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This scented candle startup wants to be the Warby Parker of self-care

This scented candle startup wants to be the Warby Parker of self-care
[Photo: courtesy of Otherland]

Home scents are a $50 billion dollar industry, according to the NPD group, and scented candles are growing at a rate of 18% a year. Much of this growth is driven by millennials, who spend twice as much on self-care rituals as boomers.

Today, a startup called Otherland hits the market with aspirations to be the Warby Parker of the industry, by selling high-end candles directly to consumers. Founder Abigail Stone noticed a big gap in the middle of the market. On the high end, brands like Diptyque are able to charge $70 for a 6.6-ounce candle–and diehard fans will wait three hours in the rain to snag one during sales. Meanwhile, the Yankee Candle Company, whose candles cost between $5 and $27, dominates 46% of the market.

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Otherland’s 8-ounce candles cost $36 a pop, or $89 for a three-pack, with shipping included, which puts it squarely in the center of the market. But unlike lower-end brands that use artificial scents, Stone has tapped into master perfumer Firmenich, which has created scents for Tom Ford and Le Labo, to make the first five candles in the collection. Scents range from floral bouquets to opulent champagne and suede blends.

Stone, who has a background in art history and formerly served as an art buyer for Ralph Lauren, is also interested in providing a broader sensory experience for the customer. She will commission artists to create the packaging for the candles and boxes every season, so that regular customers will have a different unboxing experience every time.

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