You know those types of spaces that you walk into and can just feel the good vibes emanating from the walls? As New Yorkers, we are constantly searching for spaces like this and as it turns out, so was Sarah Williams. Last November, Sarah opened up Rituals & Ceremony, her very own space to bring peace, tranquility, and good vibes to the hustle and bustle of New York City.
“On my own personal journey trying to figure out what I want to do, what is my purpose, I decided that I’d like to have a little space just for self care and spiritual growth. A peaceful, zen place that people could go to and feel comfortable. I wanted to provide that because it’s what I was always looking for.”
It all started after a group of friends asked Sarah the life-changing question; if you could do anything, what would it be? After voicing her hopes and dreams to the group she attended a full-moon ceremony where she wrote them down with the intention of keeping that note and those goals with her along her journey. Slowly but surely, she began to build her business. Sarah’s next step was to give herself the gift of a registered LLC for her birthday. Shortly after, she started shopping around for spaces in Brooklyn.
“As soon as I began taking it seriously it was like the universe just opened up and things started happening, falling into place. I was like OH, so this is really going to happen, huh? Alright, here we go!” Of course, Sarah was scared and hesitant to take the leap from working a full time job in fashion to being the owner of a small business. Who wouldn’t be? Sarah says that eventually she “just had to take a leap of faith, because you can’t have one foot in and one foot out or else it won’t fully work.” So after a while, she took that big step, left her full time job, gave up the security of a regular paycheck, and now she’s all in.
A few months later and Sarah's little Nostrand Avenue boutique is established as one of Crown Heights's favorite boutiques, loved for being as bright, colorful, and welcoming as a friendly hug and a big smile - just like Sarah herself. There’s a palpable down-to-earth realness about the shop and about Sarah that is accompanied by a good dose of spirituality and serenity. It’s both invigorating and calming, the kind of place Brooklynites like us just can’t get enough of.
“I’m happy that the space has been able to just bring a new type of energy to this block. I like to share my space and these great products with whoever is interested, and that’s what really matters to me.”
Alongside Shea Brand’s full line, Rituals & Ceremony shelves are stocked with cute, quirky, and gorgeous goodies, a number of different incense options, candles, crystals, and locally made apothecary products. “People love our sage and palo santo, and they definitely go for the candles, too,” says Sarah - and people are buying for reasons besides the fact that they smell great. These Adinkra candles, for instance, are used to set and remember intentions and are a consistent draw for local customers. They also have a thoughtful selection of books about spirituality, herbs, gardening, and the moon. Sarah says that she is “definitely still learning who the Rituals & Ceremony customer is and what their interests are” but is pleased with the positive feedback she’s already received from the community.
She sees a range of different customers from long-time neighborhood residents to those who are newer to the area and are just exploring. “I love getting to build that relationship with people,” Sarah says of her Crown Heights community - “The funny thing is that as a shop owner you are sort of like a therapist in a way.” It's a pleasant, but unexpected perk of the job.
As owner and buyer, Sarah is always seeking out products and brand partners that align with her aesthetic and vision. “Everything needs to have a feeling, a flow, and a certain vibe” to fit the environment at Rituals & Ceremony. In addition to Shea Brand’s CBD blend, Sarah also carries a number of cannabis and CBD related products, including Levo oil infusers, herbal smoke blends by Dropping Seeds, and High Society Collection’s elevated joint holder jewelry. These products speak to Sarah’s own love for the therapeutic effects of CBD, which she is passionate about sharing and exploring with her customers. This summer, she plans to invite the community to enjoy informational events focused on wellness, using the products available at Rituals & Ceremony as a way to promote mindful and healthy daily practices (keep an eye on Instagram for event announcements!).
Clearly, Rituals & Ceremony is a special kind of shop. The boutique cares for its customer and seeks to create a sacred haven for anyone and everyone who cares to become a part of it. Sarah caters to a clientele who do not limit themselves by the constructs of race, age, or gender, but who care first and foremost about personal balance and well-being. Rituals & Ceremony is exactly the type of place we love to visit, one that puts out and invites good vibes for all and that brings out the magic of New York City.
*All words and images in this post are by Faye Lessler. Faye is a New York City based, California born advocate for sustainable living, a writer, and a community organizer. Through her blog, Sustaining Life, Faye seeks to inspire the eco-curious to keep treading down the path towards a sustainable and ethical lifestyle, while simultaneously supporting the entrepreneurs who inspire her. As an event coordinator and curator, Faye activates communities and brings people together over shared passions and thoughtful conversations.