Lina Dickinson and Melanie Bolin of Mer-Sea
Gifts - Lifestyle - State of Mind
The founders of Mer-Sea have created one of the most beautiful lines of bath, body and travel products that we have ever come across. Inspired by the call of the sea, their collections invoke a truly peaceful, soulful feeling and we absolutely love what they do!
We were lucky enough to talk to the founders, Lina Dickinson and Melanie Bolin about how they create this wistful feeling, this sense of dreaminess and soulfulness — and infuse it into everything Mer-Sea.
Q: Your scents and products can totally transport us to a different place, a whole new mood, a far-flung feeling. How and where do you find your inspiration for each line of your beautiful bath, body and home products? And do you have a favorite?
A: Inspiration comes from so many places, but the seedling usually comes from a siting of something beautiful, like a piece of art, a gorgeous tiled floor, or a cool vessel. Then the fun begins.
As for favorite scents… for Lina, it’s Boheme in their Bain de Mer line, Carena in the Riviera line, and Sea Pines in the Home line. And for Mel, it’s Carena in the Riviera line, from their Home line, it’s Sun Kissed, and for Bain de Mer, it’s Boheme.
Q: Scents have such a profound and positive effect on mood. We wonder often, what makes that feeling? When you create new scents and develop new products, do you find that people respond in personal ways or do certain elements elicit a more universal reaction?
A: Scent reaction is very personal and often elicits hilarious reactions in people. We start scent selection by taking an office poll. And we often will see reactions that range from utter delight to absolute disgust. All over the same scent! When we land on that smell that everyone (well, mostly everyone) likes, then we know we have something special.
Q: Those travel wraps! Coziness and a relaxed elegance all wrapped up in one. The great Oprah herself has even put her stamp of approval on these! Tell us, what is your favorite way to wear the wrap?
A: Oh, EVERY WAY! That's what is so great about our wraps, I can wear them at the office, on the airplane, going out at night, over my yoga clothes. They look beautiful with swimwear too. And then just pop it in the washer and dryer!
Q: We know that it’s what is inside that matters most. To not just judge a book by its cover. But, oh boy, is it impossible for us to ignore the amazing packaging and attention to detail that you all put into each and every product. Beautiful and so simple. Every last detail has been attended to and adds to the allure and special-ness of every Mer-Sea product. Is this part of your design and development philosophy?
A: We love packaging that is tactile and adds interest and depth, and we love exploring new uses for things. For example, why not wrap our holiday candles in a cable knit sweater? We also appreciate packaging that can be re-purposed. So, please use our candle bags and wood boxes as treasure holders and jewelry totes!
Q:. “For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), it’s always our self we find in the sea.” e.e. cummings
You include beautiful quotations that evoke the sea and travel and wanderlust in each of your products. This one is one of our favorites. What is yours?
A: Aww, my favorite quote is for our Voyager scent by E.B. White. "Always be on the lookout for the presence of Wonder." It is such a good motto to live by.
Q: You started Mer-Sea only four years ago, and, now, look at you. Your products can be found in Anthropologie, in O Magazine in countless stores all across the country. Is there one thing that you believe has helped propel your business’s growth over these short (or long?!) few years?
A: I think our success can be attributed to being willing to say "yes" and pushing ourselves as well as doing what it takes to do a good job. Sometimes that means long hours and sacrifices. It may look effortless, but beneath it all is pure dedication, focus, time and love.
Q: We love talking with women who have created and successfully run their own businesses. As business partners, how do you feel your strengths (and maybe even weaknesses) complement the other? Do you have an individual or shared business mantra that helps chart the course for Mer-Sea?
A: Oh, goodness, we were lucky! You never know how things will pan out in a business relationship, and for us, it has been a great melding of abilities. I think ultimately, it boils down to respect, work ethic, and flexibility. We respect each other, have similar work ethics, and are both flexible enough to move nimbly through ever changing small business challenges. There is never a dull moment!
Some of life’s greatest — whether they be moments, possessions, philosophies, memories — are the simplest. This is how Mer-Sea feels to us, from the packaging to the products inside. Simple and pure and complete. Perfection distilled. We are in love with Mer-Sea!