our new candles!

a. favorite design candles

our new candle line

Last year I noticed people started asking me if I carried candles more and more often. Which I don't. We're a stationery store and focus on stationery. I made a joke, "maybe I should create stationery themed candles". Which soon turned into wondering "why couldn't I do stationery themed candles?". One day when I was sharpening a No. 2 pencil, like most people after sharpening the pencil, I raised it near my lips to blow the excess dust off and thought, "that smells like creativity!" and my candle list began. I opened a note on my phone and started a list of ideas, No. 2 pencil being the first entry. The ideas flowed pretty easily as I went about my day to day routine. The list has about a dozen ideas and keeps growing.

No. 2 pencil soy candle

No. 2 pencil candle

One Spring day, I decided to reach out to my maker friends Edgewater Candles and ask if they collaborated with other businesses on proprietary scents. Sadly, they don't so I put the idea on the back burner and decided, if it's meant to be, it'll fall into place. And I gotta say, it really fell into place! I was on Instagram and saw The Vintage Royalty, a jewelry artist I do shows with and whose work I love, had released a custom candle. I was intrigued and immediately started following her collaborator, Virtue Alchemy Candle Co. When I followed Anna, she sent me a DM, thanking me for the follow and asked if I had ever considered custom candles for my business. Serendipity? I thought so!

candle making

candle making process - photo by Anna of Virtue Alchemy Candle Co.

We set up a call to discuss my ideas and budget, we had great rapport instantly. Anna genuinely shared my excitement for all my ideas. It was amazing. She explained her process, her soy wax, non-toxic fragrances and clean burning cotton wicks. She also laid out her expectations for me, talked through my homework and timelines. It made me feel confident in working with her. We agreed on starting with three candles. I chose the three I had thought through the most.

candle mood boards

mood boards left to right - grandpa's office, No. 2 pencil, unsent letters

Once I made my deposit, Anna sent over my homework. Which was so much fun! I had to complete a questionnaire about intention, vision and inspiration for each scent, as well as spotify playlists and mood board for each (which you can see and even follow the link to the spotify playlists on the candle listings or here: grandpa's office, no. 2 pencil, unsent letters). The entire process really helped me fine tune my candle ideas.

fragrence discovery

fragrance discovery at Virtue Alchemy Candle Co.

Not quite a week after my homework was complete, we met for a fragrance discovery at the Virtue Alchemy Candle Co. space. Anna gathered 15-16 fragrances for each candle idea for me to narrow down. If you're counting, that's 45-48 fragrances I had to narrow down! Anna had curated an amazing collection for each scent, it was hard to narrow down. After a couple hours, I had narrowed the 45 down to ten, with seven sample candles to be made. I left feeling even more excited than when I started the process, it was wonderful.

candle samples

custom candle samples

When Anna reached out updating me my samples were ready, I lovingly started calling here Scent Sorcerer, because I truly felt she was creating magic out of my little stationery candle themed ideas. I started burning the candles one by one daily, taking notes and trying to narrow them down. Two outta the three candle decisions were pretty immediate. The third, I struggled with. I was loving all three of the samples and every time I burned one, I was convinced that was the one. But the next day, it was a different one, and on and on. I finally made a choice but still may want have to revisit those other two scents. Seriously, they were that delicious. Once I had my final choices, I let Anna know, we shared virtual high fives and hearts and she began working her magic.

process image collage

candle making process images - photos by Anna of Virtue Alchemy Candle Co.

While she was Sorcerering a.k.a. melting wax, mixing fragrances, pouring and curing my candles, I began working on labels. Since I'm a paper girl, and a letterpress girl, I really wanted to explore Neenah's line of uncoated paper labels. Thankfully, I know the Chicago Neenah rep, Angelina and she's the best. She sent me samples to play with, it was such a treat. I printed my designs on all the different labels and tested the perforating. Again, so much fun! I settled on Estate Label® Laid Finish and it's beautiful. Again, I wanted to focus on the stationery aspect, not just with candle scents but with the labels too. When brainstorming ideas, I kept picturing vintage stamps and when I sat to design, it all came together easily. A little too easily in my mind, I tried redesigning several times just to make sure and kept going back to the first designs, which personally, really did turn out perfect.

Neenah Paper Label

Neenh Paper Label

I picked up the finished candles and I adore the vessels we settled on. They're silver mercury glass, very classic and vintage, similar to the rest of my line. Once I added the labels, they really fit in to the afd brand. They are truly a magical collaboration of Virtue Alchemy Candle Co. and a. favorite design. I'm so pleased with how they came out! I think you'll love them too. Let me know what you think and which is your favorite scent.

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