Melissa from 1820 is equal parts cool + creative. Her studio in a small town in Ohio creates the best candles ever made. Period. The Indian Summer candle is our "house scent." Is that a thing? It is now. Her studio space is equal parts vintage, rock 'n roll and cozy.
Melissa and I connected through Instagram and while we've never met in person (how is that possible?), it's like we've known each other for years. Read below to learn more about her craft, why quality matters and what she's excited for in the design world.
How did you become a candle maker?
1820 (@1820house) was born out of a love of agriculture, music, design and quite honestly, as a side gig I had, selling 18th century antiques and decor. I wanted to make something of my own and started slinging wax on the stove top until I finally had a formula that seemed to work. At the time I also had a job working at General Motors, so all of it was a way for me to keep creative. It wasn't until I was laid off that I decided to try my hand at running a small shop in out town, just in time for the recession in 2008. Great timing!
It was at that moment I realized that the one thing that kept selling and made people happy were my candles, so I decided to become a candle maker full time. I invested in having my candles branded professionally and the gamble paid off. With the first collection, I landed sales with West Elm in Brooklyn and Vancouver markets, later with Anthropologie and some amazing small across the country. The growth has been steady ever since and I'm always looking to become better.
Favorite candles for fall.
Adirondack Autumn, my newest limited edition candle. It smells like sitting by a campfire sipping a whiskey in the mountains.
Indian Summer, which is quintessential fall…apples, spice, dew on the leaves.
Birchbark Toasted Marshmallow is a favorite of mine as well, it has the toasted sweet marshmallow but you can definitely smell the wood char from the stick!
What do we need to know about shopping for candles? What should we look for?
People tend to look for 3 things:
- They want it to look beautiful, clean and blend into their spaces.
- They want it to be affordable but look luxurious.
- They want it to smell amazing, without being overwhelming.
What you need to know is not all candles are created equal. You should look for candles that are 100% plant or soy based. Many manufacturers are selling candles claiming they are natural, organic or soy based and may only have 65% content. I am not big on the use of "organic", there is no regulation for this and once you change the organic soybean to a wax and add fragrance, it's no longer an organic product.
Who are some of your favorite creatives?
Christian Watson from 1924 (@1924us). I paid him for some marketing/photography specifically targeted for Instagram with like minded talents and he has since then achieved so many amazing things. He has done work for big names, written books and has done some fantastic things and hasn't even turned 30 yet?!?!
Jess LeLievre of Triple Seven Home (@triplesevenhome). She was in that early 1924 group and has her designer lighting in some of the most amazing spaces. She's super cool, has one of the most beautiful workspaces I've seen and I just really admire her work.
I'd also like to add, Ohio has countless numbers of talented entrepreneurs....it's hard to pick just 3.
What are you excited about in the design world right now?
I'm obsessing over Nest Catskills' Scandinavian compact prefab houses and getaway tiny cabins. Where were these when people were looking at those mobile homes?!?!
I am loving the mixing of vintage and modern. Living in a 200 year old home, I'm happy that there is a balance and I can still have some mid century pieces and they seem to blend in effortlessly with my antiques.
Anything big you are working on and excited about?
I'm currently working on using some heavy glass to create limited edition candles for the fall and holiday. I'm proud to be using local businesses to do the screen print on the glass and the letterpress cap. These candles will be special and a great gift or something special to keep for yourself.
I also have some ideas brewing that involve my love for music, vintage vinyl and some of my favorite lyrics. You'll notice this is a big influence for me!
Be sure to check out more form 1820 online, they make the best gifts and come in the prettiest packaging. We already loaded up our cart and placed an order before her limited edition candles sell out.