• Nicole Bishop

Interview with Carly Gouweloos: Potion Maker & Digital Creatrix

I had the pleasure of meeting Carly almost three years ago when she ventured into my first store called 313 Spirit Shoppe. She was just in the process of moving to Collingwood & I could tell right away she was such a welcomed addition to the community. To know Carly is to love her. She has the kindest heart & the warmest energy {probably due to the all the fire! See below}. We connected on our love for tarot decks, supporting independent artists & the landscape we now both call home. Carly is a brilliant creative & fuels her mystical gifts into her creative projects. Currently available in different shops in Canada & the USA, THGHTSNCTRY is her lineup of crystal infused aromatherapy oils that tap into different areas or energies of the person, spirit or body. She also has a design company called Caleidescope where she works with clients to create their various graphic needs like logo or branding, package design & more.

With this blog surrounding the celebration of mystical arts & culture, Carly was one of the first people that came to mind to interview. She completely embodies the correspondence of the two realms from her creations to her concepts & opinions on life. I can't wait for you all to find out a little bit more about her & her magick. Read on!



Sun/Moon/Rising: Sagittarius Sun, Leo Moon + Leo Rising

Pronouns: She/Her

Born: Orillia, Ontario. December 16, 1989 8:21pm

Currently Residing In: Collingwood, Ontario 

Favourite Songs: I love music & what I listen to really depends on my mood but some of my favs are: Warm Sound - Zero 7, Cherry-Coloured Funk - Air, Smalltown Boy - Bronski Beat, Tailwhip - Men I Trust, Tangerine - Beach Fossils

Favourite Films: Garden State, Jojo Rabbit, anything Wes Anderson because of the colours & design, & Mrs. Doubtfire (LOL!) 

Favourite Colours: the golden orange glow of the sun & chartreuse (yellow-green)

Places I’d Love to Travel: The Netherlands as my partner & I are both Dutch, Iceland & anywhere Scandinavia!

Favourite Tarot or Oracle decks: I love the visuals of the Lioness Oracle & She Wolfe Tarot but love the words from all of Kim Krans decks, there is just something about them that is unexplainably magic

Favourite Crystals: citrine & emerald 

Creative/Artistic Mediums: graphic & product design, entrepreneurship :)

Tell us a bit about who you are & what you do. I consider myself to be a designer & creative director. I have two companies that take up much of my time, the first is Thought Sanctuary where I have created what I call a ’super-groovy, functional aromatherapy line’ that infuses plant essences & crystals. It started as a creative project & has evolved into something much bigger so it has been fun to be on the journey with that business which has become it’s own magical ‘entity’ in itself. My other company is Caleidoscope which is a design & startup development company where I have had the opportunity to work on so many

unique projects from designing a wellness magazine to helping open a loose-leaf tea shop to starting up and managing an art finance company. Right now I am working almost exclusively with clients to develop branding & packaging design which I am SUPER loving & feeling very inspired by. Just as importantly I am also a partner, daughter, sister, friend & soon-to-be Momma in the new year!

Congratulations! You’re also an amazing graphic designer. Do you find that you attract clients who are like-minded with your passions? What is it like being creative for yourself and then creative for someone else? Thank you! I do get the opportunity to work with some really cool clients who have similar values which is always fun because it just feels easier & more seamless. I have been working closely with Bernard from The Greater Goods - if you have a food business that you want to take to the next level x100, get in touch with him - he’s amazing & he’s also a very magical person! He has aligned me with some really amazing clients so that has been a growing partnership that I am very grateful for. When I am designing for myself, I can really be wild & free, but it actually takes longer because I can keep tweaking & changing things forever. When I am designing branding for a client, I usually create 3 concepts for the client to choose from & they almost always choose the first one I design & I think that is because that is when I feel that I am the most connected to the client & their vision. I try to learn about the person & their vibe & design intuitively from there.

What inspires you? Nature inspires me both creatively AND spiritually - the most perfect things already exist in nature…& all of our attempts to design & create new things will always pale in comparison to it unless we take time to learn from it. Watch Neri Oxman’s episode on the Netflix show Abstract! She is hugely inspired by nature for her design & architecture work - it’s one of the coolest things I have ever seen! Just the fact that there are so many different plants, flowers, gemstones & animals in the world & we are still discovering more things. I am in awe of the magic of the universe! Also, David Bowie.

