Skokie boutique strives to bring nirvana into women’s lives
Sangita Shrestha opened Nirvana Boutique and Spa only a couple of months ago in downtown Skokie. The business offers both boutique items for sale and spa services. | Alyssa Schueneman~Sun-Times Media
BOUTIQUE & SPA
Location: 4843 Oakton St. in downtown Skokie
Offerings: Boutique items for sale and spa services
Information: www.nirvanaboutiqueandspa.com; (847) 674-4330
Updated: August 27, 2012 6:13AM
SKOKIE — No matter how successful the project to revitalize downtown Skokie into a bustling commercial district, there will always be a slice of peace and tranquility available.
The women who visit this space can leisurely shop for boutique items or enjoy spa services in a serene setting. This small storefront business is meant to become their own little nirvana.
For just this reason, Sangita Shrestha opened downtown Skokie’s Nirvana Boutique & Spa at 4843 Oakton St.
“It’s not only about business,” said Shrestha. “I’ve been in business for the last 18 years and have done things very aggressively. I’m now at that point where I want to take it easy and be in that nirvana stage.”
That nirvana stage is defined on the store’s website.
“Nirvana is the spiritual liberation of the mind,” it reads. “Nirvana is not a physical place one can visit, but a state of mind that we can reach at anytime to find comfort and peace in this hectic world.”
But Shrestha’s Nirvana IS a physical place one can visit, of course — a welcoming space divided into a small boutique at the front and a spa in the rear.
Shrestha designed the store herself — from its cool orange walls and comfortable white couch in front to the cozy spa in the rear. She selects or reviews all the merchandise herself — clothing and jewelry, small carvings and purses and other boutique-like accessories from all over the world.
“I went to a spiritual retreat a couple of years ago and it was a big transformation in my life,” Shrestha said. “It just opened up my mind to new possibilities.”
Shrestha has had many big transformations in her life.
She was only 23 when she got married and came to this country from India to be with her husband.
“At that time, I didn’t know what to do,” she said. “I had no experience in this business whatsoever.”
But during planning stages for the revitalization of Chicago’s Navy Pier, the city was accepting proposals for shops. Shrestha’s idea was to sell figurines and gift ware from India, a shop she called A Passage to India.
For Shrestha, being a business woman was an on-the-job learning process. She worked long hours, growing more confident and knowledgeable along the way.
A Passage To India became a success and she eventually expanded, adding Fashion Bazaar to the Navy Pier business. The latter sells high-quality silk and cotton clothing primarily from India.
“I later realized I always had this passion for design and fashion and interior design,” she said. “Once I started doing this work, I realized it more clearly.”
The Navy Pier shops remain in operation, but Shrestha had a new vision after her spiritual retreat. She looked at different sites in Chicago — Wicker Park, Bucktown, Lincoln Park — before deciding on making downtown Skokie Nirvana’s home.
Skokie was less expensive, she said, and a $50,000 grant from the village helped her spruce up her new space, which needed a lot of work.
But Shrestha, a Morton Grove resident, also realized that downtown Skokie was going through its own transformation. Downtown was targeted for redevelopment and revitalization, and a new downtown CTA station was soon to open only blocks from her store.
Nirvana Boutique & Spa opened in May and customers — mostly women — are finding their way there. They browse the open-floor merchandise at the front and have their nails done, a facial or related spa services in the rear.
“Our mission at Nirvana Boutique and Spa is to create a peaceful environment, where one can relax and achieve beauty in both mind and body,” Shrestha said. “Our goal is to enrich your lifestyle by offering a wide range of high-quality life enhancing products and spa services that will make you look and feel beautiful.”
Shrestha calls her new shop “a place to visit to shop, laugh and relax — a small oasis in this busy world.”