Seawicks Candles Share the Scents of Maine

Meet the husband-and-wife duo who want to bring the coast to you. A Down East Shop maker spotlight.

A decade ago, Michael Gaffney was torn about accepting a job offer that would relocate him and his wife, Cara, to Boston from midcoast Maine. Originally from upstate New York, he came to the Northeast after traveling out west in the 1990s, exploring the national parks in his 1978 green Volkswagen microbus. “I had a love of the sea and the pines,” Gaffney says, “so I packed up the bus and came to Maine.” As he and Cara debated the job offer, they realized they wanted to do more than just stay in Maine — they wanted to celebrate it. So they sold their VW, which had been by that time upgraded to a blue 1979, in order to purchase materials for their first batches of non-toxic, Maine-inspired candles, which now include scents like Salty Seas, Summer Squeeze, and Blueberry Fest.

Candles were a natural choice for the Gaffneys, who live with their two boys in a cottage in Edgecomb, not far from Southport’s Squirrel Island, where Cara spent her childhood summers. During their first winter there, beset by power outages, they found themselves lighting a lot of candles and daydreaming about summertime. So, leaning on Michael’s previous experience working for Maine’s Village Candle brand, they started experimenting with waxes and essential oils, trying to capture the essences of their coastal adventures.

These days, the Gaffneys make more than 20,000 candles a year in small batches in their studio in Richmond. First, they melt wax made from American-grown soy and, when it reaches the right temperature, add in their original fragrance blends. Next, they add the wicks to the glasses, hand-pour the scented wax, and let it cure for 24 hours. Since they don’t add any dyes or UV inhibitors, the glass can be cleaned after burning and reused as a drinking glass. In fact, their line of Travelers candles is intended to have this second life: Seawicks teamed up with fellow Maine maker Tröskö to create fun designs and maps screen-printed directly onto the glass.

The goal of each candle is “to tell a story and evoke emotion,” Michael says, calling up memories of a day at the beach or an evening outside with friends. “When you’re having a bad day or you just need to get away,” he says, “that’s what Seawicks is there for.”

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Featured Items from Seawicks Candles

Maine 1820 Fraser Fir Candle

This Maine 1820 ‘Into the Woods’ candle was designed for Maine’s 200th Birthday and has the classic scent of fraser fir.


Woodie Travelers Candle – Mint Mojito

Enjoy the sweet, minty fragrance of a mojito and remember your love of coastal travels.

When your candle burns out, reuse the glass for your favorite beverage or cocktail, like a mojito!


Summer Squeeze Candle

Reminiscent of lemonade stands and stirring together fresh-squeezed lemon juice and sugar.