Maybe you don’t know it, but there are a ton of bookish stores out on the interwebs. Erin and I have been trying to think of a way to bring them to you your attention for quite some time… we know not all of you are on instagram and twitter… so we’re trying a new feature!
This week we’re talking with Natalie from Alchemy & Ink Candles. If you’re reading this blog, then you love books and if you love books, you’re also going to love her candles. They are gorgeous and bookish related and well… I’ll let you check out some more details for yourself! Check out our interview with Natalie below!
Well I have been an avid reader all my life, my parents used to get mad at me for “reading too much” and make me go play outside! Anyways, I was tired of my corporate job that took me away from my family half the year and wanted to combine my love of books with a fun business! I had been making regular candles for a while, as presents during the holidays, and thought why not combine my love of books with my candle making skills. I probably sat on the idea for a year or so before I actually had the guts to quit my job and open the business. I am so excited that I took that leap of faith!
As for the name, I wanted something that was unique and reflected my love of books and candles! The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho is one of my favorite books and actually candle making seems very similar to alchemy when you think about it! One of the definitions of alchemy according to dictionary.com is “any magical power or process of transmuting a common substance,usually of little value, into a substance of great value.” If that isn’t candle making I don’t know what is 😉
How did you get your start in candlemaking?
Well I started just making candles for friends and family during the holidays, but one year I made the girls in my book club some “bookish candles” and I never really stopped!
How long has Alchemy & Ink been open?
Alchemy & Ink has been open for a month now and I have been absolutely blown away by everyone’s support! When I opened I thought I would sell maybe 10 candles the first month and I just passed my 200th sale on Etsy! I honestly cannot say thank you enough to those who have supported and continue to support this little business of mine.
Why bookish candles?
Reading was such an escape for me as a child, and even now as an adult. I’ve always loved being transported to new worlds and meeting new friends in the pages of my favorite books. Books have always consumed my life and so it was kind of a natural next step to take. There were already so many AMAZING bookish candle shops open that I was a little intimidated at first, but I just tried my best to make something fun and unique! I thought with my background as a graphic designer I could bring something new to my labels, and I really wanted to use wood wicks in my candles because I absolutely LOVE the crackling and cozy atmosphere they project.
Can you tell us about your process in coming up with the concept for a new candle?
Well, I try to make sure I have a good mixture of unique candles that no one else has, as well as popular candles that I know are going to fly off the shelves. My favorite way to come up with a new candle is to get input from my followers on Instagram! I mean I have ideas of the candles I want to make, but I love hearing from my followers about what they want to see. After all, their opinion is the most important. So basically, these are the steps… 1. Make a list of candles I want to see come to the shop 2. Poll my Instagram followers 3. Put together my favorites, as well as my followers favorites 4. Start ordering and testing scents 5. Design the label 6. Put the candle into production
What does a typical day of candlemaking look like for you?
Every day is different really! It all just depends on when my shipments of wax/fragrance oils/supplies come in. When my fragrance oils arrive, I usually spend the whole day making as many candle batches as physically possible. Those are my most exhausting days for sure. I like to let the candles cure a few days (the longer your candle cures, the stronger the scent throw) and then I begin the labeling & packaging process. After that whirlwind, I try to clean up my studio, get things organized and prepare for the next shipment! During all this I’m also answering emails from clients as well as managing my social media pages, so it can get hectic really fast. But I enjoy doing it and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
How long does it take to create a new candle and scent?
If I’ve already read the book the candles based on, and made scent notes, then usually about a week. First thing I’ll do is start playing around with scents I already have order in some new ones if I don’t have anything in stock. After I’ve figured out the scent I’ll start designing the label (which is my absolute favorite part). If everything works together, I’ll put the candle up on Etsy and start making bigger batches.
What are some of your favorite bookstagram accounts?
Oh my gosh this is so hard! I love following so many people on bookstagram and I’ve made some incredible friends on here! In no particular order, here are some of my favorite people to follow and chat with! @ihaveabookproblem @literaturarian @jesreadsbooks @jessislibrary @justmybookishlife @readxings @wordmewrite @thedogearedpage @caterburyroadco @rheya_reads @bibliotrix.lestrange @nerdy_obsessed_bookworm @tobebread @noteworthy_novels @myfriendsarefiction @starsabovejess and about a million more!
What is your favorite candle/book combination you’ve made so far?
Oh that’s a tough one! That’s like choosing a favorite child haha. I’d have to say my Deathless candle based on the book, Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente, is my favorite book/candle combo! The book is so moody and dark, and based on one of my favorite Russian fairytales and I think I did an excellent job making a candle that reflects the tone of the book. It’s truly one of my favorite scents!
Oh man there are so many great books coming up that I can’t wait to make candles for! An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao, The Cruel Prince by Holly Black and The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo.
Can you give us some spoilers on anything new we can expect in your store?
Well this week I am revealing A TON of new Autumn and Halloween scents on my Instagram stories. Those should be up for pre order this weekend 🙂 I’ve got a really cool Gothic Horror collection planned, I’m a Gothic Lit nerd so I am just SO excited to get those out there. Also, I’m hoping to reveal our 4oz black tins soon… eeeekkk! I’m so excited to offer these for people who want to try out a smaller version of the scent or for those international customers who can’t afford the shipping on our bigger 8oz jars! Yay!
Would you like to learn more about Alchemy & Ink? Make sure you check out Natalie’s Etsy store – She has some gorgeous candles available and she just announced her fall line on her instagram so make sure to check her out there too!
Do you have a store that you would like featured here? Just let us know by filling out this quick form and we’ll be in touch!