Posted: Jun 23 2016
So, to kick off our first “Designer Spotlight”, we decided to feature none other than Traci and Troy Arntsen – the founders of Voluspa candles.
Their story begins back in 1998, when they met on the job. Traci was working for an aromatherapy company, where she educated herself about the chemistry of plants and how fragrances blend. Troy worked for a company importing essential oils used to make perfumes. They fell in love, and a year later, combined their skills by making and hand-pouring candles out of their home in Costa Mesa, California.
In an interview with the OC Register back in 2008, Traci states, "We started cooking candles in our kitchen. We destroyed the microwave and stove in the process. But we learned to make candles.”
Though it took a lot of experimenting, they finally got things right and began packaging the candles in velvet bags that Traci hand-sewed. Saks Fifth Avenue was their first major client and the brand has since grown exponentially.
Prior to the Arntsens obtaining Saks as a client, they sold their homemade candles (then under the name of Flame & Wax) to local businesses. They were on such a tight budget that every check they brought in went immediately into making more candles.
Nevertheless, Traci & Troy remained steadfast and stalwart in their goal of making Voluspa a household name. In the second year, they found marketing niches in boutiques such as Fred Segal in Los Angeles. Real brand recognition came in 2001, when InStyle magazine mentioned the candles. "Sarah Michelle Gellar said she loved Voluspa candles in InStyle," Traci recalls. "When I saw that, I cried." That was only the beginning.
In an age where most candles are filled by machine injection, the Arntsens have chosen to employ a more artisanal practice to the creation of their candles.
Starting at the base – Traci, who takes on the role as the creative director, examines what is going on in fashion, and constantly seeks inspiration for scents from around the world. She carefully crafts the fragrances, drawing from a library of more that 1,000 ingredients like sandalwood and assorted Indian and European botanicals, and perfects each one until it is *just right*. Only then is the candle hand-poured from a large pitcher and decorated in her chic packaging. It’s a labor of love, but both she and her husband are involved in the process the whole way through.
Additionally, Troy developed one of the purest-burning wax formulas in the industry; by using coconut wax, the Voluspa candles are designed so that they do not smoke when burning.
They’ve definitely cornered the market, with a mass celebrity following and an unusual name (pronounced Vuh-lus-pa, meaning “Scandinavian goddess of wisdom”) the popularity of Voluspa candles keeps rising.
Today, the duo has since expanded to a family of five, living with their three girls (Paloma, Anise and Poppy) in Southern California while constantly taking care of their fourth child – Voluspa.
Although we may be a bit biased since we share the same locale, we’d be swooning over these candles no matter where they originated. The coolest part is – both Traci and Troy had an idea, a vision, and decided to just go for it. It took them almost a year of experimenting with designs, finessing scents and packaging…. But it paid off, literally. Their company took years to get where they are today, but they never gave up and they are constantly creating. We love that.
So to all you Bridget’s out there – what dream do you have? What baby steps can you take daily to make it a reality?
P.S. A variety of Voluspa candles can be found at all No Rest for Bridget stores!