When I want to create a cozy and inviting ambience in my home, I often light candles. The glowing light, the soft scents permeating the room, the candle’s wax melting ever so slowly offers a sense of serenity in a chaotic world. Apparently, I’m not alone in my love for candles as prestige (or what industry experts call premium) candle sales totaled $101.9 million in the US in 2018, according to market research firm the NPD Group. Growth in this category particularly from fashion and fragrance companies who are entering the market is expected to continue. And COVID hasn’t put a strain yet on consumer spending of candles. In fact, premium candle sales grew by 6% this March when COVID hit compared to the previous year, as consumers hunkered down in their homes.
A recent arrival to Chappaqua from Harlem, Térron Richardson knows a thing or two about prestige candles (and soap) as the owner of newly launched e-commerce site, Chandel Atelier. The site sells candles and soaps and Richardson’s background in luxury fashion and design has served him well as he seeks to expand his business. Richardson says that he has always been enamored with fragrance. At any given moment, he owns a “perfume library” with a roster of 20+ rotating scents.
Prior to launching his company, Richardson worked for Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Coach and luxury home décor company Jay Strongwater. A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology, he credits his professors in igniting an interest in sustainability. Richardson uses eco-friendly slow-burning coconut wax and wooden wicks which burn much cleaner, and don’t get the carbon build-up that needs to be trimmed off of cotton wicks.
In addition, he works with a wooden wick supplier that partners with Trees for the Future, an organization working to end hunger and poverty for small farmers through revitalizing degraded lands.
Many less expensive candles contain paraffin which can release toxins. “Paraffin is not regulated in the US,” explains Richardson and candle companies are not required to disclose it as an ingredient. Richardson wants customers to know what his products are made from and that his products are safe.
A self-taught candle maker, Richardson watched YouTube videos to learn the craft of candle making. “It was a quick process. I knew how to source suppliers from my experience with Jay Strongwater and then I spent 3-4 weeks figuring out how to make candles,” notes Richardson. Before he would settle though on a fragrance for the candle, he sometimes created 20 versions using a scent blotter and then used feedback from friends and family to help him solidify the scents.
Each candle retails for $45 and has a top, middle and base notes and these many layers lead to a sophisticated aroma. He offers new varieties of candles seasonally as well as a core collection of three products. Anguilla, one of the core products was created to pay homage to his birthplace and offers notes of linen, freesia, eucalyptus and moss.
Ever passionate about scent, Richardson decided to expand his product line with bar soaps that are sulfate and paraben-free using either goat’s milk or shea butter and flaxseed while still having a beautiful aroma. These natural ingredients increase the skin’s moisture level which can help combat dry skin during the harsh Northern Westchester winter months.
When not promoting his line, Richardson and his partner are enjoying exploring the area and dining locally. He notes that he is also an active member of New Castle’s Council on Race and Equity. Citing the challenges that BIPOC business owners face such as receiving small business loans, Richardson is hopeful that the Black Lives Matter movement will educate consumers on the importance of supporting Black-owned businesses such as Chandel Atelier.
Plans are in the works for a Chappaqua-inspired candle this spring featuring notes of wet fern, moss, musk, gardenia, ylang ylang, and jasmine.
To learn more, follow Richardson on Instagram, @chandelatelier and visit www.chandelatelier.com.