2014: Plants & a purpose.
Did you know Sea Witch Botanicals started as a terrarium company? Before beard tonics or lip balms, founders Alesia and Jhustin handcrafted and sold small "living glass houses" on Etsy, until the idea of a soap company that would prioritize the health of our waterways and bodies alike was born!
- Alesia and Jhustin move from Bellingham, WA, to Portland, OR, and set up production in a spare bedroom.
- Paperwork is filed to form an LLC.
- The Sea Witch Botanicals brand is launched with three key products: soaps, lip balms, and "Siren's Folly" beard tonic. Our signature "Mint to Be" lip balm is created as a favor for the founders' wedding.
2015: SWB by the sea.
Astoria, a tiny seaside town at the tip of the Oregon coast, is where Sea Witch Botanicals first begins to grow.
- The founders move to a new home, and production graduates from spare bedroom to basement.
- Our first stockist, Flourine & Co., signs on in Astoria. Most of the rest of the business is still conducted via Etsy.
- Product line grows to include lotions, salves, tinted lip balms, and the Trade Winds Collection—an early iteration of today's facial collection.
- A successfully funded Kickstarter lets us afford the switch to entirely ethical, fair-trade ingredients.
2016: Coming home to Bellingham.
Alesia and Jhustin return to build their forever home in Alesia's hometown of Bellingham, WA.
- Production moves to a 50sqft. space at the now-defunct Bureau of Historical Investigation.
- New scents—today considered Sea Witch classics—are launched, some with different names. (Can you guess which ones began as "Absinthe," "Purple Haze," and "The Owls Are Not What They Seem"?)
- Whole Foods Market opens in Bellingham and stocks Canary Clean and Produce Wash.
- Essential oil incense, which will become our most popular product line, is added for the first time.
2017: Farmers markets and craft fairs.
We sign our first lease, production moves to a small space on Franklin Street, and we begin attending as many events and trade fairs as we can manage.
- We join the Bellingham Farmers Market with a booth every weekend, rain or shine.
- We attend the Seattle Craft Fair, expanding our wholesale business.
- Family members provide ever more support with day-to-day operations.
- Before we can afford monetary donations, we offer to trade products for blankets at the farmers market, then hand the blankets out to those in need.
2018: Getting serious about sustainability.
Our first official hire and a major sustainability certification become key turning points in our journey as a small business.
- Julie, our first hire, joins the team as Sustainability Steward. With her help, we begin pursuing important sustainability goals.
- Our products are certified vegan by Vegan.org.
- Our business earns B Corp status, a complex certification measuring a company's entire social and environmental impact. B Corporations are considered leaders in the movement for an equitable, regenerative economy.
- Alesia and Jhustin welcome their first child, Ripley.
- The business makes its first official monetary donations, totaling $642 to environmental causes.
2019: Thinking bigger.
We begin to more intentionally consider how to grow the business and its long-term impact on people and planet.
- We become members of 1% for the Planet, and increase our donations to environmental causes fourfold.
- Medical insurance is added for employees.
- We create our thousandth batch of Canary Clean: Every bar is still hand-cut, hand-packaged, and hand-labeled.
- Ripley comes to work every day with mom, dad, and grandma, trying out labeling and packaging with old products.
- We launch what will become our most popular seasonal scent ever: The Krampus Collection!
2020: Unexpected change.
As for every other business in the world, COVID brings an array of unexpected hurdles. But unlike for some, demand for our products is suddenly surging.
- While the wholesale market slows, our retail business grows by more than 2.5x.
- We add new employees to the team to cope with the new demand.
- Again, we grow our donations to environmental causes more than fourfold.
- After six years dedicated entirely to nurturing the company, founder and master crafter Alesia finally takes her first paycheck.
2021: Scaling up.
We move to yet another larger office space, and continue to grow at breakneck speed.
- Retail sales more than double again as word of Sea Witch products spreads in eco-conscious circles and beyond.
- We order new custom packaging from local printers, making good on new sustainability goals and allowing for expansion of our wholesale market.
- Our team grows more rapidly, adding several more new members.
- We introduce a new collection of products with specific donation goals, including Hummingbird and Timberwolf incenses ($1 per box to Conservation Northwest) and Vasheen ($1 per bar to Mt. Baker Planned Parenthood).
2022: Embracing the seasons.
Master crafter Alesia begins developing several new seasonal scents, many of which will land among our all-time most popular products.
2023: Three moves in a year.
With a landlord's decision to sell our longest-leased building, we begin a year whose only constant is transition—moving not just once, but three times by year's end.
- We hold an eviction sale, resulting in an all-time record for single-day sales.
- We sign a new lease—and a few months later, black mold is discovered in the walls. We cease production, move employees out, relocate our lab to the founders' garage, and begin a lengthy, expensive, and frustrating negotiation to get out of our five-year lease term.
- As fall approaches, we finally sign a lease on our first true warehouse space, and repeat the moving process for a third time.
- We complete the Wheel of the Year incense set, and it becomes our top-selling product.
- Our donations to environmental causes surpass $25,000 in a year for the first time.
2024 & beyond...
"I never set out to be a soap crafter, I set out to be an environmentalist." —Alesia Hall, CEO & Master Crafter
- Our business has always been about the environment, and Alesia has set the goal of planting 10,000 trees this year for our 10th anniversary. You can shop our products to help us do so.
- Beyond this, we continue striving to improve our environmental impact; support the causes we believe in; keep harmful toxins out of our waterways and bodies; and move closer to true zero-waste practices with every product we create.
- We quite simply wouldn't be able to do all of this without the incredible customers and community we've grown with and been supported by over the last 10 years.
"From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for everything—we wouldn't be able to do what we do without you."
Alesia, Jhustin, & the Sea Witch Botanicals Team