Colour is such a huge part of your brand. What is your relationship with colour like? My attitude towards colour has really changed throughout different phases of my life. From ages 18-25-ish I was in an ‘all-black-everything’ phase…I think it was a time in my life when I wanted to feel more mature - more like a woman than a girl,s o colour turned me off in a lot of ways. During this time I was in business school, trying to figure out who I was & what I wanted to be, but all I knew is that I wanted to be taken more seriously. It wasn’t until a few years ago when something evolved or changed inside of me, like that phase of my life had been completed. Maybe I felt like I was finally being taken seriously & I could move on to what was next, which was focusing more on fun & pleasure & vibrancy. That is where my love for colour started blossoming in both design & the way I dressed - I love fashion! I still think there is something timeless about black & neutrals, but now I use neutrals as more of an accessory than my main story through which I live my life - I think the balance is important.

I know you've talked about the term "woo woo" - how would you define it? Woo woo is a really interesting phrase that I have thought a lot about. When you look up the definition of ‘woo woo', it refers to 'holding unconventional beliefs that have little to no scientific basis’ & is most often used in a negative sense referring to things that are mystical or magical or spiritual. Firstly, there is a lot of science around the power of belief & alternative medicine so that would make this definition outdated. But on the other hand, why do we need things to be scientifically proven to believe in them? When you think about it, science is actually a form of belief too! So when I originally launched my products I decided to call them ‘woo-woo oils’ to poke some fun at this with an attempt to lighten it up a little bit. It’s really interesting I actually got feedback from a shop that wanted to carry the oils that they didn’t like that I used the term ‘woo-woo’ because they felt it discredited the healing power of the product. But I feel: what’s more healing than magical beliefs & having fun?

How or when did you start your spiritual journey, how did it manifest for you? Spirituality to me represents listening, connecting & creating & it has been a part of my life since I was quite young. Growing up I spent a lot of time on my own as my Mom, who is very magical & spiritual herself {she LOVES fairies so much}, chose to unschool my brother & I. I had A LOT of imaginary friends! I am super grateful for this experience as I was able to spend so much time with myself & in nature with no real structure or schedule to my day. My Mom taught us the power of belief, trusting that things will work out as they should & to ask our guides & angels for help when we needed them. These are still strong foundations upon which live my life still today thanks to my Mom! Spirituality is also in my blood...my grandparents owned a new age book store in the 80s which they later sold to move to India to become Buddhist meditation leaders & my Great Aunt is an Astrologer.

Woah that's so cool! What are some of your personal spiritual practices? I am a very unstructured person, so any spiritual practices I do are very ‘freestyle’ & definitely not in routine! I just try to be really easy on myself & ensure that I am making time to do things that bring me joy. Sometimes I meditate, sometimes I do yoga, sometimes I pull tarot cards, sometimes I dance with Dance Church & Ryan Heffington online. I feel like while I am dancing it is the most spiritual & connected I ever feel because I am in the moment, in my body, releasing stuff I don’t need to hold onto, feeling euphoric & that my heart is super full - my eyes water happy tears just thinking about it! Lately I have also been spending lots of time connecting with the baby in my belly too which is a magical experience & makes me feel more connected to something bigger than me than ever before.

What made you want to translate your spiritual journey into oils for others? To be honest it was actually more of a creative & healing journey that led me to creating my line of oils & then it became spiritual in the product development stages. As someone who has always worked with others on their businesses, I really wanted to design something of my own which would allow me to have a creative project that I could continue to build and work on. Aromatherapy has been a part of my life since I was young, but when I was 26 I started having almost daily panic attacks exactly one year to the day after a bad car accident. I was also doing my MBA so I was pretty stressed out, & the only thing that kept me calm during the day was literally smothering myself with Saje’s Peppermint Halo which has a lot of peppermint & eucalyptus so I could really focus on breathing & avoid the feelings of panic. This is when I began to deeply understand the power of plant essences & incorporated them into my life in a more daily practice. When I created the line I was just able to let my intuition & creativity flow completely as I didn’t have to worry about what a client wanted or any boundaries, & Thought Sanctuary is the result! The process was healing in itself & continues to be a way for me to express myself which I am very thankful for. 

