A candle may just be the perfect gift. Simple, useful, and versatile; it’s hard to imagine someone being upset at being given one. With the holiday season approaching fast, gift giving and holiday decorating are coming to the forefront of our minds, so I had a chat with Heather Larson founder of Moody Girl Candles. Heather and her husband JJ run the business out of their home in Long Beach, where they hand pour each candle and cultivate scents. First, I needed to know: how does one get into candle making?
“I started making candles in 2009 because I love to get crafty when it comes to gift giving. Once I started, I fell in love with the process and found it very therapeutic.” It is easy to imagine the process being therapeutic, working with one’s hands and enjoying some very pleasant scents. JJ was actually the one who came up with the name “Moody Girl”. At that time, they were just dating, but that didn’t stop JJ from being involved in the process. He also helped design their simple and chic logo. “I always told him I wanted something minimal but slightly edgy. Since he came up with such a good name I had full confidence he would deliver on packaging. I trusted him since this was his full-time job for over a decade. In the end we both just wanted an aesthetic that wasn’t traditional in this market and I think we got it.”
Their minimalist packaging let’s a Moody Girl candle slide into any room and match seamlessly with the décor. While they do have seasonal scents, Heather is currently working on Mistletoe for the holidays, there’s no shame in burning any scent year-round. “Our most popular scent is Pacific Northwest and Oakmoss Amber. My all-time favorite has to be PNW all year round. It gives me a feeling of home plus it’s where my husband is from.” The Pacific Northwest scent is lovely, with notes like lemon peel and evergreen coming through and complimented by earthier scents like moss. It, like all Moody Girl candles, burns with a cherry wood wick. Something that, while becoming more popular recently, is still not the standard for candles. “We love the crackle, the horizontal line, and they are so special. Candles are romantic already, but add a wooden wick and it’s magic.”
This year things are a little bit different, there’s no ignoring that fact, but even more so for the Moody Girl team. Not only are they dealing with Covid, they also welcomed a new member of the family this year in the form of their infant son! “Honestly it’s been hard. That saying ‘sleep when they sleep’ drives me crazy. I wish! I’ve been setting up the wicks, labeling, and emails during the day and when my husband comes home from work I’ll pour the candles. I get done around 10pm in time for a quick shower and to feed him again. I feel so blessed to be able to work from home and get to spend so much time with Leo. He has given me a whole new reason to keep this business growing. I have goals to have Moody Girls pay for his school and maybe one day he will want to make candles with me.” Not only has this year given her more time with her son, but self-isolating due to the pandemic allowed Heather to grow the business. “Before Covid I worked as a server at Open Sesame for over 10 years. I would come home exhausted and make candles. Being pregnant, I decided to stay home when everything happened in March. It was a scary time being that we were immune compromised. The candles started to pick up and because I wasn’t at the restaurant, I was able to fulfill orders like never before. We built new relationships and offered free delivery in Long Beach.”
People have come together in an inspiring way during the pandemic. Supporting small businesses and getting take out from their favorite local spot as often as they can. Moody Girl Candles has seen similar support and one of Heather’s favorite parts of making candles is the response she gets from customers. “We get the sweetest messages. We had nurses tell us that our candles were what they looked forward to coming home from a long day of dealing with Covid. I had a mom tell me her kid with asthma never could be around candles except for mine. One woman told me she suffers from migraines and Moody Girl Candles are the only candles she doesn’t get one from. I’ve made mistakes and we have customers from the beginning stick with us and give us honest feedback, I’ll always appreciate that. The journey of this process has been up and down, but our customers have always been what keeps me going.”
Scent is our most powerful memory sense and has a palpable effect on us. So, a nice candle can really turn your day around, bring you peace, or even bring back happy memories. Moody Girl Candles intends on doing that safely and beautifully. “There are a lot of candles out there that are toxic. It’s disturbing they are still on the market. If you are a candle lover I would highly suggest researching what you are lighting. If it says coconut blend or soy blend, they could be using paraffin which is a carcinogen. We use pure coconut wax. We don’t use blends. If a candle isn’t labeled coconut, soy, or beeswax it’s most likely paraffin.”
Ordering a candle from Moody Girl is easy, though I will warn you their popular scents do go fast! You can order the through the Marketplace to see all of their year-round and seasonal scents you can visit moodygirlcadles.com. When you buy anything from a local business you aren’t just helping the owner, you’re keeping money in your community. If you are able to, shop small this holiday season, and don’t forget to treat yourself a little too.