Meet the Maker: Sea of Roses

Get to know our April Box Candle Partner Maker! Heather is not just sole employee of Sea of Roses, she's also a new mama figuring out this new season of life!
april vellabox candles female maker
April 14, 2023

Heather Smith, Founder and Maker Featured in the April 2023 Vellabox

Sea of Roses is a floral, ceramics, and apothecary studio based in Portland, OR. Their candles are for self-care, gifts, and every day use.

Use code VELLA for 15% off your Sea of Roses order! (until 8/1/23)

How did Sea of Roses get started?

Right before moving to Portland, Oregon in 2013, I owned a salon and also made accessories for TV shows and magazines. When we moved here, I wasn’t passionate about the direction my career was headed, so I really needed to slow down and find something else. I took about a year off and picked up some new hobbies along the way. As I was deep into decorating our new home, I decided to make my own candles. One thing led to another – from creating a candle line, opening a storefront and eventually becoming a florist and candle maker.

I create everything in my small studio space in our home. After trying to start a family with my husband for 13+ years, we recently welcomed our son and lately figuring out my new role as mom and seeking that balance of work and home life has been top priority. When I’m not creating you can find me out adventuring with my husband, our son and little pup!

I’d say that most of my scents are either a nod to the pacific northwest or have a strong influence from the flowers I work with as a florist.

Slate is for woodsy fans. Strike a match and enjoy a unique blend of peppercorn, tobacco, honeycomb, teakwood and sandalwood. A Sea of Roses signature line classic since 2015.

Clay is for the fans of fresh and citrus. Elevate your space with notes of rockrose, bright mandarin, dark musk and ozone. Clay’s a bit moody, almost romantic.

Agave is a match made in heaven for floral and sweet and spice fans. You’re instantly hit with a wave of cactus flower mixed with sea salt, jasmine and honeysuckle. It has this sweet, leafy, fresh vibe going on.

These featured scents are available in the Vellabox candle shop!

What is your favorite candle that you’ve created?

I usually burn seasonally, so in the cozier months it’s definitely wood for me, and on sunnier days it’s always agave! I recently released a limited edition Santal that has been a favorite, so that might make its way to our signature line.

My favorite non-candle product is our incense line! I’m a creature of habit and have been using incense since college days (I see you nag champ and tie-dye lovers!) so bringing incense into our line was a no-brainer.

What values or pillars does your business take pride in?

I’d say our biggest values are honesty and hard work. At the end of the day if something comes up or maybe we just needed to spend the day with our son and I can’t get an order out, I’ll let a customer know that.

“Since I don’t have a team, I have to make sure my mental and physical health are taken care of and if that means checking out for a day or two to rest I will and I think people respect that.”

Heather Smith, Owner of Sea of Roses

If I ever mess up an order or drop the ball on something, I will be the first to admit and fix it. I’ve always pushed transparency within my business and life (while still keeping a few things to myself) and I think people appreciate that type of honesty when it comes to them supporting a business.

What has been the most rewarding part of running your own business?

Our customers are the best! I get to meet so many awesome people who genuinely love supporting my business and that fills my cup so much. It’s the best feeling knowing that what we make goes into someone’s home or a gift they give.

After years of infertility struggles, I recently became a mother and it’s amazing in all ways, but I still want to be able to work since my business was my baby for a long time. I’m finding a new balance with a home studio, processing orders during nap time or letting him sit in my lap while I answer these questions is my new normal – a little challenging, but oh so rewarding!

What has surprised you most about owning a business?

I’ve been self-employed for 21 years now, so nothing surprises me anymore. In the beginning, I’d say I underestimated how many hats I would wear as the sole owner of my business. Besides outsourcing printing labels, I literally do everything from beginning to end. Thank goodness I love it all, but in the beginning I remember trying to figure everything out and slowly realized how much we actually do.

Any fun facts to share?

I love that we are a small business. I find so much pride in the work I do and how much I still do myself in-house. And when I say in-house, it’s literally the studio in my home! I had a really rad studio that I decided to let go of once our IVF worked, and it just felt right to bring everything under one roof.

We converted a room off of the house into my studio and when I say it’s small batch it really is. I find so much pride in packing up an order myself, leaving a handwritten note to the customer, and checking shipping to make sure it arrived. One day I might need to scale and my hope is to figure out a way to still keep it personal and thoughtful!

Any exciting launches coming up that we can look forward to?

We’ve started adding some accessories and are slowly sourcing more home goods that will launch soon. I’m excited to amp up the floral and ceramics aspect of Sea Roses that took a back seat while I was on maternity leave. I can’t wait to have everything back and reflect what my work really is!