Making a Home in Malibu

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Andrea Schroder lights “Lavender Fields,” one of her many organic scented candles from her line of candles, soaps and cards.

Malibu mom Andrea Schroder, wife of actor and director Ricky Schroder, has had her work cut out for her. Raising four children, Faith, 13, Cambrie, 18, Luke, 21, and Holden, 23, is no easy feat. But as if that wasn’t enough work, Andrea wanted to try her hand at starting her own company, creating candles, soaps and cards.

Just in time for Mother’s Day, Andrea sat down with The Malibu Times to share her experience raising children in Colorado and Malibu, working on her relationship, and running a business.

Tell us about your early years of being a young mom in Colorado.

Ricky and I met in Canada when I was just 18 years old and he was 20. After spending his youth between L.A. and N.Y., he wanted to move to Colorado and get lost in nature. So he found a place in Colorado and said, “Let’s go!”

We bought a 1974 Airstream and towed it behind his jeep from Beverly Hills to Grand Junction, Colo. It wasn’t long before the Airstream got tight and we ventured into our first home building project. How do an 18-year-old and 20-year-old do that? They go to Home Depot and buy a house plan magazine and order plans for $150, which arrived in the mail one week later. The first issue of InStyle featured our house, Ricky, our two young sons, Holden and Luke, and me a few years later.

I am an extrovert and Ricky’s work travel left me isolated on the ranch, so when it was time for our first son Holden to start kindergarten, we moved back to L.A. Holden is now 23 years old and I have built and sold over 20 homes since our first in Colorado. 

In a city filled with celebrities and their children, what has it been like to raise your children and keep them grounded?

I think because Ricky and I are pretty young parents, we have grown up with our kids. I think having a big family keeps everyone grounded. There is a lot of honesty in big families. L.A. gets a bad rap for spoiled, jaded kids, and it’s not fair.

We have a three-year-old mending kid (visiting from nonprofit Mending Kids International) with us right now, and all of the kids’ friends have been helpful and caring. I see confident, healthy, kind, fun, trendsetting kids. I think life in L.A. is just a magnified version at times, and that also means magnified goodness, too.

Your marriage has withstood the test of time. To what do you owe this?

Ricky and I are like one — we have grown up together. Ricky attacks life. He’s fearless, highly intelligent and super cute. I add the beautification side to the family and teach values, traditions, art, travel. We are opposites, which can be extremely synergistic, but can also cause conflict so, like anything worthwhile, our marriage takes effort.

What are Ricky and your core family values?

We wrote a family mission statement this week. At the top of the list are honesty, kindness, contribution and fun.

Describe a family ritual that you have continued throughout the years.

We watch “Survivor” together. We have watched every season, every episode for 15 years. I hope it never gets canceled — it’s a great show and teaches about human survival on every level. Wednesday night is sacred. I make caramel popcorn and we all talk the whole time about who is going to make it to the final four.

We use “Survivor” as a metaphor for all kinds of circumstances. For example, the eighth grade is like a game of “Survivor” at times — who has your back, who is your alliance, who can you trust, who is going to flip.

What inspired you to begin your own line of scented candles, soaps and cards?

I wanted a personal gift that I could give to clients, friends and family, and it grew from there. I sent samples to Hallmark, Nordstrom, HomeGoods, etc. and they all picked up my line. 

When did you begin? How has the business grown and changed? And where can people buy your products?

I truly began at a young age, from painting my childhood bedroom set, to volunteering in my children’s art class. All that we do becomes stepping-stones toward more specific passions.

I have always loved fragrance but had no clue how to blend and use fragrance in candles. While walking a furniture tradeshow, I stumbled upon a private label home candle business and started asking questions. That was about three years ago. I got my first big account (Hallmark) less than two years ago, and then Nordstrom about a year ago and HomeGoods about six months ago.

It seems the bigger my company grows, the less time I have to be inventive. This can be dangerous for entrepreneurs like me. It’s important to find ways to keep the “why” alive. Why candles? Because candles symbolize light — darkness cannot reside where there is light. 

My products are available at Nordstrom, online and other various stores. 

What has being a mom to four children meant to you?

Four letters: love. It sounds corny, but at the end of the day, that describes what motivates motherhood. It’s what you give and what you receive in return.