.
After 26 years, owner Rena Joy Shamie is moving her business online because she wants to dedicate more time to consultations, and to her YouTube channel.
“It will allow me more time to serve the community,” she said.
Shamie converted the warehouse at 6th Street and Ardmore Avenue into a place of relaxation long before experiential shopping became a trend.
Her stamp is on every part of the store, from floor to ceiling.
Handmade, mesh butterflies, in pastel colors hang from the ceiling. The concrete floor is painted in mystical swirls of cerulean, lavender and seafoam green. Shamie mixed 120 gallons of paint into 30 different colors and then added glitter to create the floor canvas. She also placed 2,000 crystals beneath the concrete for positive energy.
While customers shop their senses are soothed by her piped in, guided meditations and the scent of lavender, geranium, bergamot and rosemary from her popular “Joyful Grace” blend.
“It’s a treat for all of your senses. You can smell it, touch it and listen to the singing bowls,” said longtime customer Roselle Cespon. “I always feel better after being in the store,”
Shamie said as a child she was often sick with colds and the flu, but did not like taking antibiotics, opting for herbal remedies instead.
The former accountant opened her first Soothe Your Soul in Redondo Beach 26 years ago, before moving to the warehouse space on Valley Drive in Hermosa Beach.
“I had no intention of opening a store, but while in a meditative state I had a vision,” she said. “I wanted to help people connect with their higher selves.”
Shamie said her most challenging time was the 2008 financial crisis when sales dropped by half, and she almost filed for bankruptcy.
“No one wanted to buy beads, fountains and jewelry during the recession,” she said. “So I taught classes on what to eat to be healthy.”
She attributes her success to listening to her customers’ concerns and freely sharing her encyclopedic knowledge of natural healing.
During a typical day, she gives customers handouts on the benefits of diatomaceous earth and the nutritional value of sprouting buckwheat, and quinoa. She also offers free samples of her oils, and her Beautiful Skin Naturally anti-wrinkle moisturizer, which has a cult following.
If you’re stiff from a workout, she recommends her No More Sore Muscles. For headaches, she dispenses her Migraine Blend.
“She has a healing presence,” said nurse Anisah Riaz who was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer when she first came to the store. She credits the crystals she purchased there, and taking up surfing with helping with the healing process. Riaz has been cancer free for two years.
During a recent trip to Soothe Your Soul, Riaz bought several ocean jasper and quartz pieces, which she said she would place throughout her home because “they bring a lot of cleansing and healing.”
Feng shui and crystal energy specialist Lori Pagnucco, who teaches crystal workshops in her office across the street from the store, said she will miss bringing her students to Soothe Your Soul for crystal shopping.
“This has been my go-to store,” Pagnucco said. “They have a wide variety of crystals at reasonable prices.”
Shamie stocks hundreds of tumbled crystals, including shiva lingam, sourced from a sacred river in India; ruby kyanite; and shungite, a stone that reportedly offers protection from harmful radiation emanating from electronic devices.
For years, customers have been able to touch the stones and feel their energy in this unique gathering spot for like-minded individuals.
Those sensory experiences will be lost when Soothe Your Soul moves online. But Shamie said her commitment to her customers will continue.
For more about Soothe Your Soul, visit BeautifulSkinNaturally.com. ER
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