P.F. Candle Co. is a Los Angeles-based producer of small-batch homewares.
In their light and airy downtown studio husband-and-wife team Tom Neuberger and Kristen Pumphrey oversee production of hand-poured scented candles and limited edition reed diffusers.
Packaged in apothecary-style jars, the candles are made with soy wax, phthalate-free oils and cotton-cored wicks.
At present there are 20 fragrances, with new ones being developed all the time. They also release a limited number of seasonal scents – for example, Spiced Pumpkin for fall, Frankincense and Oud for Christmas.
As the candles are made with soy wax, they burn very cleanly – none of that nasty black soot dirtying up the pretty glass – and the natural fragrances are strong enough to fill the room but not overpowering. I love how the scents are dynamic – you can have something zingy like Sweet Grapefruit on your desk while you work and then set something more restful, like Lavender, on the side of the tub when you take a bath at the end of the day.
I spoke to Kristen about inspiration, the demands of running a fledgling start-up and more...
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START P.F. CANDLE CO?
I wanted to make a living making things and working for myself. I was laid off from my job at a craft magazine right before the recession hit in 2007, so I took the opportunity to start my own business.
WHY DO YOU FEEL IT'S IMPORTANT TO USE NATURAL COMPONENTS AND FRAGRANCES?
We try to strike a balance between natural and practical. I love using soy wax because it's super soft and fun to touch with your hands, and it has fewer side effects than typical paraffin candles. We use fragrance oils to fragrance our candles; we found that using pure essential oils would be too costly and limit the number of fragrances we could produce. We make sure that our fragrance oils are phthalate-free and our reef diffusers are free from DPGs.
FROM WHERE DO YOU SOURCE YOUR COMPONENTS?
Our soy wax is domestically grown and our fragrance oils are from a variety of manufacturers in the US.
HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR MANUFACTURING PROCESSES ETHICAL AND SUSTAINABLE?
We try to learn as much about the supply chain as possible. At the studio, we recycle everything that we can and make sure that the packaging we use can be recycled or reused. We laugh because our recycling bin is bigger than our trash bin! We're big on using products that have multiple uses and encourage people to recycle or reuse the jar when they've burned the candle. [Note: All P.F. Candle Co. products are vegan-friendly]
WHAT HAS RUNNING YOUR OWN COMPANY TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF?
It's been very empowering to run the business and learn new skills as it grows. I wouldn't have been able to get hired for this position if I came in off the street but because I've built the company from the ground up I've be able to learn through trial and error.
YOUR FAVOURITE SCENT:
YOUR FOOD PHILOSOPHY:
I don't really have one. I've been a vegetarian, a vegan, a meat-eater – now I just eat what makes me feel happy and good. I try to get greens in every day and lately have been eating more vegetarian as we don't like cooking meat at home.
FAVOURITE PLACES TO EAT IN LOS ANGELES:
WHAT DO YOU DO TO MAINTAIN YOUR HEALTH AND WELL-BEING?
I quit drinking earlier this year which has done wonders for both. We hike a lot. Lately I've been trying to limit how much time I spend using social media and reading on my phone – focusing instead on reading books and interacting with the people around me. I spend so much of my workday looking at my computer or phone that disconnecting at home is super important.
WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?
I'd say I'm happiest hiking, backpacking or camping with Tom. Anytime I don't have cell phone service, I'm happy.