Apogee Candle Co. is one of our newer vendors in the shop and we absolutely adoooore them. From their branding to their scents, you truly can't go wrong! We had the recent honor of interviewing the maker of Apogee. Read on to learn more about how this wonderful brand came about.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I grew up living between California and the Middle East. I loved both places so much. I came back to the U.S. for college and went to architecture school, but kept wandering between different jobs I wanted - graphic design, writing, teaching ceramics, doing construction research, cooking in a restaurant, managing huge projects, whatever felt fun and challenging. I just wanted to do everything (and still do). I love cooking, eating good bread, story-telling, working with my hands, and reading in my hammock.
2. Why did you choose to start making candles?
Apogee started while I was in college. I was terribly homesick, but for more homes than one. I kept trying to find candles with smells that reminded me of any of my "homes", but didn't have much luck. So I decided to start making them. I didn't realize I was starting a business - I felt more like I was story-telling. But it grew and found a loving audience. Scent is really intimate in how it connects to memories we already have, but it can also be part of a narrative you haven't experienced yet. I wanted Apogee to do a little bit of both for me and my customers.
3. Where does the name "Apogee" come from?
"Apogee" means the point in an object's orbit where it is farthest from the center. So when the moon is at its farthest point from the earth, it is at its apogee. That sounded to me like my experience moving around so much - feeling so far from home, like a satellite. It also was about taking my interests and desires as a WOC from the margins of the mainstream and making them the center of the products.
4. What inspires your scents?
Definitely places I've been, or places I want to be. Neroli + Olive Leaf is about the olive groves and citrus orchards I lived near as a teenager and how they smelled when the sun was out. There's definitely a chemical element to what scents go together, so sometimes the scents I want to have don't happen, or need a little bit more imagination to be improved on.
5. What has surprised you the most about running a small business?
Navigating COVID was a huge surprise, like it was for everyone. A lot of makers, including me, had really challenging product shortages and shipping issues. Glass gets backordered for months, USPS was imploding, some oils were backordered, wicks are still hard to find sometimes. The best part is absolutely my customers and my maker friends. They return all the love and then some. I have met amazing people through my small business - the kind of friends that make multiple trips in the middle of the night to haul your market display in their truck, or respond thoughtfully to the 12 ranting voice notes you left them. That includes retailers like Local Nomad - it's always inspiring to connect with other small businesses, find mutual support, and see what cool shit they're up to.