I have to admit: I love supporting local, small businesses as much as the next Brooklynite, but sometimes just cannot rationalize the cost difference from something a bit more generic (as much as I want to). But when you happen to find a lovingly made product that wont gouge your wallet? Bliss.
And such is the story of how I came to adore Brooklyn Candle Studio. I stumbled on a Gilt City deal for three mason jar candles and, needing new candles for my flat anyway, figured I'd give them a try. And after peeking at their site for all of five seconds, I had a feeling I'd be quite pleased. The candles arrived, as darling as I imagined. And the attention paid to little details, like the carefully folded brown paper wrapping held together by lovely custom sticker, were so appreciated. I mean, they even make travel-sized candles so you can bring your favorite home scents with you abroad.
So I just had to write founder Tamara Mayne to share some much-deserved praise, and request to pick her brain a bit:
When and why did you start Brooklyn Candle Studio? Why candles?
I started Brooklyn Candle Studio out of my now-husband's and my apartment in September 2013. It was born as a tiny Etsy store. I'd been experimenting with candlemaking and scents since I started making them as gifts, from a kit purchased at Michaels, nine months prior to opening the shop. After a few early debacles, I learned more about the wonders of soy wax and started researching aromatherapy and perfumery, and became fascinated by the art of both. I was a graphic designer at the time, and was toying around designing labels and packaging inspired by vintage apothecaries and French packaging design. Candles are such expressive products — they can embody beauty both in aroma and visual appeal. Scent is also such a powerful form of memory — it can instantly change someone's mood to smell something they love or that reminds them of a time, person, or place near and dear.
I love that you also offer classes. Was that always something you wanted to incorporate into the business?
I thought about it early on, but was so busy filling orders that I never made it happen. I also never had the space before. I was forced to move into a 3x larger space earlier this year after having to leave my last studio for various reasons. Now, the space is my own (I'm no longer sharing or subletting). I first thought I would teach the class to cover the cost of the 2x higher rent. However, I'm now realizing that people have really been truly enjoying and benefiting from the classes. From being able learn how to make their own favors for their weddings and baby showers as well as Christmas gifts, many people will email after attending class thanking me and expressing their gratefulness that I shared some methods and secrets I took months to figure out myself!
You're local and small batch, very Brooklyn ;) What does that mean for your business exactly?
Small batch means we literally make our candles in small batches — 8 or 9 at a time to be exact. Each candle — from wicking to labeling — is hand-crafted every step of the way; it's a very personal process. When we're making candles, it's very meditative for us. It's not like we have a bunch of candles running through conveyor belts, but rather they very much feel like an extension of ourselves. Most of our candles are made to order, so the number of one scent we make really depends on the order. We rotate new scents in every season — some are new formulas, others are more seasonal, like Spiked Apple Cider, one of last year's big hits.
Most of our ingredients and supplies are domestically sourced, mostly in the South, as that's where I've found the best of the best ingredients. However, I do try to support local businesses as much as possible; most of our labels are printed by a husband-and-wife team, NY Printing and Graphics, in Red Hook. I like to be able to walk in and talk to them personally about what we need, and to be able to see proofs in-person. Also, many of our shipping supplies come from Brooklyn company Cornell Paper and Box.
As you could probably tell, we're big travel fans. Any trips or experiences that influenced your scents, packaging, etc?
Yes! Absolutely. My wedding in Montana and a prior visit during the gorgeous winter there inspired Montana Forest. Fern + Moss is inspired by the dew and foliage of Fern Valley, which my husband, brother-in-law, and sister-in-law hiked in Northern California.
Any thing else you may want the world to know?
It's more of a question to the world that's been on my mind for a while — what should our Fall/Winter scents be?!