from left: Phila Rogers, Nancy Law, and Caroline Law
Family Affair at The Santa Barbara Company
Three Generations Run Craftsman Gift Shop on East Victoria Street
Monday, May 16, 2016
“At times I have to say, ‘Grams, I’m not at work to socialize; I’m at work to work,’” says Caroline Law lightheartedly while describing her day at The Santa Barbara Company, a family-run shop of locally sourced items that are perfect as gifts or for your own kitchen. “But for the most part, I love it.”
Law was a bit hesitant to take on a venture with her mom, Nancy Law, but says she couldn’t resist her mother’s passion. “My mom loves Santa Barbara — like, really loves it,” said Law. “She thought that there should be a unified source for all things Santa Barbara.”
By Courtesy Photo
Housed in a renovated craftsman-style bungalow on East Victoria Street, the store focuses on custom artisanal gift baskets stuffed with products from artists, such as Meg Graves’ hand-cut tiles and Karin Shelton’s painted cards, as well as Santa Barbara–inspired candles, infused cooking salts and oils, cocktail mixes, and bean-to-bar chocolates from Twenty-Four Blackbirds. “We’ve been doing a really good job of making sure that anybody who receives a gift knows how special, beautiful, and local they are,” explained Law.
Law’s grandmother also works there. “I’m the laboring force,” said the 86-year-old natural history blogger Phila Rogers, who, as chief gardener, is tasked with tending the shop’s first impression: an entrance garden that she’s carefully engineered to be predominately purple in bloom.
“I live in a retirement place, and so my garden there is restricted to pots,” said Rogers as she picks through the sweat pea bushes with her clippers. “So to be able to come down here is very nice. I don’t feel so confined to the retirement community.”
By Courtesy Photo
When Rogers gets a little hot or tired, she comes into her onsite office, where she houses the family photos and works on her blog. “I still goof around,” said Rogers about her hiking trips above Montecito.
The family’s roots were initially planted in Santa Barbara in the 19th century. Rogers’s grandparents graduated from Santa Barbara High in 1917 and 1918 and her grandfather, Henry Augustus Adrian, served as the Mayor of Santa Barbara in the 1920s. The shop even showcases a picture of them as young adults at the Old Spanish Days Fiesta.
Open Mon.-Tue. and Thu., 10am-5:30pm., and Fri.-Sat., 10am-4pm; 214 E. Victoria St.; (805) 845-3700; santabarbaracompany.com.