Pattee Brown has undergone a series of transitions in her life. She recently made another, opening Alchemy No. 119, an East Patrick Street shop that celebrated its ribbon cutting on Friday. Brown talked with the News-Post recently about the new venture.
Tell me a little bit about how you got started and what the business does.
I’ve owned a couple of businesses in Frederick over the years. I owned 270inc Magazine with my partner Harby, and then Frederick Gorilla magazine, also with Harby Tran. Then when we stepped away from that, I opened up Juice Plate downtown. Then when I gave Juice Plate over to the nonprofit that I had started it for, I took a couple of years to kind of decide, what’s next? I’m kind of a serial entrepreneur that way, I’m always looking for ways to express myself through my business. And it was kind of an inspired experience. I’ve done coaching and mediation for years, but I’ve always kind of done it on the side. My background is more marketing and advertising and public relations. So I decided that I wanted to make a go of creating a space in downtown Frederick where I could express that side of me. And alchemy is really, you take two things and kind of put them together and you create something else from it. And my approach to my mediation and my coaching is to kind of look at emotional intelligence and mysticism and kind of squish them together to help people transform their lives, to help people get unstuck, kind of, while you’re on your journey, read your guideposts, things like that. And so I decided that I was going to create a store that had all the tools and products and unique gift ideas that promoted positive affirmation, that promoted transformation, that promoted emotional intelligence that helped expose people to these ideas, and how to self care, and how to be present and live intentionally, and mindfulness. So all of these kind of healing practicalities combined with really looking at yourself and your life from an emotional intelligence perspective. So everything in my store is kind of inspired by that. And then of course I do coaching and mediation in my office here, as well.
What interested you in mysticism and that aspect of the human experience?
I think the human condition has always been my passion. But I think that, depending on who you are, some people understand what it feels like when you feel like you have a purpose, when you feel like you have a calling. And some people would say that’s hokey-pokey, and that’s cool. But for me, I really felt that come to me. I’m supposed to be doing this, this is what makes me feel like I’m doing something good in the world. And I’m sharing my story. My personal story is one of transformation so many times. I have created my life over and over again, recreated myself over and over again. My most recent transformation is a physical one, which I don’t necessarily think is the most significant one, but it’s definitely the most visual one. My most recent transformation, I used to be 400 lbs. And everybody who’s ever known me in Frederick has always said that I’m beautiful, and I’m wonderful, and that’s very flattering. But they still knew me as a very large woman. And now I’m like 140 lbs., and my physical body is completely different, and I make a completely different presentation. And people kept saying to me, how did you do it? And I said, you know what’s really interesting, I asked myself how can I do this all those years. And it was only when I asked myself the right question that I was able to do it. And the right question is: if I know how to do it – eat less, move more, stay away from sugar, and everybody knows that’s the answer, right – the question is, why wasn’t I doing it? And that opened up an entire world to me, of understanding me, understanding my emotions, understanding the voices in my head, understanding what the weight did for me. And it was like a seven year journey for me. While I was doing Gorilla, while I was doing Juice Plate, I was really on that journey. And so when I got to the point where I understood what the weight was, I understood why I did what I did, I understood my vices and what they did for me, and the reason I thought I needed to protect myself, it removed the need for the weight and the weight came off. And I ate less, I moved more, and I stayed away from sugar. But I always knew how to do that. But that is how I did it. It was really why I didn’t do it all along, and that was really the journey.
When people come into the shop, what types of items will you have?
What I got to do with this particular project is, I got to do just a reflection of the things that I think make us feel good, make us mindful, wake us up to new things, and things that if it’s not new to us, it’s still stuff that we want. So you have so many things here that, if you look at them one with the other, you’re like, why are these things in the same room? But if you look at all of them together, it’s like, oh yeah, it all makes sense. This is all about positive affirmation, it’s all about the energy that comes to us, with us, around us. I have crystals, and talismans, and tarot cards and runes. But then I also have books on personal growth and transformation and meditation. I have these wonderful cards and games all focused on emotional intelligence, helping you raise your level of emotional intelligence, helping you, instead of turning on the TV when you’re with a friend, grab this deck of cards and start asking each other these questions. Become self-reflective, become self-aware. I have journals and pens, because introspection requires note taking. It’s the study of ourselves. You have to put the work in. You study in school, and you study to raise your I.Q. We need to study to raise our E.Q.
Then there’s candles and purses and soaps, because all of those things give us a reason to take a moment and just be. And that’s what mindfulness is, it’s taking a moment and just being in those moments. Really, there’s something for everybody to relate to. My premise is that, if you’re somebody who thinks the oogedy-boogedy side is ridiculous, that’s cool. There’s stuff here that I’ll talk to you about that’s much more regarding your emotional intelligence, and that’s all about psychology and science and all that stuff. And if you’re somebody who’s pooh-poohing your emotional intelligence but you’re all about the rocks and the witchcraft, that’s great, come on in. But you’ll be exposed to both, and you’ll start to see how they actually are, when put together, a whole new thing.
I have this gorgeous back yard and it goes on forever. So this is also a place for gathering. My intention is to have speaker series and to have practitioners come in and practice what they do right here in the back yard, to have people come visit with them, to be in this beautiful downtown space in this beautiful energy with this 200-year-old building. That entire space is dedicated to that, to creating an opening that the community to more than just people who are already students of it, but to open it to people who are curious about it, to see how it can, if at all, be of interest to them.