Crave Candles’ story—from a 280 kitchen sink to successful stores like Saks

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Lori Newell is the owner of Crave Candles, a successful luxury candle brand born in Birmingham. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

Google and Apple started in a garage—Crave Candles Co. started in a kitchen sink. Now, the Birmingham-based brand is not only found in local stores around the city, but major retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue, Cracker Barrel and others carry Crave Candles. Here’s what sparked the match for owner Lori Newell’s inspiration.

Crave Candles was born on Highway 280

Despite the brand’s luxury status today, Crave Candles, like many others’ huge success stories, had humble beginnings.

“I started making candles and blending fragrances in my kitchen sink. And from the very beginning, I thought ‘I’m going to take this brand and make it known across the country.'”

Lori Newell, Owner, Crave Candles

Soon, candles covered Lori’s life. Her condo on Highway 280 was like a game of hot lava. Except instead of trying to avoid stepping on the floor, you were dodging candles filling up every flat surface in the house.

So how did condo candles turn into a brand bought by international retailers like Saks? What makes Crave Candles different?

First, smell one of Lori’s candles and try asking that question again. Second, Crave Candles creates for the consumer (that’s you!).

“We do everything we can to make sure the quality of the candle is really good and you get your money’s worth. It’s a slow burn.

It’s a soy candle, but it’s luxurious because we put a very high fragrance load into every candle that we have. You’re going to get your money’s worth and you’re going to love it. You buy one, you’re going to buy another one.”

Lori Newell

Lori’s quality candles caught the eye, or should we say nose, of prominent buyers after she started attending trade shows in cities like Atlanta, Dallas, Las Vegas and Chicago. She quickly built clients and the brand catapulted out of her kitchen. It only took six months for her to move operations from her home into Crave Candles’ first warehouse.

It just made scents

Crave Candles
Open up your home to luxury. GIF via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

If you talk with Lori, it’s clear she can do anything she decides to tackle. We had to know why candles became her calling.

“I love making people’s home smell great. It’s comforting. There are so many things a candle can do. It makes your home warm and inviting. It can lift your spirits. I love being part of all of that.”

Lori Newell

It’s true—candles are an emotional product. When you walk into a store and pick one up deciding whether to bring it home or not, you smell it first to see how it makes you feel.

They’re an item that’s been around for 5,000 years and transitioned from utility to having a different kind of need.

“Fragrance brings out a lot of emotions. If you’re sad, light a candle. If you’re happy, light a candle. If you’re celebrating, light a candle. If you’re feeling romantic, light a candle. There are so many things that they can do.”

Lori Newell

The Candle Club shines a light on all the people you love in your life

Another emotional aspect of life? Gifts. Candles and presents go hand in hand. They remind people of a certain someone or bring extra joy into a person’s life.

Lori knows candles do more than make a room smell fantastic, which is why she’s recently introduced the Candle Club. Like Crave Candles’ 50+ hours of burn time, gifting the club to a loved one is giving a gift that lasts.

“The Candle Club is made for people that love candles and love our candles. They can give it to their mom, they can give it to themselves. They get a candle going to their house once a month—chances are they buy a candle once a month anyway.

It’s a great subscription because you’re getting a great luxury soy candle. You’re getting our very best our top-selling fragrances that have already been chosen. It allows you to choose more fragrances so that you can continue to burn the candles in your home.”

Lori Newell

When you subscribe for $30/month, the Club mails a new scent to the house of your choosing each month. Or, become a seasonal member and receive candles in April, July, October and December.

You can check out this year’s scent schedule, including one of our favorites for the month of March—Cashmere.

Support from the Birmingham community never burns out for Crave Candles

Crave Candles
Birmingham and Crave Candles are the perfect match. Photo via Hannah Williams for Bham Now

Although Crave Candles is now sold across the country, Birmingham plays a huge role in the company. The Steel City collection, for example, takes direct inspiration from Birmingham’s history.

Also, since Crave Candles is Birmingham-based, it employs locals and creates jobs for the area. Speaking of local, the brand is a staple seller in many small Birmingham businesses.

It’s easy to spot a Crave Candle in stores across the city from boutiques to high-end spas. You can search through the website to find a store that carries them.

“We have some really great stores here in Birmingham that have been with us from the very beginning…They have been very, very good at supporting us and supporting local.

Even though we’re an international brand…We still are a homegrown company and we love Birmingham. And we’ll always be that way.”

Lori Newell

We’re happy to have a company here that cares about the community and can’t wait to watch out for the next steps from Crave Candles. Be on the lookout, a big announcement for the brand is coming soon. 👀

Looking to bring luxury into your home? Sign up for a subscription with the Candle Club or browse for scents online and in-store.

Learn more about Crave Candles at its website, Instagram and Facebook.

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