My kids picked up one of Christine’s candles for me at Patchwork Oakland a few years ago, and gave it to me for a Christmas gift last year. I lit it and was immediately in love. It was in our bedroom, and I wanted to keep it burning all the time, but didn’t want it to get all used up. It was a serious dilemma. Needless to say, I now know where I can pick a few more up. Meet Christine of Penelope and go buy her candles!!!
Please introduce yourself.
My name is Christine and I grew up in American Canyon, CA. I currently reside in Oakland, CA with my fiancé and 2 cray Boston Terriers!
What do you make or do?
I make scented soy wax candles all hand poured out of my warehouse in East Oakland, CA.
Where can we find your creations?
You can find my candles at Dean and Deluca in St. Helena, www.penelopeco.com, ETSY and 50 other retailers across the U.S all listed on my website.
Is there an interesting story behind the name of your business?
I was spending a lot of money on scented soy candles and knew I couldn’t afford my addiction. On a day off of work I went to a local bath and body store that sold candle supplies in Berkeley, and purchased materials to start making soy candles. I learned how to make candles online and created a bunch at home to burn. I had so many candles I handed them out to my neighbors who loved them! It dawned on me that I should sell them at craft shows, so my fiancé’s brother who’s a graphic designer created the brand I envisioned and I started an Etsy store. Local boutiques found me and wanted me in their stores in Oakland, and that’s how Penelope blossomed!
How long have you been creating and is it your full-time job?
I’ve been creating candles since 2013, but it isn’t my fulltime job. I work for one of the largest retailers as a buyer for kids bedding. It’s really fun and I get to shop for a living!
When you’re not making things, what do you do?
When I’m not making things I love to go to Target and buy stuff for my home. I love interior design and Target sucks me right in. I walk in with the intention to only buy toothpaste, but inevitably end up leaving with new toss pillows, a candle holder, picture frames and rug.
Where do you find inspiration?
I feel inspired when I travel. Different places have scents that stick with you and I hold on to dear memories at places I love! I have a scented candle called Portland that smells like crackling firewood and fresh rain. My family is from Portland so I hold that place dear to my heart. When I light that candle, I think of them.
What would be your perfect day off?
My perfect day off would be relaxing next to Lake Merritt hanging out with my 2 Boston Terriers Reggie and Penelope and my fiancé Matt, reading a book while enjoying the East Bay weather.
What inspiring advice would you give to other creatives be they established or just starting out?
Try not to be too hard on yourself in the beginning. Stay focused and only worry about what makes you happy and what’s right for your business. Your product is a reflection of who you are, and if you want to stay in this business happily, you need to be true to yourself and your artistic expression.