- We’re pleased to offer three scents:
Lavender (lavandula, historically known for its holy essence)
Lemongrass (cymbopogon, which repels insects while also acting as a disinfectant)
Sage (salvia officinalis,which when used in a smudge stick, is said to cleanse negative energy in spaces)
"Time just spindles away."
The sharp reality of Vicki Cohen's words is softened by her wistful delivery. She is nestled into a well-worn corner of the green couch that sits in front of the window of Vicki's Pink Thrift—the consignment shop that she opened in 1986 when she and her daughter, Dana, decided that "it wouldn't take much except for a few old things to get started selling them."
But Vicki's longstanding shop on Ojai Avenue is not just home to clothes, books, and curios; it’s also the storefront for her line of handmade soaps. Each draws ingredients and meaning from the surrounding landscape: They include a combination of natural fillers (oatmeal, poppy seeds), color agents (turmeric, madder root, spirolina, etc.), herbs, and resins such as frankincense and myrrh.
Every morning since 1986, Vicki has unlocked the front door of her shop to the comings and goings on East Ojai Avenue. The street has held court as the main drag of Ojai, leading locals and visitors to coffee shops, restaurants, clothing stores, and novelty suppliers. And over the years, every place but Vicki’s has seen more than one sign above the door. "I think I am the last one still open that was here all those years ago," she muses. "My rent hasn't changed, my address hasn't changed—there is actually a lot that hasn't changed. But I've repainted a few times."
Vicki has mastered the art of both collecting and recollecting, of carrying just enough of the past to give the present meaning and to give the future wisdom. "Young people go off looking for these big changes in life to show them something, but there is enough change in a day to learn from,” she says. “I understand the yearning to see new things and go from place to place and search—I searched when I was younger, too. But now I go on the same walk with my dogs every morning. The same road at the same time and the same start to my day—but it is always different. I notice something different: I find a different perspective to an old thought; the sunrise has a different pink tinge. New leaves and branches grow from the same roots."
Discover the full story from Issue 3: Topa Topa »