Jake Carnley of Great Bear Wax Co. spoke with us about how he got into candle making, and his quest for a 1972 Airstream Sovereign.
Tell us about how Great Bear Wax Co. got started?
Well I wish I had a grandiose story about how as a child i fell in love with candles.. but… I bought a super expensive candle for a girl I was dating in college. I have always loved making and crafting with my hands so after spending a lot of cash on this candle for her I thought about it and knew I could make a better candle and not charge people the outrageous price that they charged. Three years late I launched into business and have absolutely fallen in love with candle making and the community that surrounds small business!
What sets you apart from other companies out there?
People always crack the joke of manly candles or “Mandles” and I get it I suppose. There are folks out there who attempt to make mandles and quite honestly they seem more like gag gifts than anything else. I suppose what sets me apart is the fact that I have a candle that will level the candle playing field.
On one hand you have the ordinary cinnamon, french vanilla, or cupcake scented candles that lots of folks love but no man wants to burn in his office or bedroom. On the other you have the Mandles that are bbq or “swimsuit model” (I wish I was kidding) scented candle and these may seem manly but no man who cares about craft or elegance would burn these candles. I set out to level that playing field with sophisticated artistic candles that fit as well in the farmstead kitchen as they do the manhattan penthouse.
Describe your product in one word.
Where does the inspiration for your fragrances come from?
They come mostly from old memories of mine and from nature!
What is the story behind the Airstream?
Owning an Airstream trailer has always been a dream of mine. When I started Great Bear Wax Co., I was forced to put this dream on hold. Several months after launching, I was at a pub with friends when I decided "just to look" at Airstreams for sale in the area. Sure enough, one was for sale in Fairhope, AL, my home town. I had already been planning to go see my folks, so I decided to email the owner, a local blueberry farmer, to ask if I could come see the trailer while I was there. I fell in love. A few weeks later, I bought the 1972 Airstream Sovereign. It seemed natural to move Great Bear into the Airstream, so my dad and I began renovating it in the spring of 2014. We are still working on it together, and I plan to move production into it in mid-2015.
What are some exciting things we can expect from Great Bear Wax Co. in the future?
Ive been on a quest to add a pretty serious lifestyle aspect to the business so after a year of brainstorming I think I have come up with a neat lifestyle aspect. I can’t say much right now but it is mainly around the quote “a lit candle means something is about to happen” and the community that surrounds a candle. As a matter of fact it is unsafe to light a candle and then leave.
Lastly, if you had to come up with a Broquet, what would it include and what would you name it?
Great question... I would put a bottle of Cazadores Anejo, a copy of To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, a Great Bear Wax Co. Grapefruit candle, and a digital download of Jimmy Buffett’s “Living and dying in 3/4 time”. I would call it the Coastal Carnley… If you make that happen I'll die…