“Treat Yo’Self” to Pittsburgh businesses helping the community

Emma Polen | layout editor. Sisters Shaquala and Chastity Williams own iOra, a community business that sells handmade soaps.

Emma Polen | layout editor

Oct. 14, 2021

Treat Yo’Self is a holiday celebrating American consumerist society in the best way possible. 

The phrase was coined in NBC’s Parks and Recreation, Season 4, Episode 4, “Pawnee Rangers.” Treat Yo’self lives on as a day honoring every individual’s need to be pampered. 

The official date of Treat Yo’self was Oct. 13, but who’s to tell students they don’t deserve a satisfying splurge after midterms week?

This past Sunday, Oct. 10, was the final Neighborhood Flea of the season. The Neighborhood Flea was located at the intersection of 26th Street and Railroad Street of Pittsburgh’s South Side, and featured a large assortment of local crafters, bakers, vintage shops and food vendors. 

The Flea will pick up again next May; meanwhile, Pittsburgh crafters will be busy making and selling their specialty products at storefronts, craft fairs and online. 

Shaquala and Chasity Williams own iOra, a handmade bath, body and skin care shop. As shop owners, the sisters’ goal is to “build a community base,” which includes getting their name out while also directing a percentage of their profit to local food banks. 

All iOra products are designed to “capture your energy in raw form,” said Shaquala Williams. iOra’s catchphrase is to “illuminate you inner beginning.” Treat yourself to some natural handmade soaps that currently are themed for Halloween!

You can visit the Williams sisters at their storefront at the Steel City Craft Emporium (3121 Penn Ave.) or online at Etsy.com/shop/2iora. 

Shannon Albee’s Liffey Pop Designs offers another unique product for college students looking for some self-care spending. Albee’s hand-painted pet portraits provide a way for students to have a piece of their pet with them while on-campus. 

Liffey Pop is Albee’s cat, and was also the inspiration for her first watercolor when she moved to Pittsburgh three years ago. Since then, Albee said she has fallen in love with the neighborhood. 

“I just got a good vibe,” Albee said about settling into Shadyside. 

Liffey Pop Designs is a featured product at the Black Cat Market (5135 Penn Ave.), Pittsburgh’s own cat cafe. All the cats at the Black Cat Market are up for adoption, and blackcatmarketpgh.com boasts that they have found homes for over 300 felines since opening. 

Albee said, “I know that college students miss their pets on campus.”

She shared that Black Cat Market offers a way to release some of the stress and anxiety that comes with living away from home. 

Buy your own custom pet pieces on Albee’s website, Etsy.com/shop/liffeypopdesigns, and follow the artist on social media (@LiffeyPopDesigns). 

Kiley M. Shuman and Chloe Chiovittie are friends who advertise their specialized talents together at craft fairs. Both businesses are donation-oriented with almost 25% of their profits going toward local charities.

Chiovitti, a licensed cosmetologist, is the owner of Pure Rose Organics. Her products consist of handmade organic body care and cosmetics. She said all her art is made from “vegan organic bases.”

Shuman creates hemp jewelry, keychains, coasters and other special custom orders for her business, Klutch Resin. 

2021 was the first year the women traveled to craft fairs to sell their wares. Shuman’s and Chiovitti’s complete stores can be found online at their Etsy shops: @Klutchresin and @Pureroseorganics respectively. 

Gluten Free Goat Bakery is a relatively new business, only five months old, that represents a population of the city that often feels left out of the bakery experience. 

According to Selina Prograr, Goat’s head baker, the goal of the bakery is to “infiltrate little areas around the city.” By doing this, Prograr hopes to get other businesses around the city involved in gluten-free baking. 

Right now, Goat has no storefront of their own, but they are involved in many pop-ups and events around the city. Their motivation for traveling so often and so far is, as Prograr puts it, to create  “an environment where people can get the ingredients that they have not always been able to get.”

You can follow Goat’s progress around Pittsburgh by following them on instagram (@glutenfreegoat) or under the “Pop-Ups and Events” tab on their website (glutenfreegoat.com).