The objectives are:
- Own fewer things
- Make sure the things I buy are things I love
- Spend more money on experiences, less on objects
For the past few years, these have been major life goals of mine. I’ve been purging clothes and knick-knacks and hoarded books and unused makeup and unworn shoes and trying to simplify the way I live for quite a while now. I want to experience things, and be around people I enjoy, and generally have less stuff to worry about, dust, and find a place for. One of the few objects I do still spend money buying is candles. I buy a lot of candles. I like to have a comfortable backlog of candles that I can anticipate enjoying at a later date. I justify this to myself because a scented candle is:
- Consumable—thus not a permanent possession
- An experience in itself. In my home, light and scent set the mood, and I am very careful in maintaining that mood.
So Saturday I made a delightfully fragrant visit to The Candle Fusion Studio. Candle Fusion meets most of my goals, in that a trip to the store is an experience, not just an act of consumerism. I buy things, but they’re not going to be permanent fixtures in my home, AND I have the opportunity to create a custom product that I am sure to love. (And if I don’t love it, that’s no one’s fault but mine!)
The Candle Fusion Studio (located in the former Bissenger’s storefront in St. Louis’s Central West End) allows clients to create custom candles and other scented products from their extensive scent library.
Customers start their visit by browsing through the various scents available, and making a list of their favorites. They select what type of product(s) they’d like to create—candles are obviously the most popular option, but the shop also allows customers to make scented wax tarts, home fragrance and body sprays, reed diffusers, and even custom-scented bath salts! 8 oz candles start at $12.
After both scent and product are selected, clients have a seat at the mixing bar, and discuss their choices with shop staff. Bottles of oil are brought to the client, and from there each person can use the oils to create a custom fragrance.
I favor woodsy, spicy and warm scents. (Most of them get labled “manly”, although I am not sure how a scent can have a gender.) Most of my favorite perfumes at the moment come from the Tokyo Milk Dark line (Arsenic and Bulletproof are particular favorites, each $42) although I am also really partial to Viktor & Rolf’s Spicebomb (less fond of it’s $92 price tag, however.) Spicebomb is technically a men’s cologne, but again, you do you.
Before my trip to the shop I listed the notes in each scent I really loved, so I could create something in the same family. Those notes were: Vanilla Bean, Orchid, Tea, Sandalwood, Crushed Cedar, Ebony Woods, Absinthe, Vanilla Salt, Cut Greens, Crushed Fennel, Tobacco and Leather. This list meant that once in the shop I could save my nose from having to smell every single one of the hundreds of scents available. (Nose fatigue is a thing.)
Important note: when you make candles at the shop, you do have to wait two hours for them to set up after mixing. Finding a way to fill two hours is normally no problem in the Central West End. You’re steps away from other delightful shops, Left Bank Books, Pi, Llewelyn’s, etc. But I had another appointment later that afternoon, so I chose to create a home fragrance spray and a body spray, rather than wait for a candle to set. (You can also choose to make your candle and come back for it another day, if you’re in a hurry.)
For my body spray I ended up with vanilla bean, absinthe, bourbon and pipe tobacco. For the home fragrance spray I tried to create the scent of an old library with notes of pipe tobacco, leather, old books and earth.
Both of the scents I created are warm and spicy, with the vanilla adding a really pleasant sweetness to the body spray, and the earth adding an interesting mustiness to the home fragrance.
As someone who is sometimes sensitive to pure perfume oils, I’ve had no negative reaction to the body spray, which is detectable on me for about 4-6 hours.
The home fragrance is extremely potent and lingers in the room after a full day, which is much better than even extremely high-end home fragrances I’ve used. (The home fragrance and the body spray use the same base, so I could actually use either one for either purpose. Some day I might want to leave the house smelling of earth and leather. You don’t know.) Both scents come in lovely apothecary-style glass bottles, and produce a very fine mist.
I am going to give Candle Fusion an A+ for meeting all my non-consumer (or maybe just less-consumer-y?) objectives, as well as giving me a delightful experience. The shop is obviously pleasant smelling and sun-drenched, the staff are charming and extremely helpful, and the prices are reasonable. Currently they’re even offering a 10% discount if you snap a picture and tag them on social media.
Go with a friend or a group of friends, and spend a delightful hour or so creating your own custom fragrances, you’re sure to enjoy the experience!