One thing we’re so appreciative of is our talented friends. We’re surrounded by smart, kind and creative makers and doers. This is what Startup Spotlight is about: showcasing the entrepreneurial spirit of the amazing people we know—and that you know, too!
If there’s someone you think we should Spotlight (or if it’s you), tell us, please: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re kicking things off with candles because who doesn’t love them? Somehow, we personally know three incredibly gifted candlemakers—from LA to Paris—who make beautifully different and luxurious candles that are all over our offices and homes. Trust us, you’ll want them, too!
Lucky You! We’re giving away a candle by each of our Candlemakers. Sign up for the newsletter (down below) to be the first to know when our Giveaway starts.
David Malvaney is the co-owner of luxury Los Angeles boutique, Church. While sourcing the one-of-a-kind fashion and furniture that attracts an A-list clientele to his store, David conceived his crystal-endowed candles. His ThreeSix9 collection is shockingly beautiful, as much art piece as gorgeous-smelling votive.
What’s your candle making process?
The candles are all handmade. I create each vessel one by one; it’s hand-dyed and hand-poured concrete. The actual pouring process takes around a half hour, but then there’s drying, sealing, having the wax poured. I set the crystal in the lid of each candle and that takes time, to figure the right positioning. The wax is a soy blend and the wick is 100% cotton.
For one candle, from start to finish, it takes a couple weeks.
What is the scent?
Right now it’s a signature scent that I worked on with a perfumery. So only I have it. It’s a gardenia, essential oil blend and people love it. I’m going to start developing other scents, too.
You go on crystal-finding missions! So that’s a whole other process that goes into making your candles.
I travel to different gem shows and handpick each and every crystal. So every candle is individual. No two are alike.
Once the candle has burned down, you can have the container refilled or you can use it to store something else. The intention is to keep it and collect the crystals.
LA-based Derek Yuen is a celebrity hairstylist by trade. A year ago, he turned his meticulous eye to creating the I Nioi candle line with his friend, Jeffrey Baum. Intricately fragranced and thoughtfully packaged in recycled paper, these candles give a nod to Derek’s travels and the scents he encountered as well as childhood memories.
What’s the story behind your candles?
It was a random dream I had during a 15-minute nap. I woke up and told my boyfriend, I’m starting a candle line. I immediately texted a friend with amazing taste (Jeffrey) and we started brainstorming right then and there.
Tell us about the scents.
The first candle is named One and it’s very specific. My idea was, “I just want wet wood.”
I remember going to Japan and every single day, I would take a half-hour hinoki bath. Hinoki is a wood, a type of cypress, that they build a tub out of. It has a very specific smell when wet that a lot of people haven’t smelled before. When I was little, my grandmother would take me to the temple every Sunday and I wanted that temple incense to be added to the wet wood scent.
Our Signature collection, One through Five, is about the different cities we’ve visited. Our Focus collection has two candles with a singular scent. And once a year, we’ll have a limited edition that will run for one year and never be duplicated.
What’s your candle making process?
I have an idea about a scent and go over it with Jeffrey, who was a makeup artist, botanist, photographer and is now studying to be a scientist. He researches every component to figure out what chemicals make something smell a certain way. We sit down for hours and reformulate over and over until it’s what I want.
I pour each candle for each order. I hand stamp each one because I want it to be special. I want the line to be super small where my hands still touch a part of the candle along the way. Sometimes I do a 10- to 12-hour day on set then pour candles until midnight. I’m a night owl!
Everything is vegan, no beeswax, and with a sustainably-grown-in-the-USA cotton wick. We use fragrance oils and natural oils that are safe to wear on the skin. A third of our customers tell us they dip their fingers in the wax to wear as perfume on their skin!
A Parisienne who spent many years as an expat in Asia, Sarah Cami comes from the luxury fashion and beauty world. On her return to Paris, Sarah had an idea about bringing together master artisans to create a quintessentially French candle—chic, glossy and very feminine.
How did Bonafide begin?
I met this star perfumer, Nathalie Feisthauer, who’s created fragrances for Hermes, Cartier and many others. I didn’t have the confidence to suggest creating a perfume, but I thought a candle can combine my passion for perfume, art, color, and shapes. After Nathalie liked the idea, I knew I couldn’t have average containers so I went to the best ceramic people in Limoges—and they said yes! The porcelain containers are certified Limoges, proper tableware. Then I went to the best wax people who make the wax for the most beautiful brands that I’m not allowed to say.
Finally, I needed someone to illustrate the ceramics. I found this young French artist, Armelle Tissier, and she was able to illustrate my idea for the eyes perfectly.
You have two collections. What’s the inspiration behind them?
“Les Portraits” (Portraits) is my scented collection. I wanted this collection to represent a real woman, who is multi-dimensional and multi-faceted. So this is not a collection of eight different women, but one woman and her different moments.
“Les Parfaites” (Perfect) are unscented lacquered candles. They are so glossy you could do your makeup in them! This collection turned out to be a bit of a feminist thing. The candles are all different colors, sizes, heights. They’re all round, but not perfectly round because then you can’t sit them. But that’s the point. You always hear perfection doesn’t exist. If that’s the case, then we’re all perfect! That’s logical.
Do you think Frenchwomen have more of a passion for perfume? Because as an American, my friends and I don’t really wear perfume on the daily.
You don’t? Interesting. Perfume in France is cultural. Everyone wears perfume, including men. My girls are 11 and 12 and they wear perfume.
Perfume is special. If I forget to put it on, it’s rare. I think about what Marilyn Monroe said about wearing nothing in bed but Chanel No. 5. I put on perfume after I shower and before bed.