Press Northwestern University

Julia Benkendorf
Reporting and Writing/201-1 Prof. De Los Santos
May 3 2023
Profile Story Re-Write
Word Count: 550


Sara Shaaban builds ‘self-cherishing’ empire through woman-owned apothecary
With her blue eyeliner pointing outwards and freshly tattooed hands pulling vendors into hugs, Sara Shaaban buzzes around the candlelit confines of her eclectic storefront. At the second Witchy Bitches Night Market, Shaaban greets “the most badass women [she] knows,” before an event honoring local female artisans at her nearly three-year-old business, Witchy Woman World Apothecary.

The idea for WWW-Apothecary originated in 2020 after Shaaban posted photos of a homemade body scrub on her Instagram during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, the hobby has transformed into a thriving shop, selling a variety of natural bath and body products at a brick-and-mortar location at 905 Elmwood Ave.


“All of the pieces just fit,” Shaaban said. “All the different work experiences I've had ... translated into this new idea of running my own small business and thinking about plants in a way that makes sense.”
Since moving to the U.S. from Singapore as a child, Shaaban has honed her passion for facilitating healing and progress. She released an album of original piano music at age 10, with profits funding the construction of a one-room schoolhouse in Aceh, Indonesia. Shaaban also worked for the United Nations as an administrator for an anti-sex-trafficking campaign in her 20s and is now a mother to two children that she is “100% in love with,” Shaaban said.

After being laid off from her restaurant job and losing 100 pounds during the pandemic, Shaaban took an interest in weightlifting and natural wellness, calling “the life [she] gained through self-discovery that year” the ultimate inspiration for WWW-Apothecary.
As a small-business owner, Shaaban’s shop creates a celebratory environment of female energy and spirituality, friends said.

“We’ve created a little community of friends that do [events] seasonally,” owner of White Wolf Syndicate Natalie Chevalier said. “I usually come here because we just have such a great time together. It’s such an empowering environment to be in.”

Shaaban’s warm and inviting nature is the driving factor in her ability to form deep-rooted relationships with all who enter the store, co-workers said.
“She’s just the most welcoming human,” co-worker and friend Terra Kliegle said. “She reacts to every single customer in the same way that she approached me, in a really kind and open way, and the vibe of the store just has good energy all around.”


Creativity not only shines through Shaaban’s original products, such as Bruja de Agua Shower Skulls and Matcha Mami Body Butter, but also in the store’s unique decor, featuring an abundance of colorful flowers and antiques, and recently, a vintage stroller turned herb garden.


Shaaban said she hopes to inspire a philosophy of “self-cherishing” in her customers, encouraging others to make personal wellness a priority, not an afterthought.

“To me, the products are tools for connecting better with your body, spirit and the people around you,” Shaaban said. “You can show up much more authentically in your everyday life, because whether it's an hour-long bath or a five-minute shower, I want it to be an experience you look forward to.”

While her business has certainly evolved, Shaaban’s passion for her craft is stronger than ever, friends and colleagues agreed.

“It’s always poured out with love,” Kliegle said. “There’s a lot of thought behind every single thing, and I love seeing that creativeness through what she does.”