The brainchild of certified Valley girl Michelle Alvarado, Valley Girl Apothecary has been around since 2019 and is inspired by Alvarado’s Valley roots, reflected in the San Fernando Valley-based names she gives her candles.
The Valley Girl Apothecary founder has lived in neighborhoods in north, east, south, and west Valley. She went to Sylvan Park Elementary, Porter Middle School, and Kennedy High School. She also attended and graduated from California State University, Northridge.
The idea for No. 818 came to Alvarado as she thought of how to combat the negative “stoner stigma.”
“I’m super productive and I think smoking weed is like drinking a glass of wine for some people,”
Alvarado said. “It’s a way to relax and unwind and doesn’t have to be looked as at lesser than alcohol.”
If you think the name means the candle smells like weed, think again.
“The candle doesn’t smell like marijuana; instead it’s more of the floral essence of the cannabis flower,” Alvarado said. “It doesn’t smell like weed but the vibe is weed, grown up weed!”
That doesn’t mean that Valley Girl Apothecary doesn’t sell a weed-scented candle, though. “If you want a weed smelling candle, SFV OG is for you,” Alvarado added.
Despite the popularity of No. 818, Alvarado says Valley Girl Apothecary’s top sellers are Northridge, North Hollywood, Pacoima, Topanga Canyon (sold out as of the time I’m writing this), Valley Nights (also sold out), and Van Nuys.
Northridge features notes of orange blossom and neroli (as if you were transported to the Orange Grove at CSUN), while Pacoima is sweeter and smells like fresh-baked pan dulce from your favorite panadería.
If you purchase North Hollywood, you should anticipate the soothing scent of oats and honey, and if you get Van Nuys, you can expect the fresh smell of a rainy day.
As if Alvarado wasn’t already giving Valley kids more than enough, in early December, Valley Girl Apothecary rolled out its minis (five three-ounce candles — aka 100 hours worth of burning — for $20). Alvarado made 50 sets of minis and sold out in one hour.
Valley Girl Apothecary will be restocking the minis “soon-ish,” so make sure to turn on post notifications if you want to know when they’re available.
In the future, Alvarado said she envisions Valley Girl Apothecary growing into a brand that stretches beyond the Valley.
“Ideally I’d like to move production to El Salvador and pay people a living wage!”
Support this Valley girl’s dreams by purchasing beautifully scented and locally poured Valley Girl Apothecary candles.