When deciding where to open the physical storefront for Lion's Paw & Company, it was Fairfield's "openness and sense of community" that drew Anna Nowak to a space on Donnelly Walk.
"I checked other places, but I kept coming back to Fairfield," the Ridgefield resident said. "[The town] really supports the arts, there's a strong sense of community, and there are a lot of people involved in the healing arts."
Through Lion's Paw & Company, Nowak is involved in the arts as well -- namely, the art of interior design and Feng Shui. The mission of Lion's Paw & Company -- which opened in November -- is to provide people with the ability and elements to create a special, sacred space in their homes or workplaces.
"I bring in very eclectic pieces you can mix with old and new objects," Nowak said. "Design is about bringing energy and spirit into a room...to make you feel good, to bring good."
Nowak uses a lot of stones and crystals in her own design work. By capturing "the essence of energy from stones and crystals, you can bring [that energy] into your office and home."
There are a variety of stones at Lion's Paw & Company, from emeralds and turquoise to quartz, jasper, and fossilized pieces.
"It's endless," Nowak said.
Customers will find numerous elements and artifacts at the shop. Inventory includes jewelry by Rare Earth; silk organic pillows and other fabrics by the fair trade company Karma Living; fair trade furniture; Himalayan candles handmade and hand-poured in the US; terrariums; tabletop books, and watercolor and oil paintings by local and international artists.
Choosing companies that participate in fair trade practices and work with organic materials is important to Nowak. She chose to work with Karma Living because of the way they weave their fabrics -- "there is no child labor, no cruelty to animals involved, they work with cotton and organic silks...they adapt to the environment's needs," she explained.
Those who don't know much about interior design and Feng Shui can benefit from a Lion's Paw & Company workshop. The workshops featuring guest speakers and tutorials will be held quarterly, Nowak said.
Nowak -- who studied interior design at Western Connecticut State University and studied Feng Shui at the Emerald Institute in Seattle -- will also demonstrate the importance of staging and space clearing in the home or office.
Nowak's experience with art and design stems not only from her studies, but from her travels -- from her first experience with cultural arts in Anchorage, Alaska to trips to Europe and New Zealand.
"These cultures are all very passionate about the home, and having a sturdy, balanced home environment," Nowak said.
"Even in New Zealand, the Aboriginal tribes still value these old cultures and rituals to create home and space. Communication is important with these cultures -- that's worldwide, something that stems from the home."
Nowak hopes to bring those values to the homes of Fairfield County residents -- and to help clients create their own rituals and designs within their homes.
"Art is so important, it nourishes the soul," she continued. "That's why we need different forms of art and experiences in our daily lives -- art and experiences you can leave behind."
To learn more about Lion's Paw & Company, visit the shop's website, Facebook page, or call 203-255-05578. Lion's Paw & Company is located at 63-A Unquowa Road at Donnelly Walk. The shop is open by appointment only on Sunday and Monday; 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; and 10 a.m. - 9:30 p.m. on Saturday.