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Tamara Mayne of Brooklyn Candle Studio

The botanical bougie founder waxes lyrical on her small batch approach and caring for candles.

One of our absolute favourite things of all time is candles. To gift and to receive. To burn on our bedside tables and to make a new environment feel like home when we travel. But after years of coveting cleverly marketed designer offerings that were expensive and mass made, we decided to turn our focus to seeking out eco-friendly brands that cherished the beauty of handmade articles. Especially ones that were crafted without the use of toxic chemicals or inferior ingredients.

Then came a happy discovery: Brooklyn Candle Studio. Born out of founder Tamara Mayne’s New York apartment in 2012, her 100 per cent soy wax candles are non-toxic and made from beans that are domestically grown — which allows for more affordable price points. Instead of harmful lead core wicks that release toxins you unknowingly inhale, Tamara chose cotton core ones which are lead- and zinc-free. “We also opt not to use any dyes, additives or preservatives,” says Tamara.

And though soy candles don’t hold scents as well as paraffin wax, all of Brooklyn Candle Studio’s products are mixed with phthalate-free fragrances and essential oils before being cured to completion — meaning delicate aromas that permeate and uplift.

Did we mention that we’re also in love with the brand’s gold-burnished and mason jar cases, as well as the black and white illustrations and typography labels?

Here, our aspirational one-on-one with Tamara and how she lighted up her entrepreneurial path.

Tamara in her Brooklyn studio

Tamara in her Brooklyn studio, where every candle is hand poured and made in batches of nine to 10 at a time

“We use 100 per cent all-natural soy wax because it is non-toxic and burns cleaner than paraffin.”

Brooklyn Candle Studio's new scent Wild Peony

Brooklyn Candle Studio’s latest scent for spring — Wild Peony, a dreamy and airy balance of floral and citrus notes

The illustrations on your candles are beautiful. What is your relationship with plants and herbs like?

Rather than the aromas they give off, I have a deep appreciation for being around plants and herbs, and I like the calming feeling that comes from being in nature.

What do you love most about 19th century apothecary?

I love the old school feel of the bottles and the authenticity of the graphic design. I find it fascinating that everything was done by hand or printed using traditional printing techniques.

Why are soy-based candles a more sustainable ingredient, and how does it lend to cleaner burning?

We use 100 per cent all-natural soy wax because it is non-toxic and burns cleaner than paraffin. Soy emits no toxic petrol-carbon soot. Soy candles also burn about 30 to 50 per cent longer than paraffin, or about six to eight hours per ounce. Soy can be regrown and hence does not use up the earth’s precious resources. The soy beans from which our wax is derived is also domestically grown so they naturally have a reduced carbon footprint when travelling to us.

Brooklyn Candle Studio's glass mason jars
Brooklyn Candle Studio's gift wrapping service

Brooklyn Candle Studio’s box sets are beautifully packaged and great for gifting

What are some details you wished you’d see more of in today’s methods of hand poured candles?

More attention to detail and more testing. Cleaner surfaces, better scent throw and a cleaner burn.

What are some stark differences between candles that are prepared in small batches, as opposed to ones that are commercially prepared?

Usually, candles that are commercially prepared are done using machinery, so not much attention is paid to each individual candle, the aesthetic and burn quality. The overall temperature when fragrance is poured in and mixed is also not as closely monitored.

As small batch candle makers, we make sure our candles are not only aesthetically beautiful with clean surfaces, but that the wicks are perfectly centred and secure; that the fragrance is evenly distributed throughout the candle and extensively tested to ensure that the scent fills a room well. 

What is the process of making a hand poured candle from start to finish?

Four words: wick, mix, pour, wait!

“As small batch candle makers, we make sure our candles have clean surfaces, that the wicks are perfectly centred and secure, and extensively tested to ensure that the scent fills a room well.”

Brooklyn Candle Studio's gold-brushed travel tin sets

Dainty illustrations adorn the brand’s gold-burnished candle cases

Any favourite scents or concoctions that you love?

I love woodsy notes mixed with sweet or floral notes, like our cedarwood vanilla or Rose, which is Rose with a touch of sandalwood.

What is the best way to use and care for a candle?

Make sure wicks are cut to a quarter inch each time before lighting it, and always burn the candle for an hour per inch in diameter the first time to establish even burns. That means for a three-inch diameter, you should burn the candle for three hours. And follow candle safety guidelines

What does conscious living mean to you?

Reducing waste and being aware of how you are affecting the environment in everything you do — from what you throw in the trash to what you buy. 

A trio of gold-brushed travel tin candles

Gold travel candles come in grounding, therapeutic scents like Sweet Fig, Fern + Moss and Green Tea Lemongrass

Images courtesy of Brooklyn Candle Studio