MONROE, Conn. -- When Laura Lenhard opened Talisman , her New Age shop in Monroe, she did the exact opposite of what the books on “successful business” and rules of manifestation advise.
Rather than plan for business growth, Lenhard was fully prepared to close if her vision for a boutique specializing in "all things mystical, magical and nature" was not welcomed by the community. "I opened with a half-full shop," said the Shelton resident. "I didn’t fully financially invest! And, I didn’t do a big grand opening event."
Close to ten years later, she's not only still there, but her store is thriving.
Lenhard said the secret to success is her focus on the neighborhood. "Like I said, if the local community didn't support my vision, I didn’t plan to force 'my ideas' or spirituality down anyone’s throat or stay where I wasn't wanted.
"I'm from Southern California and shops like mine are a dime a dozen out West … not so much in the Northeast. However, the idea of 'universal spirituality' – that all paths lead to the one – treating everyone who walks in the door with respect and having a real interest in what they have to say … regardless of how much money they spend, is key," she said. "Our real drive is to provide a local resource."
It helped that she opened at a time when interest in paranormal investigation -- and then followed by Mediumship, thanks to so many television programs like “Long Island Medium” --was just beginning to take off.
What has been so exciting to see, she said, is how enthusiastic folks are in terms of wanting magic in their lives.
"There's a real ability to impact and change their destiny positively and energetically versus accepting their fate or 'lot in life' passively," she explained.
And, even if you don't believe, you can always buy something for someone who does.Talisman is, after all, a gift shop featuring new and vintage handmade items of a spiritual nature from around the world. Lenhard, who calls herself a "practicing Witch," works hard to support local craftspeople, and American businesses first and foremost.
Items that come from other countries (Thailand, Mexico, Nepal, India, Brazil) are brought in by those who do business with these countries and know firsthand the people making the products.
Among her top-selling items: Crystals and tumbled stones, books, tarot cards and much of what she calls “specialty products” that are made at the shop, i.e. Full Moon Wishing Powder, Sage Water Spray and Sage Soap. Talisman also sells its own line of Condition Oils and powders.
Just as popular: the store's weekly “New Age Fest” which features a talented group of intuitives and healers every Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. "Mediums, tarot (and other) readers, animal communicators, aura photographers, workshops and classes … there's always something new and different being offered at Talisman," said Lenhard.
Planned for later this year: the store's own deck of tarot cards and oral cards anticipated for late fall/early winter. Said Lenhard: "These are so unique and we can’t wait for the launch party! We're also in the planning stages for a podcast radio show – again, scheduled for fall."
For more information, contact Talisman at 150 Main Street, Monroe (203) 261-0047, www.talismanct.com/ .