Browsing Tag

Candles

Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Kelly Decker

August 7, 2017

There’s something undeniably satisfying about uncovering a bit of buried treasure, even if that only means digging up a hunk of broken dinnerware in your backyard. Thanks to Kelly Decker, though, whose Hidden Crystal Candles are now available in three scents at UncommonGoods, you don’t even have to get your hands dirty anymore. All you need to unearth a special treat is one of her long-lasting candles made from 100% American-grown soy wax (hand-poured by the maker in California), which melt down over the course of their 5o hour burn time to reveal one of three hidden stones. Each stone has its own special meaning: rose quartz, symbolizing love; moonstone, signifying good luck; or amethyst, representing spiritual growth and healing.

Here at UncommonGoods, we like to take the time to welcome our newest makers to the fold, and Kelly is no exception. Read on to learn a bit more about what inspires her—and where she keeps her own special crystals, other than tucked inside candles, of course.

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Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Karin and Jason Hirsch

January 18, 2016

Karin and Jason Hirsch | UncommonGoods
Our makers never fail to motivate us, encourage our creativity, and fill us with inspiration. So, when a new design enters our assortment, we’re always excited to learn more about the people behind the product.

What gets an artist going and keeps them creating is certainly worth sharing, and every great connection starts with a simple introduction. Meet Karin and Jason Hirsch, the artists behind our new Chakra Candles – Set of 7.

Chakra Candles - Set of 7 | UncommonGoods

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Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Kristin Hinrichs

October 8, 2015

Our makers never fail to motivate us, encourage our creativity, and fill us with inspiration. So, when a new design enters our assortment, we’re always excited to learn more about the people behind the product.

What gets an artist going and keeps them creating is certainly worth sharing, and every great connection starts with a simple introduction. Meet Kristin Hinrichs, the artist behind our new Crackling Candles.

Kristin

When did you know you wanted to be an artisan?

I’ve always loved creating, but I never dreamed it would be something I would do as a career. I’m an equal right brain/left brain person.

What was the most exciting thing about becoming a professional artisan?

It’s exciting to know that others love something that I’ve spent so much time thinking about and creating. Every time I read a positive feedback, it’s like a rush of motivation. Some days it’s easy to get caught up in “Why am I overthinking this to death, what does it matter?” Then you hear someone say they love your product and it all makes sense.

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What does your typical day in the studio look like?

Actually, I rarely spend full days in the studio. It’s mostly at night after my day job, or during my son’s naps on the weekends. I just renovated my space so I’m really excited to be able to spend more time in there. My wax is always turned on so I can just pop in and make batches of candles as I get time.

Is there a trinket, talisman, or other inspirational object you keep near? If so, what is it and what does it mean to you?

The common theme to my work areas are photos of my son. I started making candles the year he was born so he was really the reason I started on this path. It also keeps me focused to work hard, but also remember not to get too tied up and forget to put the wax away and go play. It’s important for me to show him what it looks like to work hard to achieve your goals.

40014 Crackling Candles

Imagine you just showed your work to a kindergartener for the first time. What do you think they would say?

Mmmmm – smells yummy! Can I eat it?

What quote or mantra keeps you motivated?

Work hard, play hard.

Crackling Candles

Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Callie Meaney

August 24, 2015

Our makers never fail to motivate us, encourage our creativity, and fill us with inspiration. So, when a new design enters our assortment, we’re always excited to learn more about the person behind the product.

What gets an artist going and keeps them creating is certainly worth sharing, and every great connection starts with a simple introduction. Meet Callie Meaney, designer of the Literary Candles.

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

I actually started making candles as a hobby. I love doing anything DIY and was happy to find something that combined artistry (drawing the labels) and the act of making something! When I started to use books as inspiration for the scents, that’s when I thought I could really make something out of it!

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What was the most exciting thing about becoming a professional artist?
It’s just amazing to me that I can do this as a full time job. I set my own hours, can be as creative as I like, and can call reading research. Nothing better than that!

What does your typical day in the studio look like?
I make my candles to order, so a typical day consists first of me drawing out a list of how many candles I need. I make them in the morning, do all shipping labels in the afternoon and label and pack them up at night!

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Is there a trinket, talisman, or other inspirational object you keep near? If so, what is it and what does it mean to you?
I like to keep the old jars I used when I first started. I bought them from a supermarket and handwrote the labels. It reminds me of where this all started, and how humbled I am that people like the things I make!

Imagine you just showed your work to a kindergartner for the first time. What do you think they would say?
I’m not sure they’d recognize the books used as inspiration, but hopefully they’d say they smell good!

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What quote or mantra keeps you motivated?
I actually love this quote by Lori Greiner: “Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week.” Every time I feel overwhelmed, I remind myself that I am doing something I created and something I love. That beats working a job I’m not passionate about any day, and it makes the work seem so much easier.

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What are your most essential tools?
My most essential tools are my oven and my pouring pots!

Maker Stories

Round Up the Kindling and Light Up the Campfire Candle

July 21, 2015

Copy of Joe on Chair copy

Portland designer Joe Gibson finds inspiration at the nexus of the pristine natural world and practical modern design:

“It’s the remarkable natural beauty that surrounds us, combined with the creative culture of Portland, that drives my design aesthetic.”

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Joe is the main creative force behind Revolution Design House, a small maker-space in Portland, Oregon, where he and his business partner Dylan craft handmade home furniture and accessories. It’s easy to see his nature-meets-modern-design mantra manifest in some of his most popular designs – first with the runaway success of his Boxcar Planter, and most recently with the way cool Campfire Candle.

