Mixtape Candles

From Hobby to Hustle: Karen & Tim from Mixtape Candles

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Karen & Tim, founders of Mixtape Candles started their family candle business as a way to unite their love for music with their adoration for candles, to create a multi-sensory, nostalgic experience. They attribute the sound component of their candles by adding "Scan and Jam" QR codes of a mixtape corresponding to the genre found on the label. These candles have a voice! 

Keep reading to learn more about their early accomplishments, advice to new makers & what area of their business they invest the most every month. 



how it started

"As a family, we have an affinity for cooking and baking with our three children. We also enjoy playing instruments, painting, and drawing. Experimenting with various ideas using our hands is something that ignites each one of us. The warmth, the flickering candle, and the scent that ruminates in the air initially drew us to query whether we should try candle-making."


on building a business

"From the start, we wanted to create something that could be more than a hobby. We partnered with a brand and marketing company to make our first website, logos, and packaging. We greatly appreciated this early support, but knew that if we wanted to appeal to a broader market and grow the business, we had to differentiate the product.

In 2023, we rebranded to give each candle its unique voice. Today, we currently sell eleven candles. We will be adding four new candles in 2024. We will also offer a brand new item, the Classic Box Set, a set of 3 votive candles from our signature collection to gift or jam on the go!"


memorable milestones

"Hiring the Agency, a branding company, to help us create our first logo with their esteemed designer Sarah Cassasanto, now of Pretty Good Design Co., was a key milestone. The team took our vision and developed our first logo, assisted with photoshoots and video content, and created an epic website for our brand so we could connect with our audience.

Starting to grow our customer base has been a fantastic milestone for us at Mixtape Candles. We hear stories about the nostalgia of mixtapes in the lives of our customers. The scent reminds our fans of a family vacation or sometimes is reminiscent of their grandfather’s cologne. Dare I say time travel exists through Mixtape Candles because the multi-sensory component of our candles helps create an ambiance for our fans, and we are so appreciative." 

on taking the leap

"The pivotal moment [they knew they could turn their hobby into a business] that immediately came to mind was our first show. It was a holiday marketplace, the first time we would be in front of such a large audience. We saw old friends who commented, “I didn’t know you all made candles.” It was an opportunity to test the waters and see how customers respond to our concept and candles.

That day, we were a few candles shy of selling out of candles! Our customers welcomed us with such warmth and excitement. It felt both reassuring and exhilarating. We decided to go back and analyze any feedback we received to revise our product.

After that holiday marketplace, we decided to take a chance and trust that people would be receptive, and we were open to hearing their responses to our candles."


on standing out

"Our candles are crafted intentionally to spark connection and conversation. Whether to calm and center you after a messy day or light up an evening with your friends, our candles match the mood and instantly lift your energy. Light the candle, and use your phone’s camera to click on the link to a virtual “mixtape” by way of a music streaming playlist. The light will glow, the fragrance will fill the air, and the tunes will create the vibe.

Our brand’s values are connection, creativity, and consciousness. We chose connection because we are inspired by the power of scent and sound to build and recall memory.

For creativity, the options are truly endless when you ignite your imagination. Beyond candle making, we are shining a light on the power, energy, and emotion that comes from creative self-expression.

Lastly, consciousness is at the heart of what we do, believing that conscious creation is non-negotiable. From our ingredients and packaging to recycling or repurposing, we consider our impact every step of the way.

We love that candles, with their illumination, beautiful fragrance, and mixtape playlists, provide a nostalgic springboard for our customers to share heartfelt stories with us. It feels like a tremendous privilege, and we are incredibly grateful." 


on making mistakes...or not

"We like to look at everything in our business as an opportunity. One area we received feedback about was the QR code for the candles from our initial launch.

The QR code was on the lid of the box. Customers had inadvertently tossed the box and missed the QR code. When we heard this, we returned to the drawing table to brainstorm how to make this code more apparent to the consumer.

Thus, the individualized playlists were revised and placed on each vessel so the client could “Scan and Jam” while enjoying their customized mixtape with the light flickering in the background and the fragrance filling the air."  

on getting advice

"We lean on our family, other entrepreneurs, and friends for business advice. We feel their honesty and trust their words."


on where to invest

"Branding and supplies are the two areas we invest in the most monthly because we believe in building a solid foundation with clean materials and a clear brand message so the consumer can build trust in our product. We want to ensure that the product we create is acceptable enough for us to purchase (and we are quite critical)."


on finding inspiration

"The inspiration to create is always achievable. Music assists in setting the soundtrack for motivation. We are also open to being inspired by the world around us. We enter any situation with a positive attitude, and if the road becomes windy and less linear, we embrace the opportunity and search for the message within. We find it essential to step back in moments of overwhelm and look at situations from many different viewpoints.

Our brand’s mission is to strike a chord between modern creative expression and classic nostalgic reference by playing on the joint powers of scent and sound to ignite all your senses. We center ourselves around this mission to stay focused on what we want to create for our customers."


advice for new makers

  1.  Make sure you talk about your business like a main character in a favorite novel. It has to be relevant, at the top of your mind, in your day-to-day life. 
  2. As you talk to people about your ideas, pitch them and listen to constructive feedback provided because it may help you hone in on something that could make your business better.
  3. Meditate and journal or participate in some daily practice that allows you to deal with failure because that will inevitably be part of the process.


If you use failure as a stepping stone instead of a stumbling block, you now give yourself the space to create something magical."


Enjoy an exclusive 10% off your purchase of Mixtape Candles with code MAKESY10 at checkout. Visit their website here!


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