I love interviewing people who found businesses because there’s always a moment — one of those rare times — when inspiration aligns with circumstance. Of course, there’s more to it than that, but the story behind the Claritas Collection starts with a flash of inspiration.
The idea is not a new one. It can be summed up by the message that greets you at the Claritas site: “Now will not be with us forever / Take a moment to slow it down.” Claritas packages experiences in the form of guided rituals that lead you through that difficult process of slowing down, reflecting.
The items for sale on the Claritas site sound more like things that would fill out a New Year’s Resolution list than a shopping list. They read: “Letting Go,” “Cultivating Gratitude,” “Igniting Creativity.” Depending on which of those goals you want to focus on, Claritas will send you a box filled with cards emblazoned with prompts and actions to help you slow down and dig deep, along with candles, sage, scarves, pendants and other thoughtful touches to make the experience beautiful and complete. All you need is yourself and a place to sit.Claritas’ founder, Alanna Ford, spoke with me about the night the idea came to her. She had been at a gathering of friends one New Year’s day. They were sitting in the soft glow of candles, wine in hand, sharing their thoughts on the past year and the year ahead. In the frantic day-to-day, the opportunity to sit and reflect felt, as Alanna says, “soul-quenching.” The moment itself — the conversations, the connections, the resolutions — became the basis and inspiration for Claritas. What if that feeling could be boxed and shared? The business was born.
I asked about the name, Claritas. Alanna said she had been thinking about the light of that night and was considering something like, “luminara.” But when she asked a collaborator, she said that something so crucial to this idea was “the spirit of communitas, which is so important right now when so many people live in urban areas, surrounded by others, but still feel alone.” So she thought about communitas, and clarity, and there came Claritas.
While the core of the Claritas boxes is what happens within yourself, I found the physicality of the objects and the motions strengthened my reflection, focused my attention, and gave form to my thoughts. I asked Alanna why she thought that was. She said that “humans have been crafting rituals for as long as we’ve been human. When we get married we cross over a threshold, or say vows, or break a glass — there are all of these things that we do over and over. Why? It’s cathartic to do something physical. It gives a physical representation to a moment and a thought. That’s why journaling is so important to me. My thoughts aren’t stuck in my head, they’re out on the page and they can become real.”
Alanna is a student of ritual. She studies traditions from all over the world, and that exploration has gone into the careful crafting of Claritas. I asked her what she’s learned so far as a founder and as a student of slowing down. She said, “It all comes down to noticing. Noticing is everything! I’ve also learned how to balance being rooted in myself and self assured, but also open and constantly learning. I’m working on being gentle with myself while still moving forward.”
From where we stand, it looks like she’s doing pretty well with that. Claritas is gaining a loyal following, growing its offerings, and keeping true to its message. Visit the site to learn more about the Claritas Collection, and try a kit yourself. Send one to a friend, bring one to a gathering. Sit and bask in the now.