One of the newest business owners in downtown Langley has some unusual gifts.
Although Giavonne Mitchell opened Kalypso’s Gifts a few months ago, some shoppers in the Village by the Sea – including this reporter – are just now discovering the existence of her metaphysical shop, which sells zodiac sign themed candles, tarot cards, bundles of sage and knitted witch hats, among other products made by local artisans.
True to the laid-back nature of island living, news of Mitchell’s store has spread slowly by word-of-mouth.
“I just love going back to slow life and slow living, that island way of just word-of-mouth,” Mitchell said. “That’s my kind of thing.”
Born and raised on the Virgin Islands, Mitchell only recently made the move to Whidbey, a much colder and less populated island.
“I traveled for two years looking up and down the coastline for the right island that reminded me a lot of the qualities of my home, minus the sun,” she said.
Kalypso’s Gifts is the first store that she’s ever owned herself. As a metaphysical store, she said, it’s all about “the mind, body, spirit, connection and community.” Products sold are for improving the self and one’s own spiritual connection, whatever form that may take.
Mitchell’s store is named after the sorceress featured in the Odyssey.
“Kalypso herself, she’s a story of a goddess whose tale was told by a man, ancient history,” Mitchell said. “A lot of the goddesses back then were kind of relegated to a certain storyline. And so this story for her is almost like her home.”
The irony is not lost on Mitchell that the coffee shop down the street is named after the hero from the Odyssey who Kalypso helped and fell in love with.
Ever since she was a child, Mitchell has felt an attraction to the supernatural world. She said she had the ability to see dead people, something which her parents discouraged her from talking about with anyone.
“On the Virgin Islands, it’s a very different kind of culture,” she said. “There’s a lot of superstition, there’s a lot of fear and maybe some negative stuff that goes on with manipulation.”
She learned to suppress her talent over the years, but felt herself slowly drawn back to her origins eventually. She began performing tarot and psychic readings and helped friends start their own metaphysical stores, including the only one on the Virgin Islands.
“It opened up a world for me to just be me, and I wanted to be able to provide that to other people,” she said. “They know in their hearts that they want a deeper connection to their spiritual connection, whatever that is, whatever religion it is. And so that’s what this place is.”
Mitchell currently runs Kalypso’s Gifts with her daughter, Bijan. The store may have had a slow start, but business definitely has not been moving at a glacial pace. Shoppers looking to buy personal items for their loved ones for the holidays were seen frequenting the gift shop in December. Some Oak Harbor residents have even made the trek down.
“There’s a deep silence to this place. It’s very quieting,” Mitchell said about the building Kalypso’s Gifts is located in, which has a breathtaking view of Puget Sound.
Mitchell likes to joke that her store is better painted and has more furniture than her own home. There is a wide variety of items on display, including countless pieces of jewelry and wares from Whidbey artisans, such as handmade bars of soap.