To each his own is a sentiment heavily echoed in the candle industry. There’s no shortage of personal preferences when it comes to scents and packaging, which means there should be no shortage of fragrance and style options on the market. With scent tied so closely to memory, lighting a wick can illicit the best of daydreams.
That was the intent when Holbrook Candles began crafting small-batch candles in its San Diego studio. After their Ireland wedding, the husband-and-wife team Courtney and Troy Radloff developed a collection of candles to complement their worldly travels; each unique fragrance reflecting a specific stop along their journey: Cliffs of Moher, New York Penthouse, Fall in Vermont, Holiday in Aspen and others.
Likewise, the Viaggio Collection by Cali Cosmetics is meant to embody the idea of travel. Whether it be friendship, birthplace or another special reason, each candle in the Viaggio collection invokes a positive memory for the company, from Hong Kong, New York and Beverly Hills to Monte Carlo, Rome and Sao Paolo.
While fragrance-beauty is in the eye of the beholder, there are a handful of companies that see candle and home fragrance scents going in a somewhat specific direction. “A woodsy smell is what most people tend to migrate toward (for fall),” said Brittany Davison, the Orange County representative for Grace by Catherine Sullivan, who represents companies like Aquiesse, Alixx and Sophie Allport.
Companies like Mixture as well as certain buyers are echoing these fall favorites, only they’re seeing them year-round. “We’re starting to see a huge trend toward masculine fragrances,” said Dan Deleon of Mixture. Think less sweet, more musk.
Greenleaf seems to be headed in that direction. The company’s new woodland-inspired fragrance, Moss & Mist combines a fragrant plant scent with patchouli and a hint of apple, pear and magnolia. This new-for-fall fragrance pays homage to the company’s roots as a bedding plant business.
Greenleaf’s sister company, Votivo, has expanded its most coveted fragrance to include different designs, packaging collections and even a modern diffuser. Red Currant’s formula consists of — you guessed it — musk and earthy greens with citrus notes. The Black Box Diffuser works in tandem with aromatic fragrance pods made specially for the square accent piece. Once it’s turned on, a fan releases the fragrance for a 20-minute cycle. The company’s top five best-selling scents are available in pod form: Clean Crisp White, Honeysuckle, Pink Mimosa and Teak.
Somewhere along the masculine spectrum lies craft cocktails. Specifically, whiskey, brandy and the like are now not only ingredients you find in a bar glass over ice, but, thanks to Northern Lights, are filling homes with delightful fragrances. The company’s Spirit Jar collection includes Whiskey & Tobacco, Absinthe & Black Fig, Blackberry Brandy and Apple Pie Moonshine. Each 5-ounce jar pays tribute to the brilliant world of craft cocktails.
Selling a product that smells good has to look great in your store, too. “Because my particular shop is so bright and colorful, that’s how I like everything I buy to be,” said Cindy Anderson of Portland’s The Happy Mermaid, as she peruses Paddywax’s Relish Jar collection.
Because designs are aplenty and personal style varies tremendously, sometimes you’ve got to get involved in making a sale. “Candles, you have to sell them,” said Mickey Thiel of San Michele in Idaho Falls. “You have to open them up, stick them under people’s noses and say, ‘isn’t this fabulous?’” Candles can be one of the more expensive impulse purchases, but they’re still mainly just that: impulse. Shoppers don’t always come into a shop with the intentions of purchasing a candle, but with the right color and design options combined with the enchanting scents that linger throughout the space, customers will often walk out in an ethereal haze with a new candle (or two).
We asked buyers….
What scents are taking up your shelf space?
“Earthy and musky” -Ceeann Thiel, Mrs. Tiggy Winkles, Riverside, California
“Fresh and clean” -Cindy Anderson, The Happy Mermaid, Portland, Oregon
“Tobacco and spice” -Denise Brown, Dee Lux, Claremont, California
“Clean and musky” -Mickey Thiel, San Michele, Idaho Falls, Idaho