Today, she is offering one of you lucky readers a $20 certificate to Wilderess plus a tea light scent pack. Awesome! Plus, she is offering a promo of 15% to everyone, which you can find at the end of the post.
But first, find out which unique candle scent is Kristina's favorite, if you are a Wilderess (a word made up by Kristina), and much more!
Tell me a little bit about yourself!
Growing up as the youngest of three, we didn’t have a lot of extra money for fancy toys. For that reason, I definitely developed an insanely imaginative mind. My neighbor’s dad was a construction worker and had a big workshop filled with tools and wood scraps in his garage. His son and I would sneak in there as kids and take all the scraps off the ground and build ourselves dollhouses to use with what toys we did have. We didn’t necessarily know how to use the tools properly, but we both learned quickly by studying finished pieces or watching his dad work on things. Arts and crafts has always been an outlet for me in every sense of the word. When I graduated university with a degree in Fashion Merchandising and a minor in Italian Language, I thought what every new graduate does: now what? I was fortunate enough to land a really great job at one of the largest shoe companies in the world. I lasted for a week. I realized within a day how much I really did not like the corporate world, the mass production, and the lives made for people overseas behind said production. I cried every single day of that week in my car in a random parking lot during my lunch breaks. I decided to quit before I got stuck and it was the best decision I ever made! I definitely went through a little bit of a “what-did-I-do” phase and took up gardening to get my mind off the feeling that “real life” was settling in. One afternoon, I was in my bathroom getting ready to meet my mom for lunch and I inspected a lip balm I had in my make up bag. Since life had slowed down a little bit, I was paying more attention to the small details. I read the ingredients and was disappointed that this “natural” lip balm had nearly 30 ingredients, most of which I couldn’t decipher without a Google search. I went online later that day and did research on how to make my own. I researched ingredients, production methods, and created my own recipe. The end product was something I personally loved using. I handed samples out to friends and family and the response was so positive I launched an Etsy shop! Two months later, I taught myself how to make candles. It’s true, I don’t have formal training on cosmetic or candle production, but I’ve always been a good student and a quick learner so I was able to teach myself the techniques and skills needed for these crafts.
Where did the name of your store come from?
Wilderess is a word I made up. Sure, it is wilderness without the “n,” but a Wilderess is something much more. It’s a brand that represents those that love nature as it is meant to be loved- in a natural state. My mom always taught me to try to eat food as close to its natural state as possible because it can then offer the richest amount of vitamins and quality. As part of my brand development, I created a definition for the term:
This definition keeps my brand on a clear path. We create and hunt of items that bring us closer to nature in any sense of the word.
Why did you start making goods for Wilderess?
I started making my own lip balms simply because I could not find what I was looking for on the market. I wanted to know exactly what I was putting my lips since so much of the lip products we use daily get ingested throughout the day! When I considered making candles to add to my online shop, I did hours of research. I learned how terrible paraffin wax is and how little we know about the candles we buy (zinc core wicks vs. cotton core; phthalates in the fragrance oils they use). I even outlined some of the findings of my research as well as a description of each ingredient I use in the “about” section on wilderess.com.
What is your favorite item?
My favorite lip balm flavor is definitely Lavender Lemon. The blend smells so sophisticated and tastes delicious. It’s easily my best seller online as well. I’ve had multiple orders from customers for up to 16 Lavender Lemon lip balms at a time! A lavender lemon scented candle is now also in the works!
My favorite candle scent is Sweet Tobacco. I love this scent. I love the spiciness of it. It’s rich and masculine. Sweet Tobacco is one of my best sellers, but a lot of my customers are afraid of it, too. They say, “Oh, I don’t smoke. I don’t do tobacco.” I don’t either! I would never want to make something that would be a health hazard in any sense. That would be against my brand! My favorite moment was at a recent Patchwork Show in Long Beach when a young girl asked if she could buy it because she was under 18. So honest and responsible…and cute!
What is your most popular item?
My overall best selling item is the Oak & Amber candle. It’s universally appealing to both my male and female customers. It was also the first candle scent I ever made! It’s a rich woody scent with notes of musk, herbs, and amber. I usually sell out of this scent at events!
Where do you get the inspiration for your work?
Everything! I could never say any single thing inspires me. I don’t close myself off to inspiration so sometimes it’s a memory, an experience, or a film! I’m obviously inspired by nature and my personal semi-bohemian style, but I never know what will give me an inspired moment.
What makes your store unique?
I think the most unique part about my store is the message we share with our customers of transparency. Aside from divulging our production and recipe secrets, we want our customers to know exactly what is in the products they are buying and how it differs from others on the market. I’m even more excited that I’m not the only one doing this anymore. It seems like a natural progression for a world that’s getting a little tired and fed-up with a lot of commercially produced products.
What is the toughest part about making your goods/your artistic process?
Any crafter will tell you that the toughest part is the burn-out. When you do something you love for business, it becomes business [work]. You have to come up with something else you can do creatively for fun. Currently, everything in my shop that is handmade and handmade by me, the owner, and me only. I work insane hours and make a lot of sacrifices to keep my craft alive. When there is a big show, the hours seem even longer. Afterwards, I have to take a couple days to really recoup and I try out a new craft to get my creative juices flowing again.
Where can I see more of your work and buy a gift?
Personally, I have "sampled" the goods by testing out all of the aromas, and they are all heavenly! It would be too hard to choose a favorite, so use the code "wilderess15" for 15% off of your order at Wilderess.com!
Now, it's time for a giveaway! Enter using the widget below, and make sure to come back daily for extra bonus entries!