- Tell us about what you do.
Hello Hello! My name is Kevan Christine (KC for short) and I own a coastal-inspired product line/online gift shop called Salt & Pine based on the southern coast of Oregon.
- How long have you been making your products and how did you get started?
I’ve always been a creative person and artist. I had a wonderful career as a photographer and art director in the music industry for many years before retiring due to health reasons. During that transitional time while I was figuring out what I wanted to do next (including the hilarious idea to go to law school just because I was good at arguing), I started making wellness products for myself and decided to open an Etsy shop, because why not? Through challenges, shifting product types, changing branding focus and growing pains, I came to Salt & Pine. And ironically enough, Salt & Pine has led me to revisit other creative parts of myself including filmmaking, for which I’m currently working on my first feature length documentary film. It’s really come full circle.
- What is your favorite part of the creative process? Least favorite?
I truly do love all of it, but, my favorite part by far is when an idea pops into my head, I run with it and it leads to a successful end result. My brain never stops coming up with ideas to create and problem solve and I work best when I multitask (thankfully I’m good at it!). I’m a Specific Manifesting Generator (google Human Design!) so it makes total sense. My least favorite is probably marketing. I didn’t grow up in the Social Media world as that came well after I became an adult so sharing things in that sense doesn’t come naturally for me (I didn’t even own a cellphone until college). I think it’s hard to convey the beauty and benefit (and scent in my case) of a product through just a photograph and text as opposed to hands on in person. But, I try my best!
- From where do you draw your inspiration to create your products?
My surroundings and coastal way of life inspire Salt & Pine daily. I’m a born and bred Southern California girl so the ocean and the sand are just the way of life there and are the foundation of who I am as a person. I have always been more comfortable in the ocean than on land, so I definitely draw inspiration from that. The sea is the one constant in my life that no matter what is going on I can always depend on it to calm and center me. I think it’s safe to say that I have saltwater running through my veins! I moved to the Southern Oregon Coast about a year ago, seeking a smaller and quieter existence and found that in a lovely small town called Bandon-by-the-Sea. I live at the top of a mountain right on the Pacific Ocean surrounded by acres of forest where I have to hop in my car to see my neighbors and go to the mailbox! I take daily beach walks with my pug kiddos and wake up and go to sleep to the roar of the surf. It’s truly heaven.
- What values does your business embody?
I truly believe in living a simple, natural life and I think Salt & Pine really embodies this. I’m not one to really enjoy or value a lot of fluff, just give me something that is well made and gets the job done and I’m a happy gal. This is the approach that I take with each and every product that I create which I think helps my products speak for themselves. I also believe in being an ecologically responsible business owner and I work hard to implement that into Salt & Pine. All product packaging is reusable or compostable, and I repurpose whatever I can. For example, all usable paper is turned into the pulp that makes the Salt and Pine Handcrafted Note Cards, all botanical remnants from oil infusions are composted in my garden where I grow the herbs and botanicals used in my bodycare products, and I shred packing paper from supply boxes to be used as packing material for orders. I’m constantly examining my current processes and uses and thinking of new ways to make those more efficient and work towards my zero-waste goal.
- Is your business a full time or part time venture? Do you have plans to grow/expand?
Salt & Pine is my full time venture. I’ve always been one to go with the flow in life so I have no idea where it’ll be a few years from now. I considered opening a brick & mortar shop but I am better suited not being so “tied down” to a specific location. I have thought about refurbishing an old small airstream into a mobile shop to be able to travel to different events and festivals. That’s definitely more my style! I’ll be launching a seasonal Autumn scent this fall called “Bonfire” and I’ll be adding a selection of related products to my online shop from other fellow artisan friends like Stacy Giovannucci from @alchemyhomecompany (amazing small-batch apothecary goods) and Amanda Whitworth from @amandawhitworth (incredible woodworker). As a small (and woman-owned) business, I truly believe that we have to support and lift each other up as much as we can. I don’t believe in the “I’m better than you” competition mentality. I think we all have something unique, special, and useful to add to the world.
- There are many challenges that come along with running a small business. What is your biggest challenge and what is your biggest reward or success?
Well, anyone who is self-employed will tell you that it isn’t a walk in the park. It’s hard and sometimes not always dependable. Especially as a product-based business. There are automatic highs and lows throughout the year (The holiday season - great! Post holiday season - not so great!). So, when I say that every single order counts, I really mean it! And, when you are dependent on your hands to make your living you have to really manage your time and workflow to prevent burn out both mentally and physically. But, I absolutely love shipping off orders to customers. It gives me an opportunity to add a bit of happiness to their day when they reach into their mailbox (because let’s face it, as adults we generally only get bills and junk mail). From the branded packaging to the handwritten thank you note, I try to make sure that each and every customer not only knows how appreciative I am of their order but of them as a person who is supporting my one-woman business. And, when my line is added to a new shop or when a product develops a loyal following it’s just the best. Who doesn’t love seeing their products on store shelves?
- How do you spend your time when you aren’t creating?
Besides Salt & Pine my other full time job is my documentary film so I tend to work 24/7 but it’s hard to call it that when you’re doing what you love. I spend a lot of time at the beach with my pug kiddos Fergus Montgomery, Gracie Blue and AnnahBelle Clementine (we’re big on grand names around here). I’m also working on my land, slowly getting it into shape and giving it the TLC that it’s been sorely lacking for many years. I’m a big proponent of health and taking care of myself as priority number one so I spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking (for both myself and the pugs!), working out (yoga and beach walks are my favorite), and just on my wellness in general. Regardless of whatever I’m doing there’s never a pug too far away!
- Salt and Branch sells only a few of your products. Where can people go to find more of your products?
You can shop the entire Salt & Pine line at www.saltandpinegoods.com and find me on Instagram @saltandpinegoods. S&P Products can be found in various brick & mortar shops across the US (with plans to grow into Canada and the UK) and in online stores as well!
- Is there anything I didn’t ask that you would like readers to know?
There is nothing that a little saltwater can’t cure.