Mikala Hammonds ’88 is a preacher’s kid from Lubbock, Texas. For the owner of tony home-design shop/spa Thelo, that’s perhaps an unexpected pedigree. The store, situated on the main drag in Northampton, Mass., is quintessential college-town New England, all brick walls, tin ceilings, and hardwood shade trees. It feels a world away from the creosote flats of northwest Texas tablelands.
From her cozy, well-appointed store, she sells high-end home décor pieces that few other outlets carry, says Hammonds, whose background in graphic design helps her, she says, “take risks with spaces and product.”
Opening a brick-and-mortar retail establishment involved taking on financial risks. So Hammonds hedged, adding a wellness center in the chic, exposed-brick basement of the shop and giving the space a second income stream. Without a doubt, Hammonds’ parents’ zeal for missionary work is alive and well in her, she acknowledges. Hammonds evangelizes about the health benefits of her infrared saunas. “There is nothing like it,” she says.
She preaches the gospel of gua sha facials and her European OligoScan for measuring mineral deficiencies and heavy metals in the body. Hammonds also offers styling and interior design services and health and nutrition coaching. With each client, she examines career, spirituality, relationships, and physical activity to determine what needs attention, and where balance can be restored.
The focus on health contrasts a bit with her Williston days, when this “moody, closet writer, in full rebellion” was “never without a Marlboro cigarette.” However, she forged relationships then that remain vital to this day. Attending a recent Reunion provoked this epiphany: “It’s amazing how long it takes to realize what life is about, how profound connection is.”