Friday, February 26, 2010

Meet The Maker - Traci & Troy Arnsten of Voluspa Candles

Slightly over 10 years ago, Traci and Troy Arnsten of Voluspa began pouring candles in their kitchen, but not out of hobby or craft, but for business. They had big goals. Real big - "World Domination" in Traci's words, and the result is a multi-million dollar fragrance empire. The Arnsten's both had experience in the candle business. Traci brought her background in aromatherapy and botany, as well has her tremendous talent for design. Troy's background in business and engineering and turns Traci's creativity into a profitable product with international distribution. Together the duo team is unstoppable and have been featured in LA's "40 Under 40" list and Traci regularly debuts on TV as a celebrity fragrance stylist.

Traci has a flare for creating contemporary and unexpected fragrance combinations. A couple of years ago I asked her where she gets her inspiration and her answer stuns me even today. Most customers imagine, and in most cases it's the truth, that the inspiration must come from an experience or place or item, such as a flower or fruit. In Traci's case, though, she doesn't set out to create a fragrance. She creates a collection. Traci first creates the collection in her mind of what niche or gap she needs to fill in her offering. The design for the collection might come from paper or fabric she's seen in her travels and the pieces for the collection start coming together. She then taps into her incredible ability to create unique names for each of the scents in the collection, and then - she creates the fragrance! (She thinks that's the easy part.) Incredible. It seems so backwards to me, but it makes so much sense in the end. The result is a carefully crafted, well balance, cohesive collection. A grand offering rather than a single note. Brilliant.

The Arnsten's have managed to conquer all the important facets of a successful candle (design, fragrance, burn quality) to an extreme degree. Their designs are unique and trendy. The fragrances are current and well balanced. Their candles burn cleanly and beautifully. But they don't stop there. They have the longest burning candles we know of, and to sweeten the pot, they use a unique blend of natural waxes including soy, coconut and apricot. As if that's not enough, and that's far more than you'll find from most, you get all of this magnificence at an an amazing price. They spoil us and the appreciation shows in their massive fan base.

Voluspa recently launched their new Maison Noir and Maison Blanc Collections that have some of the best fragrances we've seen. The success of the multi-wick tin happily continues with a new, absolutely adorable, 2-wick tin. The new 12oz candlepot is super chunky and indulgent. Voluspa regularly launches new collections to keep things lively and we look forward to new products and fragrances.

All of Voluspa products are hand-made in the US and they even source their packaging through US manufacturers. All they need now is a wind-powered plant or carbon neutral manufacturing and we couldn't ask for anything more. But we'll always think of something...

Thanks to Tammie Dufrene for submitting your question for our "Meet The Maker" series. Congratulations on winning a beautiful Voluspa 10oz candlepot.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Meet The Maker - Jonathan Adler of Jonathan Adler

We recently met with Jonathan Adler, creator of Jonathan Adler designs and candles. Jonathan's creative career started with making pots as a child in summer camp. His passion for pottery continued and evolved into a massive and unique retro design business. He has stores throughout the US and was the lead judge on the Bravo TV show Top Design. If you've never looked at his website, please do. It's fun and beautiful and incredibly hysterical. Be sure to read his full bio and for a good laugh check out his manifesto.

The inspiration for Jonthan Adler's candles comes from the many places he has traveled - Capri, Big Sur, Southampton, Palm Beach, and his favorite place, Shelter Island. He is most proud of his Muse vase and used that for his Muse Blanc and Muse Noir candles. One of our favorite and fun candles is his Hashish candle. It' is poured in the most beautiful porcelain container and the fragrance is fabulous - a very sophisticated earthy scent.

Thanks to Amy Tomaszewski of IL for submitting her question for our Meet The Maker Series. We're sending you a beautiful Jonathan Adler candle today!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Meet The Maker - Kelly Hall Barr of K. Hall Designs

Kelly Barr (her maiden name is Hall for K. Hall Designs) started making candles at home when she was 12 years old. By selling at local farmers markets, her business grew and by 1997 she was ready to work full time at building K. Hall Designs. Her passion for simple fragrances and packaging was appreciated by a growing customer base and the result is a business larger than she imagined. Her husband, John Barr, works with Kelly to grow the company to create a strong national presence.

