Aster + Gray

Amber + Wood // Week of March 25

Gabrielle Pazour

Every week, we introduce our social media followers to an artisan who sells their products in our shop. 


Week of March 25 // Amber + Wood
Valparaiso, IN

Michaela Payne of Amber and wood handcrafts candles, reed diffusers and room sprays free of harmful chemicals in her Valparaiso home.

Do any of your products benefit a nonprofit?
We have a special Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Candle that we donate 50% of the proceeds to The Children’s Heart Foundation. This is very special to us because our youngest son was born with a heart defect and had open heart surgery before he was a year old.

How did Amber + Wood get started?
I have always been a huge candle collector, at one point owning over 50 Yankee and Bath & Body Work’s candles, I started to feel really disappointed in the quality and use of harmful chemicals in the wax and fragrances so I decided to start making my own using natural, safe ingredients. From there I did tons of research and learned how to make my own body and skincare products using the same natural, plant based ingredients. After our son was diagnosed with a heart defect, it inspired me to cut out harmful chemicals from our everyday lives and start using all natural products. 


What’s your favorite part about owning a small business?
My favorite part of owning my own business is being able to channel my stress and anxiety into making things, it’s very therapeutic for me. I love thinking up new product and candle ideas and doing the research needed in order to create it. It’s also fun to actually test everything, I’m my own little product guinea pig.

Do you have a favorite book?
Wow that’s a tough question, I love reading! I’m a self professed Potterhead and love all the Harry Potter books, my favorites are probably Prisoner of Azkaban and The Half Blood Prince. I also love Looking for Alaska by John Green, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, and A Walk To Remember by Nicholas Sparks.

What’s your favorite way to kick back and relax?
My favorite way to relax is pouring myself a (large) glass of red wine, eating dark chocolate, and sitting on the couch with my husband binge watching The Big Bang Theory.

Favorite TV show?
I love binge watching The Big Bang Theory, New Girl, and Parks and Rec.

Favorite local shop?
My favorite local shop is honestly Aster + Gray. I love that you guys support local artisans and give us a chance to share our handmade products. Funny story, I was immediately drawn to your shop when we moved to the area because 2 of my kids’ names are Asher and Greyson and we call them Ash and Grey, so I knew I had to check y’all out since your shop name is so similar to their names.