March 1 marks the start of Women’s History Month, and there are some incredible ladies to celebrate in Western New York.
Susan Morreale is one of them. She’s been lifting up other women for 28 years now, with her businesses she now calls ‘Her Story’ and ‘Her Sanctuary.’ She runs them with her daughter, Ciara, and for the next month, in their windows, passer-bys will notice pictures of women who have helped shape WNY’s past next to women who are shaping our future.
The main goal of the businesses are to support women then and now, always.
Her Story and Her Sanctuary are located side-by-side on Hertel Avenue.
Her Story is a space where women can sell their handmade goods. But what’s unique about the store is, when you see a product, you’ll be greeted with a picture of the woman who made it, and are encouraged to read her story.
“Because we all have a story, and we’re all about sharing different stories and also promoting different women in the community,” Susan said.
And everything inside is mindful of wellness.
“We have skincare that doesn’t have any junk in it; we have different jewelry lines that have all sorts of crystals and special meanings behind them; and we have a woman who is a life-gardener who does all sorts of plants for us.”
Full-body wellness is so important to Susan and Ciara. Susan is a breast cancer survivor. She fought the disease for about a year around 2007.
Her sister, Cindy, was diagnosed with the same cancer shortly after.
Cindy lost her battle two years ago.
“It was probably one of the most painful things that I’ve ever been through in my life… to watch her go through that and not beat it.”
While Cindy was fighting to get better, Susan and Ciara created a sanctuary space in her home to help her relax. So, next to Her Story, is a co-working space based off of Cindy’s Sanctuary. It’s called Her Sanctuary.
Fire Wifi allows women to do work in the space, relax, grow and be well. Her Sanctuary includes comfortable seating areas, books to read and a tea bar.
“They’re all filled with adaptogens, which are super-healing herbs for your emotional well-being.”
All the teas are made by women as well.
The two spaces are filled with so many stories, and created by a woman who has a powerful story herself.
“I have my ups and downs, but you get up and keep going.”
It’s an area where you can learn about other’s stories, and also write your own.