Wednesday, April 01, 2015

The Maker Series: Frostbeard

I am so pleased to share another beautiful maker on the blog today. I first learned of Frostbeard on my Instagram feed and I have been in love with their products and their logo ever since. I even did a little review on the product that I ordered. They are an amazing business with a nerdy heart like mine and I will forever have their candles on my bookshelf. Their incredible story of hard work and dedication to produce the candles that they love is done below. I do hope you enjoy.
Frostbeard Studio started out as "Roxie Art" back in 2008 and it was mostly pottery. It slowly evolved into pottery and candles, and now we pretty much just focus on candles.

I started making candles back in high school with my mom. We're both DIYers (she's a professional quilter) so it was natural for us to make our own candles rather than buy them.

Back in 2010, being a huge book nerd, I decided I wanted a "library" scented candle. I couldn't find one anywhere for sale online (and I'm an accomplished online shopper) so that meant one didn't exist and I needed to create it. Oxford Library was my first book-themed candle, and then the idea was born and I kept making new scents. 
I sold the candles at craft fairs along with my pottery for a few years. Then around the time I started doing pottery full-time in 2012 my mom convinced me to put them up on my Etsy site. 
The first candles were in jelly jars and had plain labels printed from our computer. My photos were horrible and I'm totally embarrassed I put those on Etsy. My husband Tom came to my rescue and designed the Frostbeard logo and some fancy labels for me. He also persuaded me to get better jars and rephotographed all the candles. 

Tom joined Frostbeard full-time in 2012 after getting laid off from work. Our goal was to have an art studio together eventually anyway, so it worked out rather well.
When the candles started outselling the pottery it was clear we needed a more efficient way to make them. We were melting the wax on my mom's stove top in batches of six or so, and using her kitchen as a candle workshop. It's hard to believe that was only two years ago. 
We decided to do a Kickstarter project to raise the funds for a large wax melter. Over all it was a fun, though somewhat stressful experience. We reached our goal, got new fans and had fun making the reward items. But it was a LOT of work.

Making the Kickstarter video was time consuming. We hired a friend to help film it and then it took Tom two days to edit. Brainstorming the rewards and price tiers took forever. We made our project way too complicated. 
In retrospect it probably would have been way easier for us to borrow the money from a relative. However, I would absolutely recommend Kickstarter to someone who has a clear cut project and reward, like making a music album or publishing a book. 
The real boost to our business came from social media. We got mentioned on a few large book-loving Facebook groups. Then the snowball effect started and more and more people started noticing us. When Buzzfeed posted our Old Books candle in a gift guide a few weeks before Christmas our Etsy shop exploded. 
We're insanely lucky. We wouldn't be able to do what we're doing without the internet. Somehow we found a niche and a passionate fan base. We take pride in making carefully handcrafted candles, and our customers reward our efforts by being repeat purchasers and recommending us to friends. 
Now we have a studio in a cool old brick building in the NE Arts District in Minneapolis. Because of our rapid growth, we were able to hire a studio assistant, Erin, to help us with all of our online sales. Our candles are available at over 60 shops nation-wide (mostly indie bookshops) and we are the top candle store on Etsy. Like I said, we're lucky. And oh so thankful! 
My personal favorite scent is Don't Panic: Fresh Towel, which smells like clean laundry. Tom's favorite is Winterfell, which is woodsy and masculine. Erin's favorite is Sassenach. Old Books is by far our most popular.

Roxie (& Tom)  
Thank you so much to Roxie for taking the time to put together their encouraging story for us to read. Wasn't it amazing? So far my favorite scent is Sherlock's Study, which is so cozy. There are the other scents that I am eying up in their store: I am really interested in this flavor, this one, and this one! They also came out with their new April scent which is now also at the top of my list to purchase. These candles are amazing and I highly recommend them, especially for that ever-book-consuming friend who you don't really know what to get them, because you are pretty sure they have read every book available in stores. Yep. Problem solved = Frostbeard. :)

If you would like to be a part of the Maker Series or if you know of someone who is creative and should show of their talents, please email me at knotted home (at) hotmail (dot) com. The Maker Series is a place of inspiration, encouragement, and support to those who want to craft, create, or live a homemade lifestyle. This series is all about creating a comfortable and inspiration place in which we can show-off our talents and inspire anyone who has ever dreamed to start something new. 

A huge thank you again to the lovely Frostbeard. Happy April, everyone. xo.

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