Sam Guelimi makes space.
Ten years ago, the Parisian creator founded a “revue” celebrating literature, film and women—in their rawest form. At that time, the project—a kind of magazine—fed her need for community.
Later, when she got pregnant, she found herself feeling lonely and craving something more concrete: a brick and mortar destination for communing over art and life, without the stress of labels and overwrought opinions. She launched Glowing Café and Glow as destination for rituals—places to connect with a friend or read a good book over delicious food. And, ultimately, she launched Ici Selfcare, a spot for yoga, herbs, meditation, art and sisterhood.
Here, she explains why it’s so important to connect with ones inner life—and with others:
Live The Process: Has having a community of women always been important to you?
Sam Guelimi: From the beginning, and for a long time, women were fascinating for me. My protection talismans were (and still are) feminine heroines of my favorites books and movies.
When I became pregnant, I started to love women for their realness—like sisters. Their (our) tenderness, strength, vulnerability, generosity, softness, imperfections. My best friends were mainly men (except Veronique Bergen, but she is a superwoman!). So, I was, for the first time, craving a female community. I didn’t find it in Paris. (My virtual sister was Latham Thomas of Mama Glow.)
So, I decided to create Ici Selfcare for myself and others.
LTP: How did your background and your revue influence your launch of Ici Selfcare?
SG: I like this question! Thank you. Well, eight years ago, the reason I created Edwarda (French revue and maison d’éditions) is that it was a necessity. I wanted to create a space for writers and readers, a happy few with the same sensibility. Today, Edwarda has a beautiful constellation of loyal readers and contributors.
Ici Selfcare was again a necessity (the reason one creates, I think), but it’s like the space on paper wasn’t enough; like we needed a real space with real walls to feel safe to express ourselves.
First, I thought I would be able to separate those two projects. I couldn’t—it’s my universe! So, at Selfcare, in the library you can find a large selection of my personal books, others I directed, some prints that I owned (Marilyn by Bert Stern) and some Magnum photographs. I even asked to my writers friends (Dominique Ristori, John Jefferson Selve, Veronique Bergen, Mathieu Terence, Yannick Haenel) to choose some books to place in the library. I was pleased that men were here to nourish women.
I play a lot with naming the drinks on my menu: Our bestseller is Renata (cold brew coffee and almond) inspired by the feminine character in my favorite Hemingway book. Renata was a rebirth for him. I like the idea that beauty can be everywhere, in a playful way.
LTP: Why is it important to you to have spaces where art, yoga, meditation, beauty and community are intertwined?
SG: So everything can blend very naturally. Because, for me, each of my projects has the same aim: to nourish our inner life. My food is rituals, books, yoga, herbs, friends.
One paradoxical fact: I am a “lonesome” who loves to bring “lonesomes” together! We organize book signings, exhibitions at Selfcare and Glow!
And, yes, it coexists perfectly with our yoga classes!
LTP: Aside from spending time at your own spaces, do you have rituals, practices or wellness obsessions that keep you personally feeling healthy and balanced?
SG: I practice yoga with my friend Tatiana Bouru Avila, who teaches at Selfcare too. It’s amazing to express our complicity not with words, as I usually do, but with our bodies flowing together, each day more synchronized.
Lattes, of course. Even with my team: I brew lattes for them. Ask Anne Stephanie, Romain, Margaret and Sarah if I am lying!
LTP: What does happiness look like to you?
SG: Not being able to move because my son fell asleep on my belly.
Simplicity. I’m not pretending that I am a simple person, but I am always looking for more simplicity in my relationships: My friends have been my friends since I first arrived in Paris twelve years ago from the South of France. And my marriage is nearly as old as this too.
Maybe what I call “simplicity” in a relationship is actually “intimacy.”
LTP: What does it mean to you to “Live The Process” and how can we all do that more each day?
SG: The process is to look for more truth in my relationships: me as a mother, sister, wife. In my work with my small team: learning to work together.
Would you like to know my favorite Live The Process pieces? I have three Corset Unitards in black and black Radius Leggings too. Nearly every day when I’m working, I wear them—in winter with knee-high boots and a cashmere sweater. This cocktail of simplicity and sophistication is my signature and maybe yours too!