Crave Candles’ story—from a 280 kitchen sink to Saks Fifth Ave

Crave Candles’ story—from a 280 kitchen sink to Saks Fifth Ave

Google and Apple started in a garage—Crave Candles Co. started in a kitchen sink.


Now, the Birmingham-based brand is not only found in local stores around the city, but major retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue, Cracker Barrel and others carry Crave Candles. Here’s what sparked the match for owner Lori Newell’s inspiration.


Despite the brand’s luxury status today, Crave Candles, like many others’ huge success stories, had humble beginnings.


“I started making candles and blending fragrances in my kitchen sink. And from the very beginning, I thought ‘I’m going to take this brand and make it known across the country,'" said Newell.


Soon, candles covered Lori’s life. Her condo on Highway 280 was like a game of hot lava. Except instead of trying to avoid stepping on the floor, you were dodging candles filling up every flat surface in the house.


So how did condo candles turn into a brand bought by international retailers like Saks? What makes Crave Candles different?


First, smell one of Lori’s candles and try asking that question again. Second, Crave Candles creates for the consumer (that’s you!).


“We do everything we can to make sure the quality of the candle is really good and you get your money’s worth. It’s a slow burn," said Newell.


"It’s a soy candle, but it’s luxurious because we put a very high fragrance load into every candle that we have," she added. "You’re going to get your money’s worth and you’re going to love it. You buy one, you’re going to buy another one.”


Lori’s quality candles caught the eye, or should we say nose, of prominent buyers after she started attending trade shows in cities like Atlanta, Dallas, Las Vegas and Chicago.


She quickly built clients and the brand catapulted out of her kitchen. It only took six months for her to move operations from her home into Crave Candles’ first warehouse.


If you talk with Lori, it’s clear she can do anything she decides to tackle. We had to know why candles became her calling.


“I love making people’s home smell great," Newell stated. "It’s comforting. There are so many things a candle can do. It makes your home warm and inviting. It can lift your spirits. I love being part of all of that.”


It’s true—candles are an emotional product. When you walk into a store and pick one up deciding whether to bring it home or not, you smell it first to see how it makes you feel.


They’re an item that’s been around for 5,000 years and transitioned from utility to having a different kind of need.


“Fragrance brings out a lot of emotions. If you’re sad, light a candle. If you’re happy, light a candle. If you’re celebrating, light a candle. If you’re feeling romantic, light a candle. There are so many things that they can do.”


Another emotional aspect of life? Gifts. Candles and presents go hand in hand. They remind people of a certain someone or bring extra joy into a person’s life.


Lori knows candles do more than make a room smell fantastic, which is why she's recently introduced the Candle Club.


Like Crave Candles’ 50+ hours of burn time, gifting the club to a loved one is giving a gift that lasts.


“The Candle Club is made for people that love candles and love our candles," Newell said. "They can give it to their mom, they can give it to themselves. They get a candle going to their house once a month—chances are they buy a candle once a month anyway.


"It’s a great subscription because you’re getting a great luxury soy candle, she added. "You’re getting our very best our top-selling fragrances that have already been chosen. It allows you to choose more fragrances so that you can continue to burn the candles in your home.”

When you subscribe for $30/month, the Club mails a new scent to the house of your choosing each month.

Although Crave Candles is now sold across the country, Birmingham plays a huge role in the company. The Steel City Collection, for example, takes direct inspiration from Birmingham’s history.


Also, since Crave Candles is Birmingham-based, it employs locals and creates jobs for the area. Speaking of local, the brand is a staple seller in many small Birmingham businesses.


“We have some really great stores here in Birmingham that have been with us from the very beginning…They have been very, very good at supporting us and supporting local," Newell said.


"Even though we’re an international brand, we still are a homegrown company and we love Birmingham. And we’ll always be that way," concluded Newell.


Read the full story from here.

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