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Conversations with Mandy Jansen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mandy Jansen.

Hi Mandy, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Always a creative, ambitious person, I was looking for a new hobby during the pandemic while dance classes and pretty much everything else were on hiatus. My love of DIY and essential oils led me to experiment with making candles out of containers in my home. I kept using the same 5 or 6 containers for candles, refilling them as they burned out. One day I thought that maybe other people would like the opportunity to own a nearly waste-free candle as well. Isn’t it a bummer when you get to the end of a candle, and its short life is over? The container only had one purpose, providing a home for your candle! Based on this idea of giving candle containers a second life, I began to source vintage mugs, mason jars, glasses, and beer cans from local breweries and other containers. I made pretty, fragrant candles out of them using soy wax and essential oils. I supplemented my growing inventory with new containers in themes that I felt connected with (mostly social justice, the 80s, and 90s nostalgia, pop culture, punk music, and animals) and would personally love to own and use after the candle has burned out. As soon as events started being scheduled again in 2021, I jumped at the chance to share my creations with others who love eco-friendly, DIY goodies. I decided to call my new labor of love “Anarchy Candle Company” a nod to my opinion that people and businesses do NOT have to follow the status quo of capitalism. I haven’t been in the game long, but I’ve been having a blast getting to know the other creators in the DC/Baltimore area and getting my name out there!

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The first challenge I encountered was in 2021. I made a pretty big initial financial investment and many candles in preparation for holiday sales. Unfortunately, due to an uptick in Covid cases, a lot of December 2021 markets were canceled. So I had to chill with a lot of candles and wait to begin making returns on my investment until the market season picked up again. The good thing is that candles are non-perishable, and I have a ton of great holiday-themed candles ready for this coming season. I also learned a good lesson about the unpredictability of the market! There is also a learning curve on the creative side of things. I’m always learning new ways to make my process more efficient! I’ve experimented with different materials, packaging, and vendors to create a quality product that doesn’t compromise my values of being as eco-friendly as possible and supporting as many small businesses in my creative process as is feasible.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar, what can you tell them about what you do?
My candles are a perfect reflection of who I am as a person. Please get to know them, and you get to know me! I have always been a big proponent of self-care, which includes aromatherapy, meditation, and creating. Candles are the perfect marriage of these elements! I am also a social justice advocate, lover of animals and music, all things vintage, and an 80’s baby / 90’s teen, so these themes are prevalent throughout the containers I source for my candles. I would be proud to display any of my candles in my home. The feedback I often receive from my customers is how stoked they are to pay the same price as they would for any other candle but be able to keep and use the container. So I think I am probably most known for creating a useful and fun product that you can keep for a long time. Nothing delights me more than a customer coming to my booth and exclaiming, “This is such a GREAT idea!” 🙂

Can you talk to us a bit about the role of luck?
Like many other creators I’ve spoken to, I was inspired to create something new during the pandemic. I’m also fortunate to live in a community supportive of DIY culture and small business owners and surrounded by supportive family and friends, most of whom were my first customers! So, a classic case of finding a silver lining in something super shitty.

Pricing:

  • Candle prices range significantly depending on the intial cost of the container, and the cost of materials involved in making each one. The range of prices on my current inventory is $8 – $35 per candle.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
All photos were taken by me 🙂

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