Beautiful product displays and an expertly curated playlist go far to make a shopping experience truly next-level, but there’s one element that can vastly transform a store before you even set your eyes on its merchandise: fragrance. Plenty of boutiques sell piles (practically small mountains, even) of assorted indie candles—but it’s the ones that actually get burned in-store that get the highest stamp of approval. That’s why we turned to six small boutiques across the country to find out which candles they not only sell, but also swear by for optimal ambiance. Read on for the cool, under-the-radar candles that’ll transform your home.
If You Dream of Old Movie Marathons
Located in Brooklyn’s quaint Greenpoint neighborhood, The Break has garnered a cult following for its curated selection of vintage clothing and homewares. It recently collaborated to launch its own house scent with the help of Anai Candles. The result is 7PM, a smoky blend of dark musk, sandalwood, and amber—just the perfect scent to burn while you pop on an old record and slip into a vintage robe.
The Scent: 7PM, The Break, $28
Our Home Pick: Vintage Amber Glasses, The Break, $44.95
If You Like to Pretend Your Home Is Really a Quaint, Rustic Cottage
Suffused in crisp, natural light, HausWitch is not exactly what you’d imagine when you think of a Salem, Massachusetts witch shop. The interior is spacious and Scandinavian, and a fireplace-inspired candle (which also has notes of orange spice, fir, and pine) always manages to elicit customer compliments, according to events and operations manager Cheryl Rafuse. It’s a perfect scent for wintertime, but can have you thinking cozy thoughts year-round.
The Scent: Hearth Candle, Blackjack Wax Co., $20
Our Home Pick: Large Dream of Nature Mug, Hauswitch, $54
If You’d Like to Embrace Nature Without Going Outside
With a wide offering of minimalist, earthy home accents, Spartan Shop offers plenty of west coast finds—including its often-burned candles by Norden. Operations manager Ivy Buddenhagen Oresund as a favorite. Woodsy notes of balsam fir are sharpened by grapefruit, to create a forest-inspired scent that will make your home feel like it’s just enjoyed a gust of fresh air—even if you live in a city.
The Scent: Oresund, Norden, $45
Our Home Pick: Jess Feury Woven Pillow #10, Spartan Shop, $275
If You Can’t Live Life Without a Squeeze of Citrus
Independent designers and cheeky accessories fill Omaha-based Hello Holiday’s colorful space, and the scent of citrus pulls it all together. Founder Sarah Lorsung Tvrdik swears by fellow Nebraska business Wax Buffalo, whose soy candle comes in an impressive 14 different fragrances, but the top seller (and frequent burner) is blood orange, which also features energetic notes of sugar, lemon, and honey that will give you a burst of motivation right when you need it.
The Scent: Pure Soy Candle, Wax Buffalo, $22
Our Home Pick: White + Gold Cylindrical Vase, The Object Enthusiast, $60
If Plaid Flannel Pajamas Are Always on Your Wishlist
Minimal, warm-toned garments and a hearty mix of both dainty and bold jewelry comprise a large stock of Seattle-based Moorea Seal’s offerings, as well as plenty of woodsy candles to round out the store’s pacific northwest vibe. Standard Wax’s Black Iris Candle combines a more masculine base of sandalwood and amber with dark florals like violet and iris, to round it out and give it a complex scent that’s become a shop mainstay.
The Scent: Black Iris Candle, Standard Wax, $32
Our Home Pick: Hanging Plant Holder, Norwegian Wood, $86
If Getting Extra-Seasonal Makes Life Feel a Bit More Special
The bohemian array of home goods and wearable designs in Long Beach, California’s Prism Boutique have evergreen sensibility, but that doesn’t mean the shop can’t indulge in a bit of seasonal festivity. Brooklyn Candle Studio’s Apple Cider Candle helps to bring a bit of east coast farmers market goodness right to the Pacific coast. Balanced out with cedarwood essential oil, as well as cinnamon and clove, it doesn’t come across as overly autumnal.
The Scent: Apple Cider Candle, Brooklyn Candle Studio, $24
Our Home Pick: Blue Leaf Print, Little Madi, $22
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