Sometimes we want a new start: the thrill of a new adventure, a new experience, a new flame. Other times we yearn to relive memories of places and emotions that shaped us. As we go through life, our brain collects a database of scents that it learns to link with emotions and memories. As a result of the close link to memories, scents can alter our mood and induce feelings of well-being and relaxation by making us think about places or moments with positive associations.
This finding drove founder Xenia Popov and founder associate Tom Oeyen to embark on a mission to create home fragrances of exceptional quality that brought back familiar memories or created new ones. Launched in early 2022, New Flame is a home fragrance brand that creates perfumer-grade scented candles intending to rekindle memories or provide a temporary escape to places of our dreams through the power of scent. The candles are made in France and sold directly to customers at fair prices, forgoing high industry markups.
With a background in Information Technology and private equity, Xenia used her combined experience in product development, agile project management, and analytics to bring New Flame from idea to reality.
About the Founders
Tom has been with New Flame and handled the initial marketing and community management. With a background in advertising and logistics and an optimistic and driven can-do attitude, Tom rolled up his sleeves and helped in multiple areas of the business as needed. Tom’s international experience contributed to the international focus of the brand.
Both were in London at the time, and having gone to school together in Germany, they decided to catch up over a pint of beer on a rainy winter day. They reminisced about old times, like sitting around a campfire with friends or catching a summer breeze by the ocean. This led to the idea of recreating these familiar fragrances into scented candles to recall nostalgic moments or escape to dreamlike places – and so the concept of New Flame was born.
Being an avid lover of fragrances, Xenia first noticed how challenging it was to find scented candles with quality, true-to-life scents instead of cheap artificial aromas. The second challenge was finding candles made with ingredients that do not negatively impact our bodies or the environment while being long-lasting and having a clean, even burn. The last challenge was to find a candle that matched all of the above criteria but came at a price point that justified regular use and did not break the bank.
More about New Flame Candles
The journey to transmute New Flame from concept to tangible product began.
During the product research phase, it was quickly discovered that even some of the most expensive luxury-scented candles from established brands used toxic or low-quality ingredients, such as paraffin wax, parabens, dyes, or quick-burning soy wax. These candles would retail for £50-£100, which was a shocking discovery given the types of ingredients found in some candles.
Throughout the initial product development process for New Flame, different kinds of candle and fragrance formulations were tried and tested. One finding was that soy wax, the main wax used in most scented candles on the market, did not burn well or last long. After multiple trials, it was decided to use a blend of 100% naturally derived vegetables- and beeswax, which resulted in a long-lasting, clean and burn.
The search for the most important part of the product, the fragrance, led the founders to a little town named Grasse on the French Riviera. This historic French town has a rich history surrounding perfumery and is known as the world’s fragrance capital. Here is where perfumers craft New Flame fragrances, and the scented candles are poured.
The perfume oils used in New Flame scented candles are certified by the International Fragrance Association. This global organization uses a best-practice framework to create fragrances that are safe for use, environmentally friendly, and considerate of the sourcing of natural fragrance ingredients. This means that New Flame candles use perfume oils that comply with the strictest safety and sustainability standards. Customers can be sure that each product is made with the highest level of care and integrity.
When choosing a scented candle, a high-quality product makes all the difference. Not only will the candle burn longer and more evenly, but it will also fill your home with a richer, more nuanced scent. In addition, a quality scented candle is made with the best ingredients that are safe for humans and pets and considerate to the environment. When used correctly, a well-made scented candle can be important in creating a warm and inviting atmosphere.
A commitment to quality has always been at the heart of the New Flame brand, with the founding team taking special care to ensure that the candles are long-lasting (50 hours per candle), clean burning, responsibly made, look good, and smell amazing. Inspired by a journey around the world, the fragrances are designed to evoke feelings of happiness, discovery, and delight.
New Flame launched with three scented candles: Taiga, a smoky, woody scent; Mykonos, a fresh fragrance with marine, citrus, and musk notes; and London, a new twist on the classic English rose fragrance with notes of saffron, cardamom, and musk. Whether you prefer floral, earthy, or fresh scents, the candles are sure to suit your needs.
Today New Flame sells online under the new Flame.co and has orders from the UK, US, and Germany.
The best-selling candle is Mykonos, which combines marine, citrus, and musk notes to create a clean scent that recalls a summer by the ocean. Refreshing and bright, the candle is inspired by the Greek island surrounded by the Aegean sea. Use the discount code “GIEJO” for 10% off your order, and try a New Flame candle for yourself!
Challenges Facing the Business
There are distinct challenges the brand faces. The most notable challenge is limited resources, which requires the founder and team to think creatively and out of the box to make the best of what is available and stand out among established brands.
In addition, selling a perfumed product online has unique challenges as customers cannot smell it for themselves. The ability to think of alternative ways to convey the fragrance, and to test and learn these methods quickly, is especially important as customers need to be convinced over text and images of what the scent is like.
The scented candle market is also highly competitive, with some key established players that have been around for decades and have a strong presence online and offline. Competing with the major players with limited resources and brand awareness is challenging and requires adapting quickly to trends and trying out new methods of reaching and resonating with customers.
These challenges can also be presented as opportunities. Despite the market being competitive, it is fragmented, and there aren’t clear dominant players that “own” the high-end home fragrance category. In addition, smaller brands are agile and able to adapt quickly to trends and iterate faster, providing an advantage.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people working hybrid or remotely has increased, resulting in more time being spent at home. This spurred an increased demand for interior fragrances, as people are looking for ways to create a sense of calm and well-being in their homes, and the fragrance is a powerful tool to achieve this.
Research shows that certain fragrances, such as citrus, can help reduce stress and promote relaxation. This is another reason for the rise in demand, with people looking for ways to relieve stress, soothe themselves, and boost their mood at home. As more people discover the benefits of home fragrance, demand will likely continue to climb, presenting an opportunity for New Flame.
Advice to Business Start-ups
When asked what advice New Flame entrepreneurs Xenia and Tom would give to other aspiring entrepreneurs, founder Xenia responded, “there is never a ‘perfect’ time to launch, but the sooner you start, the quicker you learn. There will always be obstacles, and the key is to be resilient, receptive to new information, and pivot when needed. Once you commit to something, commit fully and don’t overthink it”.
The founding team has high ambitions for New Flame, hoping to expand the product range to include more scents and fragrance products. New Flame aspires to become a brand that people associate with exceptional craftsmanship and quality at fair prices, making high-quality, exceptionally smelling, and beautiful high-end home fragrances more accessible worldwide.