Wear Your Spirit for Humanity: Clothing with a Message
A new shop in Haddonfield offers inspirational clothing for the masses from Lu Hanessian, a free-thinking media jack-of-all-trades.
Lu Hanessian likes the concept of wearing your heart on your sleeve, but she'd like it better if the emotion is embroidered on a T-shirt from her East Kings Highway shop.
Open only since early November, Haneissan's 600-square-foot store, Wear Your Spirit for Humanity, neatly displays garments that carry a message. Some make you laugh. All make you think.
Decorated simply with several antique trunks and tables, banners hand-painted and lettered by her husband, and solid wood stools that look like molars, Hanessian's shop encourages visitors to sit and rest a bit.
Most of them talk about the what the one-word banners bring to their minds: "Empathy," "Inspiration," "Empowerment," "Freedom," "Respect" are just some of the invocations.
“People come in and read them out loud. They nod their heads and begin to talk,” said Haneissan.
“Words are powerful,” she said, and she means her clothing line not to “reflect something cute, but something meaningful.”
While you're chatting, you're drawn to handle the soft cotton shirts. From onesies for newborns to XXL, the shirts range in color from white and the palest pink to deep purple and brown.
If the shirt you want doesn't carry the message you want to project, you can just order it and it will be ready for pickup within a week. Prices range from $21 for child's to $26 for adult sizes.
Hanessian's market is infants to octogenarians, and her messages range the gamut as well.
“Put yourself in my booties,” suggests one infant shirt. “Maybe I just need a hug,” says another. “Once Upon a Time You Were Me” encourages adults to enjoy special and everyday moments in children's lives; so does “This Two Shall Pass.”
Some messages are appropriate for children and adults. "Don't Squash My Spirit," "Hard at Play, or Fearless."
Hanessian began e-tailing her clothing line for children and adults before opening the shop, and still sells through the Internet.
“I'd display the shirts at conferences and found I was getting orders from Guam to Australia," she said. "That's the power of social media.”
A resident of Cherry Hill since 2004, Hanessian and her husband discovered the shop during a sidewalk stroll. She was born in Michigan, raised in Montreal, and graduated from McGill University, where she studied psychology and music; she holds a teaching certificat in the latter.
Hanessian has hosted radio shows and was an anchor on NBC and Discovery Channel. She's also a columnist for the Courier-Post, has written books on “learning to trust my gut,” and a children's book, Picnic in a Cloud, that is the focus of occasional post-dinner pajama parties at the shop. That book is now in its fifth printing.
“People don't call this a store. It's a place, a studio,” she said.
In January, calendars will be posted in the window with schedules of parent education sessions.
Stock at the shop goes beyond t-shirts and sweatshirts. There are several sizes of messenger and computer bags, bracelets designed by Kelly Rae Roberts that are tempting for girls from pre-teen to college ages.
WYSH is located at 111 Kings Highway East. The shop is open Monday though Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (856) 857-4356.