Kelly started making reed diffusers and 100% vegetable wax candles long before most companies. Her fragrances are simple but not understated. They come across clean and strong, each with their own unique identity, never complex or confusing. K. Hall uses simplistic packaging always keeping the environment in mind (long before it was fashionable).

Kelly and John live in an antique house in Missouri with five children. The products created by K. Hall Designs are pure and natural and as free from additives and preservatives as possible. She makes her products with her children in mind, keeping the ingredients safe enough for them.

K. Hall has launched several new products over the past couple of years, including solid perfume, laundry soap, linen water, surface cleaner and dish soap. We look forward to many new products and fragrances from K. Hall as everything they produce is simply perfection. Their newest fragrance, Shore-Line, has become an instant #1 best seller for them even though it's only been out a few weeks.

Thanks to Patricia Reeser from PA for submitting your question for our "Meet The Maker" series. Congratulations on winning a beautiful K. Hall Designs candle.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Meet The Maker- Laura Slatkin of Nest Fragrances

While we were in NYC we were able to meet with Laura Slatkin, founder of Nest Fragrances. Harry Slatkin may be known for his infamous "Nose", but Laura Slatkin is the powerhouse in the candle-making business. She and Harry left Wall Street when Harry's brother, Howard, gave them his interior design store in New York City as a wedding present in 1992. After many long days managing the all the details the shop entailed, they took a moment to look around the store to select one item that they could turn into a large business. They selected home fragrance as their career path, from all the personally created scented candles by Howard for his clients, and Slatkin & Co was born. Laura and Harry Slatkin created some of the most famous and reputable candles ever created in home fragrance, including Bamboo & Jasmine and the hugely popular Slatkin Holiday candle.

Laura and Harry decided to sell Slatkin & Co in 2005 to Limited Brands. While Harry went on to work for Limited Brands, Laura created Candela Group and developed private label lines for many reputable brands including NARS, Ralph Lauren and Christian Dior. After three years of growing her private label business, Laura decided to launch her own home fragrance line, Nest Fragrances. Her goal was to create 12 stunning fragrances that would be appreciated for home use as well as gift-giving. The new brand was in instant success as one of the most successful launches Neiman Marcus ever had in their home fragrance department. Nest Fragrances also won a Fifi Award in 2009 for their entire collection, an incredible achievement in such a short time.

Nest Fragrances is launching a new candle, Blue Garden, to help raise money for Autism Speaks. Harry & Laura Slatkin have a child with autism, so this is a great way for them to raise money for an important cause. Blue Garden has lush green notes, a dew drop accord and hyacinth as top notes, forget me not, blue hydrangea and honeysuckle mid notes, and plush oak moss, sandalwood and cotton flower base notes.

One of our Facebook fans from Nevada, Judy Reppart, wanted to ask Laura if she had any new fragrances coming out (answered above). Judy also wanted to ask Laura, "Do you know you have the best candles?". I loved this question because it is so flattering and so true. Thank you Judy for submitting your question! We'll send a Nest candle to you soon.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Meet The Maker - Meredith Waga-Perez of Belle Fleur

We recently met with Meredith Waga-Perez, founder of Belle Fleur Home Fragrance. It is always a pleasure to meet Meredith as she is just as beautiful, sophisticated and refined as her candle line. Meredith and her mother, Marilyn, started their elite flower design service in New York City 15 years ago. They cater to New York City's finest customers and events.

Meredith longed to share her love of flowers on a more global level, but the perishable nature of their product, and their exquisite hands-on service, limited their scope to New York City. About two years ago, Meredith turned to home fragrance as a way to provide the beautiful fragrance of her flowers to a broader range of customers. The Belle Fleur home fragrance line began with a floral collection of four fragrances: Mayan Tuberose (her signature scent), Orange Blossom Pomegranate, Jasmine Verbena and White Orchid Tea.

