Melissa Smith planted a seed and watched it bloom, taking an idea and nurturing it into a full time business and brick and mortar business called 1820 House, based in East Palestine, Ohio. We are excited to share her work with you at the first Neighborhood Flea and sat down with her to learn how she got her start.
We enjoyed a little Q & A with Melissa to learn more.
We have had the opportunity to enjoy your products after meeting you through local events in Pittsburgh and were excited when you opened a storefront in East Palestine, Ohio. How did you get a start in candle-making?
I started candle making as a side line item to an online antique business I had. Living on a farm and being environment conscious ...I wanted to do something that supported both those ideals so using a soybean based veggie wax was a great solution. It supported farms and was a renewable sustainable resource. Having younger kids at the time...it also allowed for me to do from my home.
As a brick-and-mortar storefront owner, you play a vital role as a neighbor in a small town's main street initiative. How has the experience of owning your own space impacted you and your family?
Moving out of the kitchen at the original 1820 to a brick an mortar has been a great experience.
While it has increased demands on my time and stress level ...it has allowed for me to grow at a pace that I can keep up with. The whole family has been supportive and involved to one degree or another from assisting with manufacturing, shop hours, shows and moral support. Owning a business and being a maker is gratifying. I get to be creative, meet amazing people, keep a somewhat flexible schedule to my families needs and grow a vital income producing brand of my own! It's been awesome!
Tell us about the Rust Belt Collection and how identifying as a part of the rust belt movement influences your product development and business philosophy?
The Rust Belt Collective is close to my heart! It was inspired by all the ups and downs industry in our area has seen. Being a state line born and raised family, trades like the potteries, steel and such were a huge vital role to the families here. It has hurt the small towns and cities alike when our factories closed and lay in decay for years. I have seen a resurgence in pride for creating things with industrious hands and creative minds. Rising from the ashes and decay is a new breed of worker and artisan and this area is seeing growth again. You see it all over. Pittsburgh, Youngstown, Cleveland. They are all making come backs!! We are tough cookies here!
We are always delighted by and waiting with outstretched arms for your new products. What new items are you bringing to market this year?
New products we are bringing to market will feature our Rust Belt Collective line that have scents representing 10 hard working states. 412 included! We also have a handsome little travel size candle that is perfect to try us out or for small rooms and trips.
Thank you to Melissa for sharing her story. Make sure to stop by and say hello in person on Sunday, July 27th from 11 am - 4 pm. We'll pop up in the parking lot at the corner of 23rd and Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh's Strip District.