Woman-owned spring market pops up in Elmwood


Elmwood Avenue turned into a modern witch’s dream on Saturday afternoon when Witchy Woman World Apothecary owner Sara Shaaban hosted a women-owned spring market.

Shaaban, a lover of all things scary, has been hiding in her shop and has spent hours creating upcoming items. Her spring collection was recently discontinued and is inspired by vintage Easter decorations and classic Jell-O desserts; the line includes Holy Rose Water Spray, Devil’s Egg Bath Bomb, and The Green Witch Body Scrub.

Shaaban co-hosted his pop-up at 905 Elmwood Ave. with Lani Maldonado, Kita Atapaki and Paula Roa and made vegan desserts from Nayon, the Filipino dessert showcase at Coffee Lab.

Shaaban’s spring collection is inspired by vintage Easter decorations and classic Jell-O desserts. (Photo by Sam Stroozas)

When you walk into the bath and body area of ​​a department store, the smell can often cause headaches, but that wasn’t the case with Witchy Woman. Shaaban products lined the walls with samples prepared for guests to sniff.

The boutique is only open to customers from noon to 6 p.m. on Mondays. Otherwise, Shaaban is often busy assembling her latest creations and partaking in local markets across Chicagoland. She said the next two months would be for markets, so she wanted to hold her own pop-up event at her store ahead of the busy summer months.

“I wanted to feature some of my favorite women in my life,” she said.

Green Witch Body Butter, one of many witch-inspired products. (Photo by Sam Stroozas)

In Evanston, Shaaban will work with Sketchbook Brewing for an event in May, attend the Thursday Night Markets in Fountain Square and work with Stella Boutique on another collection for their store.

Lani Maldonado, owner of Manifesting Mami, was selling digital and paper copies of her manifesting diaries, candles and self-love bath kits containing Himalayan salt, roses and other flowers that can be poured into the baths.

‘Manifesting’ is the practice of turning ambitious thoughts into reality and the concept has recently become more popular among some spiritual practitioners.

Maldonado said she, like others, knew what manifestation was but initially didn’t understand how to begin the journey, so she created a manifestation journal as a beginner’s guide.

“People want to put really good things in the universe,” she said.

Mami Lani Maldonado’s Meditate and Manifest Diary. (Photo by Sam Stroozas)

Maldonado also brought his community protest board so the people of Evanston can write down the hopes and goals the town needs to achieve.

Kita Atapaki is the owner of Kita Chicago, a print, sticker, and screen-printed product company that explores body shape and femininity. Atapaki said she had been an artist all her life and with extra time during the pandemic she thought more about what she really wanted to do, and that created her art.

“I really think my artwork is about me taking a form of matter, my hopes for the world, and turning them into images to share,” she said.

Atapaki calls his work “the art of sorcery”, as his greatest inspiration is sorcery. Atapaki said she has a history of eating disorders, so it’s important to her that she uses her art as a way to explore diverse bodies, which often don’t receive the same love and care as the white and slender bodies.

Paula Roa donated clothes to the Saturday pop-up for guests to browse. Roa contacted Shaaban after purchasing her items and said she wanted to support Shaaban and women-owned businesses.

“Small businesses are finally starting to move and people are finding value in it and I want to get involved and help out, that’s great,” Roa said.

Kira Atapaki uses “artistic sorcery” in her artistic work exploring femininity and the body. Photo by Sara Shaaban.


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