We know that putting together an entire Thanksgiving menu can be exhausting…let Upward Projects help you whip up some special treats that your guests will LOVE!
Standard Wax is an awesome local company that creates beautifully scented candles in handmade ceramic vessels. Once you burn through your candle you can ship it back to Standard Wax for a refill OR use the ceramic log in a new way. To celebrate Earth Day, we teamed up with Standard Wax to show you our favorite way to reuse our ceramic logs!
Where do you get your inspiration for your candle scents?
We try to stay away from your typical scents and really make people say, “wait what?” when we talk about the scents. You won’t find a “Baked Sugar Cookie” or “Ocean Breeze” scent here! We are super inspired by the outdoors (as you can probably tell from the log containers), so that’s where a lot of our scents originate. Citrus + Black Currant reminds us so much of spring time in Phoenix with all of the grapefruit trees blooming! We added the black currant to make it unique and different, and get people thinking about what else is going on in the scent. Leather +Tobacco came from time spent in cabins up North. That smell of the rustic leather furniture and cigars! Brings back so many memories.
Are you entirely self-taught? If not, where did you learn about your craft?
We are both self-taught! Andrew has been working with ceramics as a hobby for over 10 years. When we met, he was making planters and I wanted to buy some for Christmas gifts. Looking at them, I said “those would look really cool with candles in them” and Andrew replied, “then learn how to make candles”. So I did, and it wasn’t easy! So much trial and error, research, etc. The result was some really gross candles for a while. But as we kept trying new processes and ingredients, we finally had our aha moment and the product you see today is the result! It’s taken over two years to get the candle making down, as well as get the ceramic containers to a place where we can make enough to meet demand and still maintain a consistent look to them.
Do you have any advice for other entrepreneurs who might not have a ton of experience in their chosen field?
Just keep trying! Our first several sets of candles were tragically disgusting. But we kept trying new things and never let the setbacks stop us. Reach out to people that can help you. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Network!
What is your favorite part about being a small business owner?
Seeing the community that we’re growing and connecting with people that love our products. I love seeing how our company impacts the lives of people we don’t even know! We are so lucky to be able to do something we love, that also makes other people happy.
What’s the coolest re-use you’ve ever seen using the amazing containers that house your candles?
Kitchen ingredients and supplies! Imagine a few pots lined up in the kitchen: one with coarse salt, one with a fresh potted herb and another with kitchen utensils. SO cute.
What’s next for Standard Wax?
We’ve got a few surprises up our sleeves when it comes to making it fun and easy to re-purpose our ceramic containers! We’re also super pumped for our next show, Unique LA on May 3-4. We’ve done it before and its just incredible. So many creative businesses under one roof. It’s hard to not buy everything there!
At Upward Projects we love to see our staff thrive both professionally and personally. For this series we’ve teamed up with some of our talented staff members to learn a new skill.
Gardening in Arizona is truly unique because you can grow fresh produce year-round. Many of our staff members take advantage of the beautiful Arizona weather and grow lush gardens at home. Olivia Girard and I talked about how she gardens and she shared some insight about how to start your own home garden.
First and foremost, you should make mistakes! The only way to truly learn what will and will not work in your garden is through trial and error; so don’t be afraid to take chances.
When starting a garden, the most important part is your soil. Olivia recommends digging out 1 ft. of dirt then replacing it with compost and bit of the original dirt. Her tool of choice is a digging fork, which also helps with proper drainage in this tough Arizona soil.
If you’re planting from seeds, water them from above. Olivia uses her hose to give the seeds a healthy drink of water so they can sprout and grow. If you’re planting with starter plants from your local nursery, it’s best to water them using bubblers to avoid leaf damage. If you’re using starter plants, Olivia recommends watering them very well to avoid root shock.
Another great tip Olivia shared with us was to plant a mixed garden. You want to encourage nature to interact with your garden (bugs can be good!) so plant flowers with your produce. If you find that the bugs are eating your garden, mix a bit of soap with water and spray the plants liberally.
Feeling lost? Need help? The people at your local nursery are full of knowledge and are enthusiastic about helping you grow the best garden possible. Again, don’t be afraid to experiment and make mistakes! It’s extremely rewarding to grow and eat your own produce.