Meet the Makers // Brooklyn Candle Studio
Brooklyn Candle Studio
One of the most inspirational and rewarding parts of owning Charm has been getting to meet the makers of our featured brands. I absolutely love learning more about how they launched their dreams, and what motivates them to follow their passions. From the very beginning, I knew that I wanted to focus on small-batch, artisanal makers and goods to offer only the very best in our curated collection.
That being said, I am honored to be able to share not only these amazing products with you, but the story behind them, especially as the season of giving rapidly approaches.
There’s something about the holiday season that beckons us to slow down and to soak up life’s “simple things,” and some of my most treasured holiday memories are captured in candlelit evenings well-spent with family and friends.
We recently had the privilege of chatting with candle extraordinaire, Tamara Mayne, Founder and Creative Director of Brooklyn Candle Studio. We have all the heart eyes for her impossibly dreamy, indulgent scents, and chic aesthetic.
Better yet, her candles are eco-conscious, clean burn, vegan, preservative- and cruelty-free. They are ethically made (yes, in Brooklyn) with 100% soy wax derived from American-grown soy beans.
What inspired you to launch Brooklyn Candle Studio?
In 2012, I decided that I wanted to make handmade gifts for my large extended family out in California, and thought candles would be the perfect DIY project. I bought a kit from Michael’s, and the whole thing started out as a hot mess. After initial debacles, I got obsessed with getting the science right, learning about natural and sustainable wax alternatives to paraffin, and achieving the perfect hot throw, the holy grail of candle making (the way a lit candle’s fragrance fills a room). I also became interested in aromatherapy and “fragrance mixology.” After about 10 months of experimentation and perfecting my new craft, I launched an Etsy shop with a few scents I’d been toying with and packaging I’d designed. Etsy featured my candles in an email, I got a flood of orders, and sales kind of snowballed from there.
What do you love most about owning your own business?
The best part about owning my own business is the freedom it brings. The agency to make my own business and creative decisions, to come and go as I please, and (after years of working 12 hour days by myself), the freedom to spend much of my time with family. I also really love that, as small as my business is, it contributes to the community in a real way—mainly with the jobs and benefits the business has created. It's a lot of pressure to have the responsibility of supporting employees, but it is also gratifying on a deeper level that this support is coming from something I created from nothing.
What is the process like for creating your fragrances?
I will think of a scent concept inspired by a time and place, an experience, a destination, a botanical, and notes that would capture that. For example, when in Santorini, the notes that stood out were of currants and figs anchored by amber and sandalwood. I’ll present this concept to a perfumer and the perfumer will come up with several versions of a fragrance based on my proposal. I’ll pick one and will suggest revisions—more amber, less citrus, etc. and we’ll continue the process usually for months until we’ve the right notes. Once we’re there, we have to test the fragrance in wax to make sure it burns well with our soy wax and our coreless cotton wicks. If not, the perfumer will have to make more revisions so the fragrance burns and throws well. Someday, I hope to study perfumery more in-depth, but, for now, I get to work with the professionals!
What is your must-have candle at the moment?
Santorini! Notes of fig, currant, amber, and sandalwood—perfect for winter. I love to travel, but when I can't, this candle is the next best thing.
What is a typical "work" day like for you?
A typical "work" day really varies in my life right now! About a year ago, I hired an amazing team to take over most of my duties so that I could have the time to focus on raising my son until he goes to preschool. Now, I spend most of my days just being a mom (which is definitely a LOT of work). Usually, I wake up around 6-7am when our little guy wakes up. Some days I'll run our numbers in Quickbooks, run through as many emails as I can, or design an e-newsletter while my husband plays with our son until 9 when he has to go to work. Other days, I'll get a morning barre or spin class in. I take over when my husband heads to work—I'll usually take our son to the park, museum, or we'll run errands or check out new spots in Brooklyn or Manhattan. When my son goes down for a nap usually around 1 until 3-4, it's go-time for me work-wise. Usually, I only have time to get through emails which usually involve press, questions from my team, PR, or straight business. I have a million different things to get done in those 2-3 hours, so I have to work fast! Sometimes, I'll design a newsletter, edit some photos, or work on our website. When my son wakes up, I play with him, feed him, read to him, then get the rest of my work done when my husband gets home around 6. It's not the easiest lifestyle, but I think it's 100% worth it for the time I get to spend with my little guy and still get to run my business.
What are your favorite ways to unwind?
Light a candle (of course), read a magazine or book, watch crime shows on Netflix or a movie. Cook a meal, take a bath, go for a walk in neighboring Prospect Park.