What do You Perceive to be a Luxury Candle?

When (UnEarthed®) first set out to make a premium product, we had been making scented candles for over 20 years but we hadn’t attempted what we perceived as premium. To begin, we purchased one of every Googleable luxury candle on the market.  How exciting, right? How often is it that you get an open wallet to buy everything? When the shipments started coming in, it felt like Christmas! That is until we got to the "burning part".  The first product was probably the most popular “premium” candle on the market.  It was a gift set of votive candles. Upon opening the box, a mild waft of scent came from within.  A little surprising for an “opening experience” where we were expecting something powerful.   

Was this a Mistake?

Famous Names Don't Fool Us

I thought, “Hmm, that’s odd. Shouldn’t premium fragrance cold-carry?” (how strong the candle is when it’s cold/not lit).  Was this a mistake? The tiny dust-covers on the votive candles, were smudged and wet with wax mixed with oil. Then again, I knew what I was looking at was a box full of Chinese candles.  Call it a woman's intuition, but I’ve been solicited by enough Chinese candle companies to know what one looks like. Does that mean it’s a bad candle? No, but it does mean I paid over $40 for a box of soy that probably took about $5 to make.

I Knew it Was from China

I burned the candles and smelled nothing, which made the $40 price point hurt even more.  The second box came in.  I really liked the packaging, but again, I knew it was from China.  The fragrance was beautiful until I lit it. Then it was non-existent.  Was this an early trend? I moved on to the third package. The “opening experience” was wonderful!  The glass was really interesting too. The scent was less than impressive but it did seem average for what I had

The Wax Blend Was Muddy

experienced so far.  The wax was a pre-blend (high-dollar, multiple waxes, pre-mixed from the manufacturer). The opening experience was really all this one had going.  When I burned it I found it just wouldn’t... burn that is. Imagine that! $42 for a candle that only offered a little glimmer of warmth on a white ash.  That meant the wax blend was too muddy (all kinds of “stuff” to make the wax look good) or the fragrance percentage was too high and we know that wasn’t so.  Anyway, at least I had the glass to appreciate, right?  Stop wasting money on over-priced, "premium" products.

$800.00??? ARE PEOPLE CRAZY??

A few more days passed and two more came in.  The first of these two was an import, but not from China.  It was from France. This was the best of all the premium candles that came in that week. Good opening experience and nice glass but painted from the inside out; gold no less.  The scent was clearly a very complex, fine fragrance. The burn was even satisfying in my opinion (melt pool/soot/flame). My biggest issue with this candle was the amount of candle you get for the money.  $80-$112 (depending on where you buy it) which made it $10-12 per ounce.  That’s very little. But hey, recently I’ve noticed plain clear, glass, “premium” candles selling online, upwards of  $800  (are people crazy??),  so why not, right?


Over-priced imports

Do you really think it cost that much to make the product or most other luxury products on the market for all that matters?  Whatever the case, this was the only candle, of the 15-20 candles we burned, that lived up to what a luxury candle should be. It just wasn’t enough product to justify the price but it was imported from France so it does get a partial pass due to the fact that it went through several mark-ups prior to reaching the consumer’s hands.  As the candles continued to come in, they just didn’t burn or throw  properly.

The problem with our luxury candle market is we’re working with companies (experienced mostly in marketing) who decide, “I think I’ll get into the luxury candle market”.  They fashion a nice design, have it filled with soy wax in China, pay less than $5 for the entire package and then market it as luxury, hiking the price as high as they think the market will pay and BAM… luxury candle.  Now I was clear on the fact that our skills were far above the challenge of premium and that we were actually getting ready to create a niche that did not yet exist.  We were going to create a luxury candle, poured in the US, filled with fine fragrance, and lots of it, with a lasting burn quality to die for and fragrance that would throw through an entire house.  The thing that would set UnEarthed® apart from all others was that we would NOT price these premium products unrealistically.

A Premium Candle with a Normal Price..

For years, we’ve gone to great lengths to make sure every aspect of our product is as good as it gets, from the naturalistic wax blend to the fragrance quality and power. What makes UnEarthed® candles a premium product from the start, is the fact that we think in terms of premium, just naturally.  We care about what people burn in their homes and we are meticulous about never adding chemicals that don’t belong. Candles don’t need microcrystalline or stearic acid to burn.  They need those things to appear to be wax without flaws, which in itself is not natural and makes the candle polluted and muddy.


a search for true luxury candles2

 Fine Ingredients and a Beautiful Presentation.  We take, literally, years, testing and sampling waxes and fragrances to get just the right blend.  My favorite UnEarthed® fragrance (Willow™)  took five years to find the right scent at just the right level of complexity.  We spent nearly the same time with Augustus, Vanilla Robusto and Lilium.  Those are our luxury packaged candles.  Why do we do all of this? Because it’s what we would want from a premium candle.  We hope you enjoy UnEarthed® as much as we do.  We also listen carefully to our customers so drop us a quick note.  We would love to hear what you would like to smell! In the meantime, here are some of my go-to fragrances in the UnEarthed® line:  Crema di Lavanda, Grand Valencia™ (very masculine) and Crystal Waters & Sea Salt™. These are all power-players in our realm of premium.  

Lisa Clark, Fragrance Designer