Cleveland Local: Sweet Dish & Darling

Kaitlin Ryan, Staff Reporter

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After graduating from college in 2009, Sweet Dish & Darling founder Sarah Sampsell was working for her sister’s eco-conscious skin care salon. It was then that the initial idea of what would become her own successful business came to be.

Sampsell and her sister originally wanted to bring in a candle line that paired aesthetically with the salon. When they were unable to find a brand that matched their vision of specific quality and wellness, Sampsell did what any visionary would — she created one.

The company name comes from the original way that the candles were packaged and sold, Sampsell says. In the beginning, the fragrances Sampsell created were based on cocktails and desserts.

In each candle, she included a quick recipe inspired by the “dish” it represented. After the candle glass was cleaned, it could be used to serve the dish created from the recipe.

“You’d have a ‘sweet dish’ and also a ‘darling candle’,” Sampsell says.

While Sweet Dish & Darling no longer includes recipes, and its lines of fragrances has expanded massively, the name has stuck to remind them of their humble beginnings.

The candles have always been handmade, one by one, by Sampsell herself.“[Our candles] are carefully crafted in small batches and each one passes a quality test before heading to your home,” she says.

“Every fragrance is hand-blended with our own recipes to curate a scent memory from high-quality oils.”

From the pour of the natural soy wax to the sewing of the burlap packaging, Sampsell does it all. For now, she is the only employee, but she says that once there is a space for the business, hiring will begin.

Currently, the shop exists online at darlingcandles.com, on Etsy and through their wholesalers.

“I also truly enjoy seeing people at events, so we try to get to as many as possible throughout the season,” Sampsell says.

Sweet Dish & Darling will be making its next appearance at the Cleveland Flea, which will take place May 4-5.

Sampsell is on the hunt for a space for all the retail and crafting needs for business operations, events and, ultimately, a storefront so people have an opportunity to experience all of the scents.

Sweet Dish & Darling’s mission is to “bring people joy through safe and quality products,” Sampsell says. She is passionate about using candles as a way to remember a certain time or to capture a feeling.

She says, “So many moments can be easily transformed into a theme or framework for a really interesting and unique scent memory.”

The most popular scent is Sea Salt & Amber. Sampsell says, “It’s crisp, calming and unique, our customers flock to that one all year long.”

While Sampsell is the creative mastermind and the manufacturer of all the products, she says that the support she receives from her family and husband help her a great deal. There are also a couple of employees that help in the busy seasons.

Sweet Dish & Darling has blossomed over the last 10 years of its existence. Sampsell is hopeful for the future. She says, “We started small and we still are, but expansion is on the horizon.”