You know how you can look back on your life and see how circumstances weaved together for your good? How the results look so much different and yet better than you ever imagined? And how you can see God’s hand at work in putting all the pieces together?
Such is the story of Soulshine, a lovely online shop, fashion bus, and limited-hours boutique, located in the quaint town of Shrewsbury, PA. I had the honor of meeting with the owners, Lisa and Allison, who were both sincere, fun, and easy to talk to. These gals are the real deal: honest, relatable and able to laugh at themselves and the things they learned over the last year+ of opening their business (like how wearing sneakers, no matter how cute, won’t get you to the rooftop bar of certain hotels). It was easy to see why they describe themselves as “boho chic, ethically minded with a soul-filled vibe.” We chatted over chips and salsa about Soulshine and I feel privileged to share them with you in this space.
One would think upon meeting these sweet mamas that they were lifelong besties who dreamed of owning a shop together one day. It was obvious they care for each other and their families deeply. I think that’s one of the things that makes their story unique because their friendship was one that formed over time and was perhaps, unexpected. They didn’t know each other but had mutual friends and their paths kept crossing in random places. One day, they got to talking as women do and it turns out they both wanted to have a little shop. What started as just a desire to sell cute clothing turned into more than what they initially envisioned.
As many small businesses do, Soulshine started in Allison’s basement. They carried clothing that they liked at first, and everything was fine, but over the next few months, they started carrying clothing they thought others would like, with no real connection to it themselves. They saw what was working in other places, so it didn’t really matter whether it was clothing they liked or not. Meeting one day with a tee-shirt designer, they were unexpectedly inspired to really think about what Soulshine was all about. Their vision was that the women who found Soulshine, whether online or at an event with their vintage bus, knew their beauty came from the inside out. And as they thought about the clothing they carried, they realized that the women who create the clothing should have that same experience. All of this led to them ridding themselves of their old inventory and rebranding themselves into who they are today.
Their desire is that everyone involved in Soulshine, “from concept to closet,” will celebrate their beauty.
Soulshine proudly carries clothing and jewelry that fit into one of these ethical categories: made in the USA, fair-trade, organic/sustainable, or cause-based. As they grow and add merchandise from various companies, you can be assured that everything you buy from them will fit in one of these categories.
Local friends, you can visit their shop the first weekend of the month (Friday-Sunday) as well as by appointment. When you make that personal connection with a small shop owner, you’ll think about it when you wear your clothing and I’m telling you, it makes such a difference in the way you view shopping in general. Shopping small gives you the opportunity to have relationship with the owner of a company and Soulshine is no exception. When you visit Soulshine, Lisa and Allison want you to feel like you’re walking into your best friend’s closet. They want you to feel confident in yourself, and confident in your purchase that you’ll find something you love, not something that will just hang in your closet untouched.
There’s also something incredibly unique about shopping with women who support other women, who say “no” to competition, who you know will genuinely be for you and want you to walk with confidence in who you were created to be. Shopping at chain stores tends to feel stiff and cold and gives you little to no feedback. Or perhaps the opposite with overly anxious sales reps who will gush at everything you put on. Shopping at Soulshine is meant to feed your soul, to give you a shopping experience where you leave feeling connected and confident.
At the end of our time together, I asked what message they would give to consumers. Lisa’s answer was immediate. I couldn’t love her response any more.
Think before you buy. Take the time to be aware of who you are supporting when you make a purchase. Who do you want to support when you buy something, like clothing? Do you want to line the pockets of large business CEO’s? Or do you want to support local community, small business, and workers and artisans being fairly paid and fairly treated?
Couldn’t we all benefit from slowing down just a little in life anyway? Being present more. Not rushing from one thing to the next. There are so many parallels between slowing down in life and slowing down when we shop. Less impulse buying, less rushing, more satisfaction, deeper connections with real people. Shopping with Soulshine gives you this experience.
Do it. It’s good for your soul, girl.
You can follow Soulshine on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (@soulshinegirls) and Pinterest as well as check out their online shop. This page also gives you information on where their vintage bus will be! If you make a purchase, be sure to share on social media with the #mysoulshine tag to help spread the love!