From The Salt of the Earth
Photos: Marina Samovsky www.Marinaphoto.com
In a gentle voice, yet one filled with confidence and a compassionate intensity, Isabella Samovsky talks about her company, Solay Wellness. “At first, people don’t understand that salt is much more than a product. Once you use healthy salt, it becomes an experience and a lifestyle. It has a foundation and a backing in detox and cleansing.” To this end, Samovsky recently opened Solay’s salt room, a therapeutic environment she created as a place for guests to relax and absorb the healing ions of the salt crystals.
Located on Main Street, in Skokie, Solay Wellness is a growing retail, Internet and global wholesale company that specializes in natural, organic Himalayan salt-based products. Solay also holds yoga and meditation classes, as well as raw food and healthy living workshops.
“I didn’t set out to work with salt,” Samovsky recalls. “I was working in the healthy lifestyle world of hemp and organic products, when I was introduced to salt lamps by a woman whose family imported them from Mexico. She showed me a flyer with a picture of these glowing rocks and they caught my attention. I was not yet aware of their health benefits, but it was a very beautiful attraction for me.” Samovsky ordered several lamps, began meditating with them and realized she had found something very special that she wanted to share.
Born in Uzbekistan, Samovsky and her family moved to the Chicago area in 1979. As a teen, she was not focused on health or nutrition, but came to a personal awakening to the possibilities of a healthier lifestyle when she learned about the array of natural products that could be made with hemp.
While in college, she dabbled in her own businesses, selling organic hemp-based products imported from Romania, and starting an eco-business directory. She closed both businesses because she felt the timing was not right to support a sustainable business. When introduced to salt lamps, she was working for a South Side company that made organic and hemp yoga mats. Immediately, Samovsky’s entrepreneurial spirit was again ignited. Using a little savings, she ordered more lamps and sold them to friends and family, as well as wholesale and on the Internet. From that small beginning, she created Solay Wellness, which still offers salt lamps, as well as about 125 other salt-based and organic wellness products.
“I’d had two previous tries at a business that didn’t work out,” she says. “But my intention was that I wanted my own business. The resonation with this salt was so strong for me that it allowed Solay to happen.” As Samovsky began researching what she calls “amazing salt,” she learned of its healing properties and historical uses. “Himalayan salt is 250 million years old,” she explains. “When you add it to water, it releases ancient light to aid our bodies.”
In 2004, Samovsky formally opened her company, naming it Solay, which means “fluid light energy” and “sun.” She carried lamps, salt crystals and a small line of products made from salt. Soon, she says, customers began to tell her about health and beauty products they were making with her salt. “I realized there was a market for carefully made products,” she says. “It was part of my own evolution of discovering what personal health products I really needed. I would build my own wish list, and then somehow–almost magically–someone would come to me and tell me they were making the natural health item I needed and using my salts in the product. It was very synchronistic.”
Samovsky built a network of crafters that is still growing, working with them in an intuitive process to design new salt-based products. Today, her family of independent craftspeople come from the Chicago area and throughout the U.S. to create unique products that incorporate the healing properties of salt. Some of the items include lamps and candle holders; cleaning, skin, hair care, bath and oral care products; therapeutic items; cooking salts; and gourmet seasonings.
In addition, she works with family-owned businesses in other countries (such as Greece and Chile) to source fairly made gourmet products. “All of my crafters have a passion and joy in making their products,” she says. “These people are all very energetically tuned; everyone is working on this really interesting vibration that gets incorporated into their work. That’s what makes these products so amazing.” Other offerings include handcrafted Chilean cooking vessels, teas, hemp items and dog-care products.
Samovsky describes her purpose. “Everything we create has a really strong intention and is based on the needs of people,” she says. “We have no marketing hype. Our intention is to create the best possible products that work on all levels. We want to be a really great, reliable and trustworthy company.
“This business is a reflection of my own soul expressing itself,” Samovsky adds. “My personal journey has taken me seven years to really understand at a deeper level. As I discover new products, energy workers, principles of healing and spiritual discoveries, I want to share them with our customer family and the community though information, classes, workshops and products. Solay is my way of sharing my journey with everyone who meets us or comes in contact with us.”
Solay Wellness is located at 4819 W. Main St, in Skokie. For more information, workshop schedules or to learn about carrying Solay products at your location, call 847-676-5571 or visit SolayWellness.com. See ad on our homepage.