Smells Just Like You: Gilt Launches Its Custom Candle Collection Today (We Talked to the Buyer About Her Picks, Preferences … and a Little Fragrance Psychology)

Gilt’s first custom candle collection launches today, and boy, is it extensive. There are 20 vessel-color and 10 fragrance options, for a total of 200 combinations. Because we know that’ll make the indecisive types out there, well, indecisive, we pulled our candle buyer  and general home-fragrance guru, Katherine Miller, away from her vat of Diet Coke (she’s tired… it’s a big launch) to give a little insight into her picks and preferences. We wound up with a little scent psychology…

What was the reason for starting a custom collection? (There are lots of candles on the market… were customers just wanting more choice?) Buying a candle is a really personal process. You may have a scent that you love, but if you don’t love the vessel that the candle comes in, you aren’t going to buy it. There isn’t really a simple (or inexpensive) way to design your own candles, so I thought this would be a unique opportunity for customers to get exactly what they want…

How did you decide on the scents and colors that you did? Did you get tired of smelling testers? How many folks were involved? Were there any fights and/or tears in the selection process? (I’m imagining a very “Apprentice”-type boardroom situation….) [Laughs] It wasn’t QUITE that dramatic, unfortunately. I worked with my manufacturer to develop a strong color palette of neutrals and bold colors so there’s a little something for everyone. The scents we chose were a combination of customer favorites and my own personal favorites. I tried to steer clear of scents that are too polarizing…I think the 10 we selected are near-universally appealing.

I’m sad there wasn’t at least a simple arm-wrestle involved. You could have at least fabricated one for dramatic effect. OK, spill it — what are your two favorite scent/color combinations? Tough call! I’m a sucker for a plain black candle with a floral scent, so I’d say the black vessel with Lavender or Sweet Pea. But this winter weather we’re in here in NYC is causing major beach cravings, so I’m also in love with the Teal vessel with Mediterranean. Oh, I also LOVE the Dark Green vessel with Fig Tree. (Clearly, I can’t limit myself to just two.)

That’s OK. We’ll give you a pass on that one. So… which one would you buy for your best friend? My best friend is much more adventurous with color and she loves fruity scents (total opposite of me) so I think I would get her the Lime Green with Yuzu.

Which one is best for a dude? Males and candles are sometimes a tricky match. This was actually one of the reasons I think this concept is so great…candles tend to be really feminine in their designs and we are offering several colored vessels that I think guys will really gravitate towards. If I were buying one for a man-friend, I’d pick Sandalwood in a Khaki vessel.

That sounds very Bond-esque. OK, a little more color/scent psychology … what are the most subtle/introverted and loud/extroverted combinations? Obviously the neutral colors (Tan, White, Grey, etc…) are the most subtle, especially when paired with the lighter floral scents (Lavender, Lily of the Valley or Rose). The loudest combinations are the bright colors with unexpected fragrances (i.e. Turquoise with Grapefruit or Orange with Yuzu).

Cool. So now, let’s talk about me. You know me pretty well because we’ve worked together for a few years… what combo do you think I’d like the best? (And it’s not like you have to get me one as a present for my birthday.) What to get for the man who has everything? I’d consider your style ‘classic with a twist,’ so I think I’d suggest Sweet Pea in a Grey vessel. A subtle, masculine candle with a surprisingly light scent!

I’m flattered to be called so masculine yet light! One more Q, Katherine, before we send you back to fragrance-land: can we expect more choices in the future? Definitely! We wanted to keep the selection process pretty simple and straightforward for our first event, but we are absolutely planning to offer more scents and colors and different vessel shapes and sizes in the future. Stay tuned!

Intrigued? (You’d better be after we poured out our innermost thoughts to you.) Shop Gilt’s custom candle collection starting today.

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