Candle Power

February 2024 View more

Sea Love Candle Bar & Boutique ignites creativity

Inside Sea Love Candle Bar & Boutique

These aren’t your grandma’s pungent and paraffin-based candles. For starters, there’s Sangria, Basil, Sugar Cookie, Lemongrass, Passionfruit, and Dark Chocolate. But you’ll also find the subtle notes of First Snow, Old Books, Denim, Autumn Leaves, Suntan Lotion, Man Cave, Mint Mojito—and even Earth—on the scent wall at Sea Love Candle Bar & Boutique (120 Water St., Naperville).

Shefali Patel
Shefali Patel

With more than 100 different scented oils to mix and match, you can let your nose do the exploring. Once you’ve selected up to three, pick a vessel and pour a custom candle or put together a reed diffuser. “It’s an experienced-based activity that you can take home and use completely,” says owner Shefali Patel. “This is a creative process with endless possibilities for experimenting.”

Sessions at the candle bar take about 30 to 45 minutes, with staffers on hand to guide you through the process. (Candles need about two hours to dry, so you can pick them up later.) Reservations are recommended, but walk-ins are welcome. The experience seems primed for parties, showers, corporate events, and date nights, starting at $42 a person. To crank up the atmosphere, Sea Love serves beer, wine, and seltzers (it is a bar, after all). You also can order from a special menu at across-the-street SixtyFour—Wine Bar & Kitchen (123 Water St.), with advance notice.

Of the half-dozen Sea Love franchises to date, Naperville is the westernmost. The Maine-based company touts its safe, cruelty-free, and sustainable products, labeled as “vegan, phthalate-free, dye-free, and free of paraffin wax.” Candles are made with 100 percent U.S.-grown soy wax and 100 percent cotton core wicks that are lead free, while the fragrance oil ingredients follow RIFM and IFRA standards. “This is the cleanest burn you’re going to get,” Patel says. “Our products are made from all-natural ingredients, and they’re not perfume-y.”

Items on display at Sea Love Candle Bar & Boutique

Although the shop is clearly DIY focused, there are retail offerings, including body butter, lotion, warmers, diffusers, and premade candles with names like Endless Weekend, Seaside Mansion, Atlantic, Pure Maine, and Naperville Riverwalk.

Wait, Naperville Riverwalk?!

Yep, the city’s famed centerpiece even has its own custom scent. (It was only a matter of time, really.)

Patel’s idea to open a candle bar in Naperville came from a vacation when her whole family did a candle-making activity. She was surprised it was an instant hit with her two teen boys. “From the moment we got in there, they were so into it,” she recalls. “They had such a great time. It totally caught us off guard that they enjoyed it as much as they did.” She knew they were on to something.


Photos: Marissa Elise Photography/Sea Love Naperville