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Alex Hughes, Executive Producer Jordan Walker , Executive Producer Dani Sklarz, Producer
“Shop Small” is a series where we speak to founders of small businesses discussing how their products and services address the needs of the members of the communities in which the founders identify.
One of the quickest ways to make your home feel extra cozy is to light a scented candle. Queer Candle Company is a queer-owned business that makes high quality scented candles while also giving back to the community.
Co-founders Ab and Al started making candles together in 2017 and never expected their hobby to become a business. “I had just moved into my own apartment. I was having a lot of fun decorating and Ab thought that I was spending too much money on candles from Target so they got me a candle-making set so that we could make candles together as a hobby,” Al tells In The Know.
Ab and Al ended up having so much fun making candles, they decided to start selling them casually. When their candle business started taking off, they were both shocked. Al recalls, “We just posted about it on our personal pages, then we sold out of our initial inventory in 24 hours and we were like, ‘Okay maybe this is a thing we can do.’”
Since those early days, Ab and Al have refined their candle-making process. Their candles are all made with 100% domestically grown soy wax, non-toxic and pthalamathe-free fragrances, and 100% cotton wicks. They delight in developing creative scents, like Oak Musk and Redwoods, that are inspired by the natural world.
“Oak Musk for me is one of my top choices,” Ab tells In The Know. “I like those earthier, muskier, woodsier scents. And Oak Musk is also topped with fern, and I just think that it is a really nice accent.”
From the start, the duo wanted their queerness to be part of their brand identity. They named the company Queer Candle Company in part so that members of the queer community would immediately recognize their business as a welcoming space. “We chose Queer Candle Co. as a name because we wanted to get a bunch about us out real fast,” Ab explains. “So a customer comes up to our booth or sees our website online and they know what we’re about right off the bat.”
Queer Candle Company gives back to the community by donating 10% of their profits to the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, a non-profit organization that works to guarantee all people the freedom to self-determine their gender identity and gender expression. They also make hiring from within the queer community a priority. When asked about the future of Queer Candle Company, Ab told In The Know that their goal was to keep growing the company in order to create more jobs and continue to give back to the LGBTQ+ community.
“We really love being able to work with queer folks and we want to be job creators,” Ab explains. “If we’re able to make money off of our hard work, we want to redistribute that to the community in any way we can, and a sustainable way to do that is to hire folks that we like to work with, that we want to work with, and that are part of the LGBTQ+ community.”
Queer Candle Company candles are available to buy online. If you’re interested in purchasing one or more of these delightful candles, use the promo code ITK2021 for 10% off your purchase.