After creating the Classic (floral) Collection, she had such a passion for home fragrance that she couldn't stop, and the Exotic Wood Collection was born. Meredith created five more fragrances: Bergamot Cedar, Cocoa Tabaq, Kyara Clove, Figue Noir and Neroli Pine. The wood collection allowed Meredith to create deeper, more intense scents to balance the heady floral fragrances in her Classic Collection.

There is a story behind every fragrance that Meredith creates whether it be a memory, a feeling, a place or an ambiance she wants to recreate. Having been in the floral business for 15 years, her nose had become so attune to the true scent of flowers that she needs to create just the right gardenia, and just the right jasmine... Her persistence resulted in several renditions until each fragrance she creates is exactly what she envisioned. The result is a fragrance so sophisticated and well-balanced that every scent is a winner - floral or not.

In the two years since launching Belle Fleur, Meredith has become a leader in the world of home fragrance. Belle Fleur now sells on a global level and is regularly featured in magazines and favored by celebrities. Meredith's nose is so refined that she has been called to create private label lines. The Belle Fleur Home Fragrance business has grown so large that her husband, Tony, has joined the force.

We've adored Meredith and her fragrance line since we were introduced over a year ago. We're honored to represent her products and look forward to her new creations in the years to come.

Thank you to Michele Deckman of Maryland for submitting your question for our Meet The Maker series. We'll send a beautiful Belle Fleur candle to you soon!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

2010 What's New in Review Spring/Summer Edition

Dave & I just returned from the NY trade show and we wanted to share with you the highlights of the many new fantastic fragrances and products launching in 2010.

Nest Fragrances is launching a new candle, Blue Garden. The fragrance has lush green notes, a dew drop accord and hyacinth on top, forget me not, blue hydrangea and honeysuckle mid notes, and plush oak moss, sandalwood and cotton flower base notes. This new scent is a great compliment to their already fabulous Everyday Collection. It's a fresh, garden scent, sure to brighten any day. The proceeds for Nest Fragrances sale of the Blue Garden candle goes to Autism Speaks. Harry and Laura Slatkin have a child with autism so this is a great way for them to raise money for an important cause.

Tocca is launching a new fragrance for their eau de parfum collection. Bianca has notes of rose, tea, lemon and sugar for a perfect summer scent. It's slightly feminine, slightly sweet and simply divine!

The new Ella fragrance by DayNa Decker was a fragrance finalist at the 2010 NYIGF. Ella is a glamorous, sexy, sweet floral explosion of mandarin, citrus, jasmine, tuberose and sandalwood. Ella is available in their signature, translucent wax chandel with a wood wick as well as a reed diffuser.

K. Hall's new Shore-Line fragrance is already their #1 best seller. Shore-line has watery notes, perfect for summer, and is a great compliment to their washed cotton collection. Shore-Line is available in vegetable wax candles, diffusers and bar soap as well as counter top cleaner and dish soap.

Archipelago Botanicals launched their Private Reserve Collection featuring black wax and black containers. The collection includes five fragrances: Stem, Lust, Grass, Leather and Zest. The simple fragrances pop in their bold, black packaging.

Archipelago also created a new bath/body collection based on their best selling scent, Havana. The new Boticario de Havana collection includes a soy wax candle, reed diffuser, bar soap, body lotion, bath salts and more. The fragrance blends coffee, tobacco flower, sugar cane and pineapple. The addition of the pineapple note makes this a sumptuous bath/body scent and this is a great new unisex scent that works well across all products.

Voluspa is replacing their Basic Black and Basic Creme Collections with their new Maison Noir and Maison Blanc Collections. The new selection includes a 12oz (100 hour) chunky candlepot and an adorable 2-wick tin (55 hour) tin that is a must-get gift. There are 8 fragrances in each collection. Vervaine Olive Leaf, Saijo Persimmon and Crisp Champagne are the only fragrances from the basic collection to transfer over into the new collections. There are so many new, amazing fragrances in these new collections that you'll never miss the old Basic Black and Creme.

Our favorite new fragrance at the show goes to Voluspa's Suede Blanc. We like it's leathery notes, it's unisex appeal and cozy scent for these cool winter months.

All of these products and more will be available in-store and on our website in the coming months. If you have any questions regarding these fragrances or any new products, please do not hesitate to contact us.