Maker Spotlight: Seagrape Apothecary
Maria Vashakidze, the founder of Seagrape Apothecary, has been creating bath and body products since 2009 and opened her brick-and-mortar store in the heart of Portland in 2015. She shares the story behind her biz which is overflowing with passion for her products and her customers.
the story behind seagrape apothecary
"When I was in college studying painting, I was also working in a sex shop part-time. You might ask what those things have in common, and I’ll tell you: PLEASURE.
I've always been guided by pleasure, desire, and the curious thing that is intimacy (with ourselves and each other). My painting revolved around sexuality, desire, consent, and the way humans find connection and companionship.
As a sex educator, the conversations I was having with folks revolved around these same topics. Someone would come in craving more intimacy with their partner, and after a few moments of chatting, the conversation would pivot to their own fears and desires around sex.
This is how Seagrape was born: a beacon of pleasure magic aimed at cultivating space for sensuality, self-care and realizing our desires. "
my first product
"Seagrape soap was started on the floor of a studio apartment- the science, the scents- soap has been a Seagrape mainstay since the creation."
my best sellers
"Our handcrafted, magical soaps have been making Seagrape customers' hearts sing from the very beginning, and they've remained our bestseller ever since the first bars I made in 2009!
Our two top sellers are Indulge and Spa Day — Indulge soap is a heady mixture of evening primrose, red clay, and goat's milk, while Spa Day delights with eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, and lemongrass."
"Over the years, I've developed recipes, changed my mind, discontinued products whose ingredients became scarce, hired employees for the first time, stretched outside of my comfort zone, learned and re-learned what my values were, formed deep connections with community, and so much more — but watching each babe in this community create a life they're in love with is one of my greatest pleasures and achievements!"
what’s next for my biz
"We’ve got our eyes on expansion, and reaching as many babes as possible! There’s so much pleasure and care to be had in the world, and we’re stoked to share it."
my top biz tools
"Small business life at Seagrape is half duct tape, half magic, with a heaping dose of boundaries and pleasure-stoking on top.
Our favorite way to engage with customers is through Instagram, but our newsletter is where it’s at for keeping up with all of the happenings at Seagrape. "
"When you're living in integrity with your values, all the juicy magic will follow. Invest in community and connection — this is where reciprocity resides. Pleasure and rest are survival strategies!"
advice for new entrepreneurs
"Know your values, trust your gut, and don’t be afraid to make a move! That first step is half the battle."
"We're obsessed with the Makesy candle kits, especially Calm and Collected — but the Relax and Unwind soap kit gets an honorable mention!"
while making, I….
- listen to lofi music or Gilmore Girls
- put on soft clothing and an apron
- and then (lean into the magic, the scent, and let the products do the talking