It's hard to believe that I'm a huge candle lover, since I haven't featured many makers in the past year (insert sarcasm). It's been a journey finding clean, cruelty free, and vegan brands, that follow my ethics, and create amazing candles that last just as long as I remember B&BW candles lasting. Oh wait, they don't last. Well, if you're someone who also hates how short spanned candles live, and you want cleaner ingredients, and non toxic candles, I've got your back.
A To Z Candles had been on my list for over a year, before I finally caved and made a purchase. What really pushed me was the car freshner, as I was an avid B&BW consumer prior to being more green. I immediately picked up a candle, the car freshner and some mini samples to try out other scents. Well, the candle I picked up in Hippie Potion is me in a candle. And the car freshner, everyone needs to try!
Now that I've talked up the products, let's chit chat with Amanda, and get to know how the brand came to be.
A To Z Candles is a pretty simple name, but how did it come to be the name of your brand?
My daughter was brainstorming when she came up with the perfect name. A for Amanda (me) and Z for Zoe (her) “Plus you make scents from A to Z, Mom” I can’t take the credit, it was all her!
As someone who only uses soy wax for your candles and wax melts, how does this decision help not only you making the candles, but your consumers?
I made the decision to use pure soy wax because palm wax wasn’t an option for me due to sustainability, and paraffin was out because the petroleum is so bad for you to breathe. Soy was my solution because it supports farmers, doesn’t typically trigger allergies or asthma, and it burns slower than other waxes.
Before making your own candles, I can imagine you were a B&BW and Yankee Candle consumer, are there any candles you loved from them that you haven't been able to dupe?
I haven’t been able to dupe Yankee Candles Midnight Jasmine and it really bums me out. I know it will come up someday, though!
Speaking of dupes, you create a lot of candle dupes for popular scents from brands like Lush, B&BW, and Yankee Candle to name a few. What has been your favorite dupe to create since starting your brand?
My favorite dupe is Midsummer Night from Yankee. It was my favorite scent as a teen and I am so happy I can make my very own version of it now!
You're a strictly cruelty free and vegan brand, how do you go about making sure the supplies you use are also following the same lifestyle you follow?
Being vegan myself, I am very serious about making sure my suppliers do not test on animals. I check with my suppliers every six months to make sure they haven’t made any policy changes. If I don’t hear back, or I don’t like their answer, I stop using them. I also do not use any dyes in my candles, since they sometimes can be animal derived.
Although you make your own candles, wax melts, car fresheners, and room sprays....what are some of your favorite vegan and cruelty free brands to support?
I love supporting a fellow cruelty free + vegan small business, Made with Love by KM. I also love Lush and I use some Pacifica products. I don’t wear much, but I like Kat Von D’s makeup!
How did candle making come to be for you?
After realizing the candles and wax melts I used were making my allergies and asthma worse, I picked up a starter kit for soy candle making. It was also my intention from the very beginning to make this my full-time job. I learned the basics of candle making and opened up shop. After being on Etsy for 6 months, I was able to quit my part-time job and now, two and a half years later, I work full-time making all of the smell goods in my home!
What has been the hardest part of having A To Z Candles as your business?
Balance. When you work from home, it seems like you’re always working. I always try to disconnect from the work after dinner, but it doesn’t always happen.
Looking back 10 years ago, would you ever picture or imagine yourself where you are now?
No! When I was working the 9-5 grind for other businesses, it never crossed my mind that I was made for the entrepreneur life. I’ve learned so much about myself in the last three years, and I am super proud of the person I’ve become.
What has been something you've wanted to accomplish with A To Z Candles, but you haven't accomplished it yet?
I want to be listed on Logical Harmony. I’ve been working on and off with them for a year or so, and hope to be on the cruelty-free list soon!
Do you think that your brand would have made it without Social Media?
Social media is so important. I think I could have still made it without social media, but it would have been a very difficult task. My Instagram account keeps me connected to my new and repeat customers, and I feel it’s a necessary tool for success.
Speaking of social media, what are some of your favorite accounts to follow and support?
Logical Harmony, The Vegan Zombie, Sunrise Sanctuary, and Whitman Edmiston are always double tapped on my instagram. I also love following vegan food share accounts and fellow small businesses!
Being a cruelty free and vegan company, how does that play into your daily life?
I have been vegan for over three years and have been consciously buying cruelty-free products for nearly as long. It really *is* my life. I support two animal sanctuaries with my 10% of my profits, and I am very strict about my plant-based lifestyle.
Tell us your last meal of choice.
I absolutely love making vegetable stir fry with jasmine rice and liquid aminos. It’s always my go-to meal.
Lastly, where do you see A To Z Candles in 5 years?
I see myself growing, hiring, and expanding. I absolutely love my job and have nothing but high expectations for the growth of A to Z Candles. I already have plans to seasonally hire for the Holidays this year! I would also love to have a small workshop with a storefront someday.
Now that you know all about A To Z Candles, what's on your shopping list?
Also, Amanda is always looking to create more dupes for all the beloved scents we love, so if you've been wanting a dupe candle for one of your favorite scents, do it.
LASTLY, if you're a huge fan of Lush's Rose Jam, hit her up!