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He refers to his innovation of the candle as a “happy accident” – probably along the same lines as the first Homo erectus to innovate the campfire campfire . It was after the Boxcar Planter process that Joe honed in on his design philosophy – “exploration and investigation with no expectations” – but the spark was truly lit after Joe tinkered with X-ACTO knife and geometric shapes during an intensive 3-hour workshop on 3D form he and Dylan teach through Oregon College of Art and Craft.

PicMonkey Collage

“The idea of the workshop is to let go of expectations and to begin manipulating the shapes into more unique objects, not by pre-determining the shape but by responding to what is right in front of them,” Joe says. He assembled a simple form almost on impulse and took it home to contemplate what it could be. “A candle seemed be a natural fit since the forms I were making were hollow cavities,” says Joe. It was later that night – over a few beers with his team – that his wintertime longing for a camping trip spontaneously inspired the campfire candle.

Joe bow tie with bike - photo from Christine

Joe perfected the design to be “an amalgam of a long-established, traditional candle-making process with a modern design twist;” he uses old-school techniques alongside a sleek, geometric form.

“I honestly assumed it was going to be an easy, no-brainer. I was wrong! Candles seem really simple, but the science of the wax and wick are tricky. Candle making is truly an equal ratio of science and art; everything matters, from the size of the wick to the shape of the candle and everything in between.”

Despite having some serious metal and woodworking experience under his belt, working with wax initially went a bit against the grain for Joe: “I knew very little in traditional candle making, so I did quite a bit of research and tons of prototyping.” To melt the wax for the candles, Gibson jury-rigged some slow-cookers, which he still uses to this day. The wax is poured into two-piece silicon molds and cooled.

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This process is called ‘gravity casting’ – “the concept is rather straightforward, and surprisingly, we’ve been able to manufacture quite a lot of candles here in our shop.”

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It’s likely that Portland, Oregon will continue to kindle the flame of Gibson’s creativity for some time. He moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2004 to attend Oregon College of Art and Craft, where he graduated with a double major in Wood and Metals: “My plan was to move back to San Diego once I finished with school, but after a year of being here I knew the Pacific Northwest was the place for me. The creative energy and natural beauty were just too strong, and after five years of school, I jumped right into being a full-time maker.”

Joe in shop - photo from Christine

“Portland in general is a great place for creative folks to do their ‘thing.’ It nurtures craft in every aspect. We pride ourselves on craft brew to craft bikes and even the craft of sea salt!”

Maybe you don’t live in an area with easy access to grounds for tents and trails, or maybe you’re just trying to stave off the compulsion to get a fire going and roast marshmallows on your living room floor; either way, Gibson’s candle serves as a beacon of the great outdoors, the Pacific, Northwest, and the creative community of Portland no matter where you light the wick.

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Maker Stories

From Soup to Scents: Hart Main’s Man Candles

April 3, 2012

Having a great idea is only the first step in building a successful business as a product designer. Hart Main took that step when he was just 13 years old. Hart’s idea came to him while his sister was selling heavily-scented candles in common fragrances for a school fundraiser. He took a whiff of the wax and wondered why no one was making candles in scents that everyone could enjoy.

Now, the young entrepreneur and his family are not only running a business producing Man Candles, candles with less perfumed, flowery smells, they’re also helping to feed the hungry.

Hart is pretty busy, with his business, school, and the swim team, but he took a moment to tell us more about his candles, donating soup, and how kids (and adults) with great ideas can follow in his footsteps.

Q.) What was it like starting a business at a young age?

I was 13 when I got the idea for ManCans, it was late October of 2010. I was really excited at first to get my ideas down on paper and then trying to find ways to accomplish them. At times, though, it can be frustrating when things don’t work out like you planed. Being young, and looking younger, also works against me sometimes. It’s hard to get some adults to take you serious. I can’t drive places without my parents so adults want to talk to them about my business instead of me. And I am not allowed to legally own the business, because I am a minor, so my parents currently own it.

Q.) What was the first scent you developed and why did you choose that scent?

A scent list was my first list of ideas that I wrote down on my laptop. I don’t remember what ones were at the top of that list, but the first three that we bought to start making candles were Fresh Cut Grass, New Mitt, and Campfire.

Hart making candles.

Q.) Why did you decide to make the candles in used soup cans?

I wanted them to be different than most candles you find at a store, in glass jars. This was another brainstorming process and I knew I wanted something that was recycled and easily accessible. We talked about pop cans, sports drinks bottles, and a few other things, but the soup can was just sitting there from the dinner the night before. At the time it seemed a perfect size and easily accessible and inexpensive. At that time there were no plans of donating thousands of cans of soup, that came out of necessity. Looking back, this was a really lucky find for the business, but it has become a core part of my business. All containers that have the ManCans logo on them are recycled food containers [from soup] donated to people who need a little extra help.

Hart opening cans to serve at a soup kitchen.

Q.) What’s your favorite ManCan scent at UncommonGoods?

My favorite scent is Fresh Cut Grass. I like being outside, playing baseball, and playing with friends, and it reminds me of that when I smell it.

Q.) Do you have any advice for other young entrepreneurs?

I get asked this question a lot through email from kids my age that want to start a business or make a difference. I try and answer their questions the best I can related to what they are doing, but I always tell them two things. 1.) Find a way to solve a problem with your business and people will buy your product. 2.) Find a way to give back to your community and they will support you.

‘Manly’ smells: New York Style Pizza, Sawdust, and Fresh Cut Grass

Hart’s creative candles are also available in Coffee, Campfire, and Dirt smells that men (and women) are sure to enjoy.

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