Merchants of Beauty – More than a candle collection, A Sensory Experience
From Founder/Purveyor of Objects, Ava Ghiotti
“I feel so connected to this place, I never want this moment end, I wish I could bottle it up so I could have it forever, never forgetting this feeling.” The streets were narrow set with cobble stones, some raised, others worn by the footprints of time. As I made my way through the curves of what seemed like an ancient world, the summer sun dipped behind the buildings and the warm breeze transported me to a time long ago. Turning down a small alley in the Santa Cruz neighborhood of Seville, Spain, rustic lanterns emitted a welcoming glow from candles, signaling I had arrived at the ancient bath house.
As I stepped into the Aire Baths the environment awakened my senses. An ancient bath housed in a 5th century old palace, lit completely by candle light, my senses were captivated. Winding through the palace the smells of aromatic herbs and the purest Spanish olive oil used for treatments filled my nose and connected my mind to a time long ago. A time where the combinations of nature, ritual and environment were curated for personal wellness. When I need a nudge to remind myself of those self-care rituals, I light the candle I had purchased in Seville. The burn of the candle is slow with a depth of fragrance. Immediately my environment transcends and my mind is transported, and I am instantly inspired to indulge in my self-care, elevating my mood.
When I began the development of Merchants of Beauty, I knew there was an element of intentional transcendence that I wanted to capture through the candle collections I designed. A collector of objects from travels near and far, know cities, to hidden jungles in Thailand, I always urged my mind to remember the essence of the moments that I cherished so dear. Intentional with the objects I would purchase to bring home, I would choose based on what I wanted to surround myself with so that when I needed to feel connected and call on that memory, I would be uplifted and transported through these carefully selected wares.
As I began to curate the debut collection for Merchants of Beauty, I began to look at the candles less as candles and more as meaningful objects. The pillars of development that make our candles meaningful objects are rooted in the intentional use of scent, color and design. These elements are what allow a true essence to be captured. As you design your most intimate spaces, the relaxing rooms in your homes, your sanctuary spaces, or maybe you are a New York City dweller like myself and your design is focused on a dedicated nook, I invite you to think about the intention behind what you are choosing for your space and what it connects you to.
I find the subjectivity of design to be something absolutely fascinating. We all start at exactly the same place with a blank slate, but curate completely different visual experiences for our homes. Most of this year has had us become reacquainted with our home environments. As we have brought work and school into our home spaces, I believe that now more than ever, it’s time to reconnect with the objects we are surrounding ourselves with. There is an amazing connection between using objects as signifiers and the impact their ability has to uplift and positively impact our wellness.
The seasonal changes have always prompted me to look at routines and rituals and how I can switch up my home environment in uplifting ways to support those. Candles are the perfect accessory for uplifting mood and inspiration. Our collections are designed to offer fragrances that complement the seasons, offering a full fragrance pallet that can uplift your environment and mood throughout the year. As the seasons change, so can the scents that you surround yourself with. The cool crispy weather of fall is complemented beautifully by notes of sandalwood and ginger, notes of tonka bean and saffron compliment the crackling fire places of winter. The slow crawl from winter to spring supports the sweet aromas of Middle Eastern oud, with the blossoms of the spring elevating the sweetness of fig, sugar and white jasmine, coming full circle to the summer with bold and bright citrus that invigorates.
As fragrance as has the ability to uplift and transport, color is another powerful design tool that can be used to uplift your environment. The color pallets selected for Merchants of Beauty candles were intentionally chosen to create a mood and offer more than a candle, bringing a pop of color to your space. Pops of color throughout our homes can connect us to feelings of cheerfulness and calm, allowing us to create intimate space and sanctuary environments. Through the use of color, meaningful design and scent you can create a powerful uplifting experience for yourself right from your home.
Tips for elevating your space with candles:
- Connect with how you are feeling - how are looking to be inspired?
- What scent and candle sentiment will support that?
- Visualize how the pop of color from the candle glass with look in your space and how that color will make you feel when you walk by it?
- As the seasons change, are there meaningful objects in your space that you can switch out for others that will signify this shift?
- Candles are great ritual signifiers; for example, lighting a certain candle when you begin a creative writing project, or when you practice your nighttime wellness routine.
In times like these where we are home more than usual, with travel a bit more distant and having to turn our homes into multi-use spaces, the connection to meaningful objects, scent, and color offer a powerful opportunity to curate our experiences. Scent, color, and objects not only uplift our environment, shift our mood and perspective, but also connect us to memories, sparking imagination and the power of the mind to truly re-image our surroundings. These simple little design tools are always available to us to change up our environments and I hope the wares you choose to surround yourself with always support your journey.
Salvador Dali said, “A true artist is not one who is inspired, but one who inspires others.” Dali’s sentiment is one that I have leaned on as a designer. I will always be inspired by the essence of experiencing the world, but my goal is to uplift your environment and inspire you. It is my hope that through scent and design, our candles and the other meaningful objects you fill your home, with provide an energetic spark, setting your next great adventure in motion.