Store-ies 05: Juju

 

A visual archive of Pittsburgh retailers & their stories. 

 
 
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Leslie McAllister

Owner of Juju

Photography by Rose Colored Creative

 

What’s the story behind juju? (I'd love to hear more about the journey that brought you to the shop)

This shop has been a long time coming. I remember watching The Craft in the 90’s thinking: I’m going to open a witch shop some day. I’ve always been drawn to fashion, magic and music so I knew it was going to play out one or all of those ways.  After some time in San Francisco, I moved back to Erie, my hometown, to attend Mercyhurst University. I majored in Fashion Merchandising. Upon completion in 2007, I spent time writing about fashion and working here and there. In 2012, I opened an Etsy shop. At that moment I solidified a personal 3-5 year business plan to move to Pittsburgh and open a store. In 2016, I opened juju! It wasn’t easy. I worked really hard and networked quite a bit. The hardest part was finding the space. It actually, sort of, found me. I was really inspired by the concept of a lifestyle store and that felt like what juju wanted to grow into; this idea of a witch’s lifestyle. What does she wear, smell like, read, etc... it’s really a glorified embodiment of me. 

 

I remember watching The Craft in the 90’s thinking: I’m going to open a witch shop some day.

 
 
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What do you see for the future of your company?

Growth for sure! I have so much more to do and people to reach.

I am very excited about the new launch of my spell kits. I’ve created four kits for ritual: Unlock Your Heart for love, Open Your Eye for intuition, Unblock Your Flow for abundance and Put Up Your Guard for protection.  Each box contains a gem essence that I created and charged with reiki energy. Each box will include the essence, a gem stone, candle, herb and cleansing bundle along with a written ritual. I have put so much love and thought into each one and I’m thrilled to help others open the door to their magical workings. 


Benefits and challenges are to having a store in Pgh?

Pittsburgh is so supportive and loving. It’s such an embraceable community. People here are so eager to support local businesses. Pittsburgh folks have such a great work ethic too! It encourages me to keep going, keep trying! 

Shops are so spread out around Pittsburgh. We really don’t have a “shopping” neighborhood and I think that creates a challenge for those that want to hit shop after shop. South Side, Lawrenceville, Sewickley and Aspinwall are stepping up. There are some great little stores coming together there. 

Overall, I feel there are more benefits to having a shop in Pittsburgh. So much love and support! 

How would you describe your style in 3 words?

Bohemian, classic, eclectic

 
 
 
 

What has been inspiring you lately?

Lately I’ve been inspired by healing. What it feels like to begin to feel whole. To call your power back to yourself. What if we were all healed from our trauma and heartbreaks. Would the world be a better place? And what is my duty to helping others? How can I be more present for this community while also creating boundaries and taking care of myself. 

I’m inspired by those doing the work. 

On a store level, I’m inspired by crisp, clean spaces. I’m inspired by the beautiful crystals made by earth. And I’m inspired by color, texture and asymmetrical silhouettes. 


What is your most-prized clothing item?

A vintage black sequin opera coat with a pointy hem. It was passed down from a dear friend who passed away last March. Pretty much anything she passed down to me is coveted. She had amazing style and grace.

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Mistake” is a dirty word. So is “failure.” The only mistake I could have ever made was not opening juju in the first place. Everything else is a lesson and it brings you to this moment now.

 
 

What have you learned from having a business? What mistakes have you made?

Owning a business is a spiritual journey. The most important thing I’ve learned is how important my personal time has become. Learning how to say “no” and how to take care of myself. Creating boundaries so that I can have time to recharge. 

When you first open you want to say “yes” to everything and over time you notice how run down you can get. 

“Mistake” is a dirty word. So is “failure.” The only mistake I could have ever made was not opening juju in the first place. Everything else is a lesson and it brings you to this moment now. 

I don’t get caught up in mistakes. 

Which fashion designer or muse (dead or alive) would you love to collaborate with?

Oh man. Ha! I’ve always been a huge fan of Missoni. But I’d have to say Thea Porter or Zandra Rhodes and I would make Ruth Gordon model everything. 


 
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Elysia Newman