Smooth Stone Studios Brings Up North Aromas to Life in their Lotions, Soaps and Candles

Heather Buchanan missed walking the beaches of Northern Michigan. After living in the lake-laden states of Michigan and Minnesota, the Buchanan family relocated to St. Louis, where Heather’s husband had landed a job. While the rivers and creeks of Missouri proved to be a little less majestic than the stunning vistas of Lake Michigan’s shoreline, the inland waterways were equally adept at inspiring Buchanan’s creative tendencies. When her children began uncovering polished beach glass along the riverbanks, and also on Lake Michigan beaches during summer trips Up North, Buchanan started crafting jewelry for her kids. Her lapidary hobby turned into a cottage business, which has since become Smooth Stone Studios. With the opening of a shop in Glen Arbor and the addition of Marianne Evans—Buchanan’s friend and a fellow jewelry designer from St. Louis—Smooth Stone Studios is running, well… smoothly.

While initially focusing their efforts on handcrafted jewelry, Smooth Stone Studios has since expanded to offer a variety of lotions, soaps and candles, the aromas of which are inspired by Buchanan’s and Evans’ seasonal Northern Michigan lives. Their recipes are developed in-house, and are only ready after a series of test groups featuring experienced Northern Michigan noses. So does their Cool Water Candle really capture the freshness of Lake Michigan? Does the Clean Cotton Lotion really match the wild, sweet aroma of hung laundry in a Leelanau county breeze? Marianne Evans has a tome of stories that indicate they do: “We had a woman come to the shop and smell one of our candles. She said, ‘It’s just like…oh, what is it…when you’re at the edge of the dunes, by the beach. What is it?’ She had our Dunegrass Candle.”

Buchanan and Evans not only demonstrate an aptitude for replicating the Northern Michigan experience, but also for protecting it. Smooth Stone’s candles are made from soy wax—which is more environmentally friendly than other candle waxes—, and Traverse City’s Evergreen Bottle Company provides their glass containers. At Smooth Stone Studios, using local and natural materials ensures that enjoying their Northern Michigan-inspired products translates to a genuine Up North experience.

Smooth Stone Studios is based in Glen Arbor, and is a featured retailer at

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