Tamara Mayne has a big family. There are family members in New York, Virginia, California... so you can imagine when it came to big holidays like Christmas, it is nearly impossible to get everyone a gift, not to mention a thoughtful one.
Gifting is strangely what led Tamara to candle-making. Browsing the aisles of a New York City Michael’s crafts store during the holiday season of 2012, she glanced at an at-home candle making kit. The wheels started turning… a gift that was practical, personal and used her creative skills? It was a q-wick sell.
She admits that her first experiments were “just a disaster.” She took the kit home to her studio apartment on the Lower East Side, only to realize she needed jars. She bought 24 jars of tomato sauce at a local Trader Joe’s, which she poured out into Ziploc bags and proceeded to soak in the tub to remove the labels. Most people would’ve given up at this point, but not Tamara. The challenge only made her more invested.
After rave reviews from her family, she started experimenting with scents, aromatherapy and wax types and temperatures. At her day job as a designer and fashion art director, she would steal moments away to design candle labels or launch packaging. But things really took off when she opened an Etsy shop, the official opening of Brooklyn Candle Studio in 2013. Less than a year had passed since making her first candle, but orders streamed in as more and more people learned of her aesthetically pleasing product. Within months, an order for 1,000+ candles came in—it was time for her to take her hot idea and leave her day job.
Tamara’s candles stand out not only for their exquisite perfume and packaging. Sustainability is at the core of the business – each product is 100% soy wax, derived from American-grown soy beans and lead-free cotton wicks. The candles are preservative and petroleum-free, cruelty-free and vegan, and the jars and packaging are all recyclable. And Tamara carefully curates the collection of makers who influence the product, from the perfumers (who spend 6-8 months experimenting per scent) to the packaging engineers to the glassmakers.
Tamara claims still can’t believe that the whole thing started as a simple gift for her family members. But you understand that the company is backed by a burning passion when you hear her wax poetic about the benefits of a good candle.