I know, I know, you’ve been dreaming about having your own witchy shop your whole life. You have it all planned out! You know the colour of the walls, the titles of the books, the window display, and the herbal tea bar you’ll be setting up. If you’re super lucky, you live in an area that’s starving for something like this and you’ll be an instant hit! If you’re sort of lucky there are maybe one or two other stores in your area, but what they do is totally different and there’s a market for your idea. If you’re unlucky like some of the pagans here in Windsor, there are already too many stores in a small area and the local economy just can’t support your ADDITIONAL metaphysical retail store.
I’m not trying to crush your dreams! I know the struggle, friend. Earlier this year I discussed pagan business on the podcast in Episode 11 – The Business of Being Pagan and reviewed Drawing the Three of Coins by Terri Paajanen to try to offer advice on avoiding the common pitfalls of pagan business. Unfortunately I now realize that I made the same mistake most people make, which is to assume “Pagan Business” automatically means “Retail store”. The other day when discussing how yet ANOTHER retail store is about to open in a local town simply because someone doesn’t want to deal with other local pagans or support other businesses I realized how big of a problem this is.
There just aren’t enough people here to support that many stores! How much stuff does everyone think we need?! Obviously, the rifts and divides in our local communities are a large problem we need to deal with; but another problem is that people seem to think this is the only pagan business there is. Many of these people want to create a place they feel safe and can connect with other people like them or want a place they can openly practice or pray. This is absolutely not a mission statement for a retail store. Like it or not, a retail store is about sales and money. It’s all about the hustle, and a lot of pagans aren’t like that. This also doesn’t work with everyone’s skill set! being pagan doesn’t mean you’ll be any good at selling spiritual tools or incense.
So here are a few other business ideas for those looking to blend their spirituality and career:
- Pagan Events Planning – How many Pagan events could there really be? Well considering many pagans celebrate a sabbat every 6 weeks, plus moon phases, handfastings, births, wiccanings, funerals etc. Pagans are normal people, after all! Depending on how many practising groups you have in town, you could be full-time busy. Collect some base level decor, design menus, get in touch with local caterers, linen suppliers, venues, photographers, etc. It’s niche, but if you become recognized enough you could blow up! For a full list of pagan holidays, holy days and occasions worth celebrating check out this calendar from About.com
- Daycare and Summer Camp – More and more children are being raised pagan and spiritual. Get in touch with a local community centre or camp ground and find out how you go about renting space. Nature walks, sky gazing, moon watching, arts and crafts, bonfires, singing songs and barbecues sound pretty pagan to me! This will provide your community’s children a way to grow within their spirituality, and will make it a regular part of their lives. Hauswitch, a Salem store, is hosting Witch Camp this summer and offering astrology classes and dream catcher workshops. If you’re a scout leader, why not start a pagan guiding business? Maybe open a chapter of The Spiral Scouts in your area!
- Pagan Retreat, Bed & Breakfast, or Camp Ground – This is a larger expense. This would be a permanent place that is purely pagan. You could host retreats, camp outs, and even the local pagan festivals. Bring in guest speakers and teachers, set up beds and food service. If you’re already someone familiar with the hospitality industry this is a way to combine both of those things. There are two camp grounds in Ontario that I know of, Raven’s Knoll which hosts The Witches’ Sabbat; and Mythwood which has a very celtic/arthurian vibe. There’s even a sword in a stone!
- Pagan Not-For-Profit or Aid Organization – This would obviously be more of a passion project than a money-making endeavour, but it would be very fulfilling. You could raise money for good charities, advocate for pagans in your area who are fighting for their civil liberties, and even travel to other parts of the world to offer aid. In your own community you can start small with a community garden of magickal herbs that are free for all, or raise money for an established charity such as Pagan Aid.
- Pagan Church or Temple – This is another idea that is not about money. This isn’t just a coven or group, but a physical space where people of certain paths or denominations can come in, kneel down, and pray. I suggest having a public altar, have clergy people on hand, have regular gatherings and rituals, do some fundraising and community volunteering, and always have an open mind and open heart. The Wiccan Church of Canada operates two temples in Ontario, maybe go in and look around?
- Pagan Cafe, Catering, or meals-to-go – The meals-to-go fad is big here where I live. The meals are pre-made, frozen and delivered on specific days. If you’re a kitchen witch who infuses magickal herbs and energy in their food why not combine that with a business plan? Start a cafe where everything is witchy or pagan themed, and advertise magick infused in your food. Love spell-infused chocolate strawberries, prosperity vibe coffee, full moon cookies made with real moon water! Stuff like that not only makes people feel good, but gives your local community somewhere to hang out if you have a cafe. If you go the catering route, try to hook up with that pagan event planner! If you’re someone who makes their own mead, beer, or wine why not start a pagan brew pub? Craft Breweries are such a hot business idea now and pagans love their mead and beer. (Please check legalities with this!)
- Pagan Florist and Gift Baskets – This sounds ridiculous, but hear me out. Imagine being able to order a “new home blessing” gift basket online and have it delivered to a friend! Or something for a marriage, a sick friend, a funeral, an initiation, a rite of passage, an anniversary, a birthday, or just because? If the baskets include flowers you could get cards and decorations that offer pagan prayers and greetings. If they contain stuff you can fill those baskets with smudge wands, crystals, books, tools, salt, blessed waters – whatever!
Will somebody please start a business that makes New Age gift baskets? #PleaseStealMyBusinessIdea
— Tess Whitehurst (@tesswhitehurst) January 11, 2016
- Pagan Marketing and Business Services – So you’ve got an eye for business, and are especially good at working the pagan angle. Instead of wasting that in a retail store where you’d also have to get good at customer service, why not start a marketing firm? Offer pagan graphic design, social media marketing, even something like window and display design. There’s always someone looking to open a retail store and most of them have no idea what they’re doing. Not only would you be helping local business owners, but this can be something you do remotely! You can help anyone anywhere from your home or office. Maybe you could even have the opportunity to travel and visit other stores, conventions, or your clients!
Have another idea for a pagan or metaphysical business? Leave it in the comments!
I think my favourite thing about this list is that SO MANY of these ideas overlap! They can also be worked into your current career. Already a chef or cook? Start your catering on the side. Have a flower or gift shop? Start offering pagan flowers and gifts! Are you a clergy person? A teacher or camp counsellor? An events planner? A marketer or graphic designer? Use that! If your business and idea take off you could be looking at not only being a pioneer, but getting mega gross rich!
If you’re planning to open a pagan retail business and are motivated by any of the following reasons, I need you to re-think this idea:
- You are not welcome at other pagan/metaphysical stores in town.
- You don’t like the owners of any other local stores.
- You just want a pagan place to hang out.
- To save money on supplies by getting them whole sale
That being said if you understand your market, recognize a need, plan to be different from other stores in town, and are committed to helping your community through a retail store I wish you the best of luck! You’re living the dream, yo.