Bella Mia

American Made Since 2008

Sheila Struckmeyer

Fort Bragg, California
Bella Mia is a collection of artisan bath and body products, handcrafted in small batches to maintain ingredient integrity.
Style, Beauty

Tell us about your business.

Bella Mia offers a unique collection of handcrafted bath and body luxuries. I fell in love with the endless possibilities of blending traditional and natural ingredients to create an array of aromas while traveling through Europe on my honeymoon. I had a passion for African Shea Butter and the amazing properties it possessed to heal dry skin. Deciding to channel all of my energy into these ideas I created my small business soon after. Selling my creations from my home, and at any craft fair or festival I could find, I constantly refined my recipes and began learning how to craft eau de toilettes. In 2012 I opened a small boutique on Laurel Street in the historic district of my hometown. I'm blessed to have watched my business grow over time and to have had such fun and loyal and inspiring customers; many of whom have gladly let me test products on their skin. I see myself continuing to grow and create far into the future.

Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.

It all started with a large stainless steel mixing bowl. a few rubber spatulas, several Pyrex measuring cups, a tea kettle, and a six foot length of kitchen counter...

What inspires you?

I've always followed my nose. The scent of a flower or a leaf can cause me to pause and imagine. My mother is a horticulturist and I'm more than a bit of a plantaholic because of her. I spent a huge portion of my childhood in my father's wood shop when we weren't in the garden, and love the different scents you find when planing and sanding boards. I could smell a piece of redwood with my eyes blindfolded and name it. Somehow these passions have grown together when it comes to fragrance.

What makes your business stand out?

The unique thing about my business is that everything is handcrafted with my two hands. I select the jar or bottle shape that I use, I sterilize the bottle, I create the recipe for the contents of the bottle, I fill the bottle, I seal the bottle, and I put the label on the bottle. Then I take the bottle to my shop, I put a price tag on the bottle, I sell the bottle to you, put the bottle into a bag and watched it leave, knowing how much happiness it brings to your skin and your senses when the bottle is opened.

What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?

Make a habit of doing everything that you do to the best of your ability. Work hard; and then work even harder. And someday when someone can do something better than you can- learn to delegate responsibility.

What does American Made mean to you?

American Made is more than just made in America to me- it's also about being handcrafted on a smaller scale.

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