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At $68, my favorite Diptyque candle seems like an affordable luxury—by no means budget-friendly, yet not an outrageous sum when you consider the woody fig tree notes that fill my living room and mask the scent of my cats’ litter box. But if I burn through candles at a rate of one per month, $816 a year doesn’t sound so economical anymore—especially not for a one-time-use item with a very short lifespan.
I’m far from alone in thinking that $68 might be better spent on two months of canned food for my feline roommates or that gorgeous sweater I’ve been eyeing. As a purveyor of luxury unbranded products, which grants its members access to high-end manufacturers and factory-level prices, Italic is in a prime position to disrupt the candle market. The increasingly prolific company has become known for its truly direct-to-consumer approach, which charges its members an annual fee to access over 800 quality goods. Since 2018, they’ve received countless requests to create their own take on premium candles. Now they have—in four beautiful scents made by the same manufacturer that works with Hermès and Vera Wang, who typically charge around $190 and $70, respectively, for their votives.
Every Scent Counts: Why Italic Originally Lost Money On Their Candles
A candle is a candle is a candle, right? Wrong! True candle connoisseurs know that on one end of the spectrum is the cloying, sweet-smelling kind that tunnels—which is what happens when a candle burns down its center, reducing precious burn time. On the other end is the kind that tends to burn long and clean, often infused with a sophisticated scent that elevates your home.
Italic’s journey to develop the latter—an artisanal, non-toxic candle that checks all the boxes—was a slow burn (pun intended). The team struggled to find a manufacturer that could produce a high-quality candle at a low-impact price. When they finally discovered a small-batch maker in West Hollywood, they created the candle of their dreams—choosing environmentally friendly, vegan, soy-based wax (which burns slower and cleaner) over cheaper paraffin wax and pouring it into reclaimed ocean glass vessels.
In true Italic fashion—cutting out the middlemen and selling items at cost—they’re now able to offer 8.5-ounce candles at $16 a pop. A splurge-worthy candle for an absolute steal.
To offer this first batch of custom candles at an Italic-worthy price of $35, the company took a loss on every order. But after the candles sold out in three days, the team realized they had to find a supplier who could recreate them on a much larger scale—all while maintaining sky-high standards of perfection. After scouring factories across Asia, Europe, and the US, they found one. And in true Italic fashion—cutting out the middlemen and selling items at cost—they’re now able to offer 8.5-ounce candles at $16 a pop. A splurge-worthy candle for an absolute steal.
Let There Be Light: Inside The Perfect Premium Candle
The old adage “never judge a book by its cover” doesn’t apply to candles. A truly elevated votive should look as good as it smells and work in sync with its surroundings. Italic’s candles arrive in minimal black or white vessels that are sleek and seriously heavy-weight—an added bonus for me since it means my cats can’t knock one over at 3 a.m. Understated with stylish rounded curves, the candles add a luxurious touch to a pile of artfully arranged books or bathroom countertop. Bonus: Once your candle’s finished, the reusable jar can serve multiple purposes.
With a maximum burn time of 40 hours, you’re only paying $2.50 per hour for a spectacular, space-filling aroma that had my mom exclaiming, “This smells expensive!”
Then there are Italic’s superlative scents, developed in Switzerland to boast a shockingly strong fragrance throw (candle speak for how far the scent travels). With a maximum burn time of 40 hours, you’re only paying $2.50 per hour for a spectacular, space-filling aroma that had my mom exclaiming, “This smells expensive!” Italic currently makes four: crisp and floral Lilac Jasmine Sandalwood; fruity and tart Black Currant Bergamot; creamy and earthy Black Pomegranate Sandalwood; warm and sweet Oud Rosewood. The minute you light one, the Swiss fragrance oils release a heady, intoxicating, mood-lifting bouquet that’s potent and powerful without overwhelming the room.
After a week of test-driving all four scents, I couldn’t decide which one I preferred most. But I knew, without a doubt, that Italic had earned a candle customer (at the very least!) for life. A few quick calculations deduced that purchasing Italic’s candles would save me about $624 a year—not counting its annual membership, which still makes the transaction a bargain. Plus, they’ll make great gifts; thanks to a sleek, modern jar that isn’t branded with labels or other eyesores, these candles blend in with just about any decor scheme. And when I want to treat myself, well, $16 is a small price to pay for a polished-looking votive that lends some serious luxury to my everyday routine.
5 More Reasons To Light Italic’s Candles:
- If you’re interested in supporting AAPI-founded companies, especially right now, Italic founder and CEO Jeremy Cai is Chinese-American.
- The company provides an in-depth read about their candle-manufacturing process, sharing fascinating details like how difficult it was to find a factory willing to source recycled glass jars. Learning about their challenging candle odyssey will only make you appreciate these incredible-smelling votives even more.
- Italic doesn’t make profits on product sales—in fact, according to their site, 93% of new members break even on their first order. Revenue is driven by a membership program, which costs $120 a year and unlocks access to their full range of covetable products—like ridiculously soft cashmere robes made by the same manufacturer behind Prada’s and Giorgio Armani’s or top-of-the-line sheets made by the same factory responsible for Frette’s and Ritz-Carlton’s.
- As a member, you only pay for the product itself and any fulfillment fees, such as packaging, warehousing, and shipping. Purchasing a similar item from a different designer means the price is often bloated with branding, marketing, and middlemen costs—which is how a candle that normally sets you back $190 can cost a mere fraction via Italic.
- Italic’s so confident in their products that they offer a great Money Back Guarantee. If you place your first order and decide you don’t like it, you can return everything in its original condition and they’ll refund your membership and order.