Sara Shaaban helps a customer at Witchy Woman World Apothecary. (Photo provided)

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

Shaaban, a lover of all things spooky and magical, has been tucked away in her shop spending hours creating upcoming items. Her spring collection recently dropped and was inspired by vintage Easter decorations and classic Jell-O desserts; the line features Holy Rose Water Spray, Devil’s Egg bath bomb and The Green Witch body scrub.

Shaaban co-hosted her pop-up at 905 Elmwood Ave. with Lani Maldonado, Kita Atabaki and Paula Roa and catered vegan desserts from Nayon, the Filipino dessert window at Coffee Lab.

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

When walking into the bath and body area of a department store, the smell can often be headache-inducing, but that was not the case at Witchy Woman. Shaaban’s products lined the walls with samples prepared for guests to sniff.

The shop is only open for guests to browse from noon to 6 p.m. Mondays. Otherwise, Shaaban is often busy putting together her latest creations and participating in local markets across Chicagoland, such as the anticipated Renegade craft fair. She said the next two months will be booked with markets so she wanted to have her own pop-up event at her shop before the busy summer months.

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

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

In Evanston, Shaaban will be working with Temperance Beer and Sketchbook Brewing for an event in May, participating in the Thursday night markets at Fountain Square and working with Stella Boutique on another collection for their store.

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

“Manifesting” is the practice of thinking aspirational thoughts into a reality and the concept has recently become more popular among some spiritual practitioners.

Maldonado said that she, like others, knew what manifesting was but did not initially understand how to start the journey, so she created a manifesting journal as a beginner’s guide.

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

The Manifesting Mami Lani Maldonado’s “Meditate and Manifest” journal. (Photo by Sam Stroozas)

Maldonado also brought her community manifesting board so Evanstonians could write hopes and goals for the city to achieve.

Kita Atabaki owns Kita Chicago, a print, sticker and screen-printed goods business that explores body shape and femininity. Atabaki said she has been an artist her whole life, and with extra time on her hands during the pandemic, she thought more about what she really wanted to do, and it was creating her art.

“I definitely think my artwork is me taking one form of matter, my hopes for the world, and turning it into imagery to share,” she said.

Atabaki calls her work “art witchery,” as her biggest inspiration is witchcraft. Atabaki said she has a history of disordered eating so it is important to her that she uses her art as a way to explore diverse bodies, which often do not receive the same love and care that white, thin bodies do.

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

“Small businesses are finally getting a movement and people are finding value in it and I feel like getting involved and helping with that is great,” Roa said.

Kira Atabaki uses “art witchery” in her art work exploring femininity and the body. Photo by Sara Shaaban.

Sam Stroozas

Sam Stroozas is a reporter and the social media manager at the Evanston RoundTable. She covers small businesses, social justice and human interest stories. Contact her at sam@evanstonroundtable.com and...

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