What is your process for creating each oil? The initial formulation of each oil stated with a lot of research into plant essences. Then I let all that information ruminate in my mind for a while & went on to create the blends in a more intuitive way once I had a foundation of knowledge about the plants. When I am making the oils, it is really like a meditation for me. I start by creating space, putting on some music & get everything I will need organized together. I make the oils in small batches, usually around 20 oils, based on need as I like them to be as freshly made as possible. I use high-quality organic & wildcrafted plant essences & blend them into a really beautiful biodynamic jojoba oil base. Then I use sound frequency to infuse each crystal's energy into the oils, either by placing the oil into my quartz singing bowl & play it a few times or using my tuning forks, then end with immersing the crystal into the oil itself. Once I feel like the energetics have been infused, usually a few hours, they are ready & I pour the oil into each bottle, followed by labelling & boxing. It’s a really enjoyable process & I am lucky to often have help from my partner.  When are you your most creative? When I am by myself & have been working for long enough on one project to get into a flow state. When I am working on a design project, I find that the first hour or so I spend creating all of the ‘obvious’ & maybe ‘unoriginal’ designs. Once these are on paper, or in Illustrator in my case, then the designs really start to evolve into something more unique. It’s a cool journey! I work out of the Collingwood Foundry which is an awesome co-working space that I really love, & it allows me to be much more productive with my work - highly recommend it to any local entrepreneurs. Also I just want to add that SO many people tell me that they aren’t creative but literally everyone is creative, they just have different ways of expressing it. You are literally designing your own life as you go & that’s a pretty important creative project if you ask me!

What is your hope for the modern spiritual realm? What do you want to see more of/less of? Less strictness, less seriousness, less telling others what to do & how to feel, less judgement. More people doing their thing, more letting other people to do their thing, more dancing, more fun & joy. I get that things aren’t always rose-coloured, shit happens & there is a lot of work to do, but I think if we are able to prioritize fun more often, we can be people who are able to do the work from a better, more heart-centred place. 

What has been your experience as a woman in business & what do you hope for the future? It has actually been amazing & empowering, but not without challenge & hard work. When I did my MBA, it was almost 50% women in my program so I got to meet some super strong, badass women who continue to inspire me. The most challenged I have ever felt was when I finished my MBA 4 years ago, I was hired by a few investors to start up an Art Finance company, which I still help manage. Basically it was me leading a project to startup a new company in finance which I knew little to nothing about with 3 business men in their 50’s. So many challenges like negotiating my pay, feeling confident presenting my ideas & work, receiving feedback & not taking it personally. I often see a situation when a woman has a good idea but presents it without confidence & a man has a not-so-good idea but presents it with confidence, the man’s idea will be taken more seriously every time. So through this I learned, & am continuing to learn, to be more confident in voicing my decisions & to care less about what others think as everyone has their own opinion anyways.  I think women are naturally very entrepreneurial & I have lots of successful female entrepreneurs in my life, which I love! I think sometimes it takes a little longer to put ourselves out there as we want things to be absolutely perfect before we do so. If I could wish for anything it would be to give each woman the confidence to do what she feels the most joy doing whether that be starting a business, working in the corporate world or being a stay-at-home Mom. I think all of these are equally difficult jobs. And mostly importantly, not to feel guilty about doing what they want to do. 

What projects do you currently have on-the-go? Right now I am working on some really exciting partnerships for THGHT SNCTRY that you will see blossom over the next few months as well as some new stockists across Canada & the US. I am also booked until the new year with branding & packaging design projects, so lots of creative flow on the agenda for the next few months. And throw some nesting in there too, spending some time getting ready to welcome the baby into the world!! Anything else you would like to add? Thanks so much for asking me to do this!! You inspire me as a woman, artist, entrepreneur & all around magical person.  Sending everyone a big hug!!!  Thank you, Carly!

If you want more information on Carly's magickal oil creations from THGHTSNCTRY, follow her on Instagram here or visit her website here. If you want to check out more of her amazing graphic design work or inquire about your own project, visit Caleidoscope on Instagram here or visit the website here.

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