Karen Richards is a daily fixture for countless Austin commuters. Delicately seated inside a giant amethyst geode, Richards has smiled radiantly
from a highly visible I-35 billboard for Nature’s Treasures since she opened her metaphysical rock shop in 2000. “Everyone feels like they know me
because they see me for two seconds every day. My energy really becomes a part of people’s lives,” she says.
In person, Richards’ energy is certainly contagious, and she wholeheartedly believes in the power of the rare gems and minerals Nature’s Treasures
is known for, saying, “Things are put in front of us every day to learn from and absorb, but if we’re not ready, we miss it.” At age 65, she speaks from
a lifetime of experience, guided intuitively by what she calls “the spirit” throughout decades of cross-country adventures, passionate romances and
nearly a dozen of her own businesses, which included a color copy and computer graphics company. In another life, she posed for Playboy and
jet-setted with Hollywood A-listers.
Richards was running a commercial real estate firm in her native California in the 1980s when she first started studying metaphysics and restorative
crystals—an interest she shared with her late mother. She began collecting and selling gemstones over the next 15 years as she launched more
startups, including the still-active Texas Office Product Supplies, all while maintaining a daily practice of spoken affirmations to manifest what she
saw as her true purpose: to create the largest metaphysical rock shop in the world.
“The spirit always kept me connected to my calling, even before I knew what ‘it’ was,” she says. Now, she thinks of her 14,000-square-foot storefront
as a humbling benefit of educating others about crystals and spiritual healing via Nature’s Treasures’ various onsite lectures and workshops. “Seeing
people connect with crystals for the first time is life-changing,” she says. “If we open ourselves up and go with the flow, the universe has wonderful
things for us.”