A magical mercantile opens up downtown
Photos C/O Katie Benfey
Kyanite crystal allows the creation of new pathways and the opening of one’s mind to new positive possibilities. Lauren Campbell was wearing kyanite when the idea for a bright, quirky store with crystals, tarot cards and other magical items came to her. The name for the store, Witch’s Fix, also came to her in that moment.
At the time, Campbell was working a full-time job in Toronto and wasn’t entirely happy being a commuter and working a nine to five job. She couldn’t get the idea of Witch’s Fix out of her head, so she decided to quit her job and try to make her dream a reality.
On Feb. 26, 2018, Campbell opened an Etsy store and began to sell spell kits and mugs. Throughout the year, she attended craft markets and hosted candle rolling workshops. Exactly a year after her online store opened, her dream of a physical store came to life. The store is located in the historic Treble Hall, which Campbell had had her eye on for some time.
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“Before I even had the Witch's Fix, I'd drive by this space in Treble Hall and I would look at it and… say ‘if I ever have a store, I want to be there because it's so cute’… And one day I was on Kijiji… I saw this space [and] I was just like oh my God… that's my dream space… I'm going to do it,” Campbell said.
“I'm going to take the plunge, take a huge risk and do it because this was the space that I always wanted. It was going to be here or it was going to be nowhere,” she added.
The store is a realization of Campbell’s vision. The storefront is welcoming, with the glass walls serving as a window to an enchanted world. Inside, the shop is charming and cozy with Victorian elements and the feel of a library mixed with a traditional witch’s shop. A playlist of hot jazz, saxophone-containing music and songs from Campbell’s favourite magical movies adds to the ambience of the store and makes it feel as if it is in another place and time.
The store sells a variety of gifts and enchanting items, several of which the crafty shopkeeper makes herself. She makes Abracajava mugs and candles and puts together mystery bags, spell kits and crystal kits. As for the items that she doesn’t make herself, like the tarot cards and zines, she tries to source from independent makers, especially those who are female and female-identifying.
She wants the products to be mostly those that cannot be found in big box stores. While they may be a little more expensive than similar products in other places, her customers know that they are supporting creative entrepreneurs. In the future, Campbell also hopes to rent out the parlour at the back of her store to individuals who do readings to make this type of magic more accessible to the community.
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“Honestly when people come in the store, I really just want them to feel inspired… [I]inspiration and creativity are such huge parts of magic for me. So I hope people come in and feel like they can be curious… ,” said Campbell.
“I want to awaken a childish enthusiasm in them that makes them remember when they were a little kid and anything seemed possible, [when] they just looked at everything with wide eyes and believed in magic,” she added.
Campbell has been drawn to magic and magical items since she was a kid. As she grew older, magic became more about having a connection to nature. Campbell understands that the store might not be for everyone, but she wants it to be approachable. Having experienced the benefit of everyday magic in her life, she wants to bring a little magic to everyone else’s life too.
Campbell put the word witch in the title of her store to help change the perception of the word. She wants to do away with the idea of long fingernails and cackling laughs and replace it with the idea of magic as ownership of one’s human nature and connection to the world around us.
“I mean there are so many days where it seems like there is no magic in the world and being able to spot it in the tiniest things… [it] makes my mental health better. It can be as simple as just birds on somebody's front lawn hopping and chirping, like that is magical to me… It's just really about finding things that make me smile and are really accessible,” Campbell said.
Once the dust settles a little more, Campbell will plan a grand opening celebration to mark the fruition of this vision. In the meantime, she looks forward to watching the store grow. With the warm responses that she has received thus far the online and Hamilton community, Witch’s Fix should continue to grow and become the store for all-things sorcery and magic downtown.