What does the word ‘safe’ bring to mind? Does it evoke images of shelter, stability, and respect? Crystal Culture in Stony Plain aims to exceed your preconceived notions of what it means to have a safe space in the community, and demonstrate inclusivity in all aspects of life and business.
Listen to my conversation with the owner of Crystal Culture, Jenn Leeuw, here:
In this era of new-age spiritualism, limits and previously recognized concepts of spirituality have been re-defined. The ideas of safety, holistic health, well-being, and belonging have shifted to less concrete beliefs. For many, spiritualism represents cooperation and healing to foster relationships between others and within oneself.
In retail spaces, spiritualism is commonly physically represented through items such as votives and crystals. These minerals are often worn as jewellery but can also be stowed in a bag or pocket. Each type of stone has a different purpose and can be used for various aspects of spiritualism. The crystal community believes these minerals promote healing, safety, luck, and feelings of calmness.
Agate is one of the many types of stones and crystals that can help with self-confidence and anxiety available at Crystal Culture. (Crystal Culture/Facebook)
Crystal Culture’s owner defines this safe space as a space “you can come to and be your genuine self without fear of judgement or harassment. It is a space that is inclusive of everyone.” It doesn’t matter who you are or how you are; you are welcome at Crystal Culture. ‘Safe’ means something different to everyone, so Jenn Leeuw, the owner, and her team promote honouring feelings of inclusivity and respect along with the aspects of physical safety the business offers. Such spaces can be referred to by many names, such as “safe, inclusive, positive, or neurodiverse,” Leeuw said.
Crystal Culture opened in May 2022, and supports around 23 local vendors by selling their products and creations in the store. Jenn Leeuw and her team work hard to ensure that all visitors have a pleasant experience while visiting the shop. Alongside the products, Leeuw offers Tarot, Oracle, and Reiki services. Crystal Culture is a safe and inclusive space in the community where “anyone can be who they are with no judgements because we want them to feel safe.”
While a sign in Crystal Culture states that the shop is a positive space, it is much more than a declaration of inclusivity; it is a feeling you notice when you walk in the door. Leeuw opens her business to anyone needing a place to sit, someone to talk to, or just needs a change of pace in their day. Leeuw believes practicing kindness “should come easy, and it should be natural.”
The team at Crystal Culture is hyper-aware of the effects that social media can have on one’s sense of belonging. Before posting, the team sifts through the lyrics of a song that may be in the background of a post and re-read their captions to ensure that everyone feels respected and considered when visiting their social media accounts.
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At Crystal Culture, a safe space means much more than just a place to feel physically safe. Everyone’s emotional well-being, peace, and identity are respected. Leeuw believes that “safe spaces don’t exist everywhere right now.” Some people may not have anywhere they can truly be themselves and feel comfortable, so spaces like Crystal Culture are vital to the community’s well-being. Leeuw specifically hopes to help children and young adults accept and be accepted through workshops and conversations.
Consistency also plays a role in providing a safe space by creating an environment that is constantly positive. It increases stability in one’s life.
Leeuw hopes other local businesses will recognize the need for safe spaces in the community and ensure that their shops foster inclusivity. But, these spaces are meant for more than just small towns; larger communities also benefit from inclusive spaces as diversity is intensified within larger populations. Next time you are visiting a local business or shopping at a larger company, reflect on your experience and consider how you felt inside — if you felt safe in more than just a physical sense. Crystal Culture is a business that reflects the human need for belonging and well-being.
The Crystal Culture team, led by Leeuw, has been recognized for their efforts and impacts on the town of Stony Plain. They are the recipients of the 2023 Trail Blazer Award given out by the Greater Parkland Regional Chamber of Commerce. This award honours “an organization that champions diversity, equity, and promotes inclusion within their workforce and customers,” as stated by the Chamber of Commerce.
Jenn Leeuw holding Crystal Culture’s 2023 Trail Blazer award. (Crystal Culture/Facebook)
After meeting Jenn Leeuw, my heart felt full, and my energy for the day was renewed. If you are looking for a place to feel physically and emotionally valued, drop by Crystal Culture in Stony Plain.