Why candles? And why connect them with a story?
My girlfriend Natasha had been suggesting that I make candles for months and months. I was never opposed to the idea, but I was also never struck with inspiration. In theory I liked the idea of incorporating candles into my line up, but how were they to be packaged, what would be unique about them? The last thing I wanted to do is just make another candle, so I sat on the idea for a long while.
Eventually, I don't know how it came to me, but I had this vision of a leather armchair in a study. I pictured one of those old rooms with a roaring fireplace, books all over the wood paneled walls, and a cigar burning in an ashtray. The scent was to be called "The Armchair in the Study", and I had decided that I wanted the label to have a sort of apothecary vibe to it. I found the perfect jars and got started on the labeling right away. Luckily photoshop has always come relatively easy to me, and this sort of stuff was right up my alley. I designed my Pigeon Tree logo within an hour of coming up with the idea back in 2011.
I decided that the candles should be under a sub-brand, instead of being branded with Pigeon Tree, I wanted it to have a stand alone, yet familiar branding, hence "The Indigo Pigeon" was born.
When I presented the idea to my girlfriend (take note boys, value your partner for their input, if you don't you will sorely miss out) and while she was very fond of the idea, she immediately questioned what was to come next- how could this be a cohesive candle collection. I didn't see the importance in this at the time, I had really just wanted to focus on the one candle and eventually add more to the mix, but I didn't think it was going to be a problem to come up with other scents and places that fit within the theme..
Well, lucky for me she didn't let up. She presented the idea of "what if there was a series of candles that were tied together by a story- a mystery." She said I could put it out by the holidays.. Wow, what an overwhelming idea I thought! Just making one candle in time for the holidays felt like a lot, but a series of them, AND with a story? Don't get me wrong, I loved the idea, but I had so much self doubt, I just didn't think it was possible within any reasonable time frame.
Now, obviously, you know that I accomplished the impossible, so how did I do it you ask? Have you ever heard of Inception? She planted that idea so deep down into my mind that I literally could not stop thinking about it. I do almost all of my best mental work as I am trying to fall asleep. Ideas just come to me when the lights are off and the house is silent. It makes it difficult to fall asleep, but it's seriously one of my most creative times.
Within a few days I had all three locations and a rough idea of the story laid out in my head. I got to work on the remaining logos and candle scents. I ordered literally dozens of fragrance samples, and I start writing the story out; even on my phone when inspiration struck. I am not a writer, but I have a background in film and have been around storytelling my whole life. Sometimes I find that words just flow through my fingers and they almost hit the paper before the thoughts become cognizant.
Yet again my girlfriend had a great piece of input; to simplify the name of the first scent, and condense it down to just "The Study"
Every aspect of these candles beckons a lot of pride from me. I am immensely proud of learning yet another new skill; candle making is not something I had ever attempted before. It is amazing how much goes into it, it's incredibly simple yet complex at the same time. A lot of materials are needed, measurements and temperatures need to be precise.. It truly is a science.
The packaging is one of my finest achievements, in terms of putting out a professional looking product. Yes, I am profoundly proud of my handiwork with leather and indigo, but something about creating a packaged product like these candles just makes me smile in a different sort of way.
The story is dark and twisted and full of psychological twists and nuances. The fragrances and locations all play a part in the story, but they are just there to set the mood. Our lead character is a girl and that was not something that I had planned right off the bat. Actually, the story that appeared in my head was just a vaguely shaded outline, it wasn't until I actually started typing away that the story fleshed itself out.
It is crucial that the story is read in sequence. Each candle's story is not stand-alone. They are all connected and should be read in the following order:
The Study -> The Woods -> The Lighthouse
Huge thanks to my girlfriend for being so incredibly creative and for encouraging me to do what I did not think could be done.
Shout out to my friend Mike from Scout & Pine. He was instrumental in providing me with a plethora of candle making tips and tricks, as well as offering input on my label design. Thanks Mike!
Hope you are enjoying the waft of leather and tobacco from The Study as we speak.
Photo credit - Michael Bandy @bigdudeindenim