We’re now carrying Good Candle exclusively in Austin. We love the candles’ simple look and sophisticated fragrances, which include Basil, Fig and Lavender. The business is a soy candle operation Jonathan Kroeger started out of his Brooklyn apartment in 2012. Johnathan makes the candles in a studio place in his apartment and a garage space in Crown Heights that he shares with other makers and artists, and then he delivers them across New York City by bike!
Our intern Benton and I came up with some questions for Johnathan. Happy reading!
What were you doing before making candles?
I have a background in industrial design. I was working at a design firm in Union Square in New York City. I was also working for a guy at Brooklyn Flea who sold eyeglasses and vintage knick-knacks.
Were candles something you always wanted to make?
So, I was working for this guy at the flea and he was always encouraging me to sell stuff in his booth. I played around with woodworking, a little basket weaving; really, all kinds of objects. One day I just bought some candle making supplies and started making some on my kitchen stove. Doing the flea was cool because I could perfect the candles while I was there. I could test different fragrances very easily and it gave me about six months to really practice making them.
What was your main goal when launching Good Candle?
Good Candle started because I wanted a candle with a super simple aesthetic and well-thought out materials. It’s the small things. I think our tag sets us apart. It just hangs around the candle. The user can take it off or leave it on. And we hand-stamp and write on each one. It really gives it that handmade feel and makes us slow down to make sure each candle that goes out the door is really a great candle.
Some of the candles have unexpected scents, such as Campfire and Washboard. What inspires these ideas?
All of our fragrances come from my personal experience. Campfire came from being a city dweller for so long and just wanting to smell a wood fire, even if just in the apartment. Lemon Poppy came from my experience at the flea. There’s a local doughnut shop that had a great lemon poppy seed doughnut that I couldn’t help myself from buying every week. And then from there, we work with various fragrances suppliers to get oils with the highest amount of essential oil that emanate fragrance in your room.
Do you plan to expand into other products?
Yeah, we are working on some other products that include some personal care items and some table top decor items. But Good Candle is all about candles so we are working on some new styles and fragrances for the holidays.
I would say that your first attempt may not be the most successful. I tried a bunch of different products before I started making candles. The other thing I’d say is making opportunities for yourself. I went to the flea every weekend for a year and a half and one day I just happened to meet a buyer. I had no idea it would take off!
I think it would involve two studios. A large production space in Brooklyn where we’d make candles, home goods, personal care products, and an old barn upstate where we could work on new creative projects, garden, harvest fragrances, and build bicycles and sailboats.
Thanks for the interview, Johnathan!