BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)– “We’re not just sharing our story, but we’re sharing these other women’s stories too.”

When you walk through the doors of the shop “Her Story” on Hertel Avenue, you feel the sense of empowerment that has developed throughout the past three decades.

“It’s evolved as we have evolved,” said Susan Morreale, owner of Her Story. “It’s grown into helping women learn more about taking care of themselves and empowering themselves.”

Morreale opened her business 32 years ago, right after she had her daughter Ciara. Susan, a registered nurse, always loved taking care of people but started to feel burnt out being a young mother and working long-hour shifts.

“I wanted to create a business where I could have my daughter work with me, so that’s where ‘Her Story’ began,” Susan said.

She started a business in Niagara Falls called “Lotions and Potions” that focused on blending fragrances and oils for wellness, helping women shop and feel good at the same time. Opening this store gave Susan the opportunity to do the two things she loved: helping people and spending time with her daughter.

Susan’s mission grew even stronger when she was diagnosed with breast cancer back in 2007.

“That was probably one of the most difficult times of my life ever,” Susan said. “When I got done going through it, it taught me so much about finding your strength and trying to share it with others.”

Susan and her daughter, Ciara, created a jewelry line called the “Strong Women Collection” to remind women that they are not alone on the journey of life, and that each woman has her own story and battles to fight.

Decades, and a few locations later, the mother and daughter duo continue to work side by side, helping connect and inspire women throughout the community.

“We balance each other and I think another important part is knowing your strengths and your weaknesses. I know my strengths and what I’m good at, and I appreciate my daughter’s as well,” Susan said.

Throughout the years, not only has the mother and daughter’s bond as co-owners grown stronger, but it’s grown into three different connecting aspects of their brand. Her Story has now expanded to ‘Her Sanctuary’ and ‘Her Kitchen’.

“Her Sanctuary is all about creating peace around us to inspire peace within us, which is important to do in the crazy busy world,” Ciara said. “It’s important to have that peace in your home and a little place that you can go to a corner of your world and be able to do some refreshing and renewing for yourself.”

At their shop on Hertel, they help others create that type of space, with different types of crystals, aromas and comfort healing techniques. They also provide a sanctuary space at their store that women in the community can come to and escape, with a group of friends.

‘Her Kitchen’ has been mostly virtual for the past few years, and helps others learn more about plant-based cooking. They hold plant-based cooking classes, private dinner parties and ways to make your kitchen a relaxing place. They also plan on expanding into another location two doors down next month.

“It’s about what you put in your body, it’s what you put in your soul, it’s what you put in your mind,” Susan said. “So all of our brands kind of tie together and what better way to spend an evening then grabbing bunch of your girlfriends and coming out to spend time together and learning about how to take care of yourself because at the end of the day, your health is your wealth right?”

As you walk through the sanctuary of a shop they created on Hertel, not only will you learn more about their own story, but other women’s stories as well. Every product in their store is either created by a woman, or a woman-owned business, and they share that woman’s story. They also created a ‘Celebrating Her’ jewelry collection, that gives back to charity.

“It’s really nice to hear their story here, what empowers and inspires them, then also how we can give back to something that’s really important to them,” Susan said.

This collection shares stories like Tina Patrol’s, a singer-songwriter in Nashville who is from Buffalo, who asked Susan to create a piece of jewelry after she had surgery for scoliosis.

“She wanted to create a piece of jewelry that after she had her surgery that she could wear down her back and kind of accentuate the scar to show that you know we’re not defined by that. We’re still beautiful and feminine and that you live in your power,” Susan said.

For every piece that is sold from Parol’s collection at their store, a portion of the proceeds goes towards World Spine Outreach, which helps children who have scoliosis in third-world countries have access to surgery.

“It’s really kind of neat because it becomes my story, our story, then her story,” Susan said.

To learn more about their story and their growth as a brand and a business, visit their website here.

Hope Winter is a reporter and multimedia journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.