A crossroads at the start of the pandemic led an Emmaus woman to take the path less traveled, which she says has since resulted in an income boost and growth of the healing crystal and jewelry store she always wanted.
Danyel Harrison was never a 9-to-5, sit-at-a-desk type of worker. She grew up in Union and Sussex counties in New Jersey before moving to Florida, where she spent two decades as a restaurant server.
Harrison is a self-described “people person,” enjoying connections with new patrons, catching up with regulars, and thinking fast while working on her feet. She dabbled in art and educated herself on metaphysics (the study of all questions of faith, belief or spirituality from matters of fact or science).
Those hobbies eventually transitioned into a side business for Harrison as she waitressed. She began selling jewelry made from precious and semi precious stones online and performed tarot and palm readings for friends and family. Her goal was to someday open a “mystical shop” with its focus on crystal healing, which is a holistic therapy tapping into the energetic power of crystals and how they affect the body and mind.
Harrison didn’t know it in March 2020 but the start of the coronavirus pandemic was about to offer her the outlet she was waiting for. In times of uncertainty or anxiety, patrons often flock toward products that help them achieve inner balance -- something that made her crystals grow in popularity.
Eventually, Harrison was laid off from her job at the Florida restaurant amid the pandemic shutdown. She had a choice: either return to the service industry when the restaurant reopened or pursue the crystal healing venture she always wanted. Harrison took the leap in switching career paths and moved from Florida to Emmaus -- close to her husband’s hometown of Allentown and near family.
“I knew that by doing what I love and putting that energy where it was needed versus putting my energy into something that was not my purpose was going to be successful,” Harrison told lehighvalleylive.com. “I needed to be in full alignment with my life’s purpose for things to find a way to start working in my favor.”
Harrison, and her husband, Andrew Harrison, in May 2020 opened their first brick-and-mortar store, Handmade Mystic, 2 S. Fourth St., at Emmaus’ triangle. The site previously housed a wellness center and prior to that, a hair salon. The couple now has plans to expand the original 450-square-foot store into a 1,000-square-foot retail showroom.
Renovations, which include knocking down walls and opening up smaller office spaces, are slated to be completed by early fall.
Additionally, the couple opened a second Handmade Mystic location at 5 S. Main St. in Doylestown, Bucks County. That store opened this past February in space that previously occupied a tattoo parlor and prior to that, Wildflowers Boutique.
Since Handmade Mystic’s opening, Danyel Harrison said her income has tripled from her waitress earnings and online sales. Crystals are more than just pretty, mystical, and imagination capturing pieces, Danyel Harrison says.
Handmade Mystic customers often seek alternative forms to medicine for both physical and mental benefits. The idea is the crystals interact with the body’s energy field, creating balance and alignment, she said.
The origins of crystal healing aren’t anything new. The concept dates back to Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, India, Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. Early generations began using crystals for stress or focus while others believed they had the power to heal physical ailments or illnesses.
At both Handmade Mystic locations, patrons have their choice from 300 different types of gemstones and crystals. All are sourced directly from original locations with amethysts coming from Brazil; Calcite coming from India; and Ocean Jasper coming from Madagascar.
Each crystal also serves a purpose. For example, opal or tanzanite can bring balance and harmony while while enhancing creativity and compassion. Amethyst is known to be stress relieving while also enhancing sobriety and helping with sleep deprivation. A favorite among patrons is “rainbow moonstone,” believed to help strengthen intuition and psychic perception, Danyel Harrison said.
Also sought after is anything with Carnelian, which patrons have told the Harrisons they believe helps relieve back pain. There’s also home decor items, dreamcatchers, candles, tarot cards, and other healing items on multiple display racks.
Danyel Harrison makes all the jewelry pieces from polymer clay, which she said takes anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks to complete, depending on the item. Pieces range anywhere from $2.49 to several thousands of dollars.
Both Danyel and Andrew Harrison are well versed in the healing properties of crystals and gemstones. The couple often lends their expertise to help guide those who are unfamiliar. The couple additionally offers complementary tarot readings with all purchases.
Danyel Harrison said helping people who enter the store sometimes after dealing with tragedy or difficult obstacles in their lives is what sets her small business apart from national chains offering similar merchandise.
“I lend an ear,” she said. “That’s not something you’re going to find at other crystal shops.”
The Harrisons believe the pandemic somewhat played a role in the renewed interest of crystal healing nationally. Wellness is often at the forefront of people’s minds in times of uncertainty or anxiety, Danyel Harrison said.
“I think crystal healing has come to the forefront of the new age movement based on a new alternative to heal and take control of yourself,” she said. “It’s giving people back a sense of control over their mental and physical well-being.”
The couple hopes to double their inventory following the renovations in the fall at the Emmaus site. The Doylestown store, which totals 850 square feet, will feature larger crystal displays.
The Harrisons are scoping out locations for a third store in the Lehigh Valley. The goal is to open sometime next year, Danyel Harrison said.
Handmade Mystic Emmaus is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday to Saturday. Handmade Mystic Doylestown is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday.
Pamela Sroka-Holzmann may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.