NIGHTTIDE HORROR GIFT GUIDE - FEBRUARY!!
We're celebrating our 1st Small Biz Horror Gift Guide this February for all you Bloody Valentines! It's high time we shine more light on small businesses in the horror industry, so let's get to know some!
PURGATORY CANDLE CO. Drawing inspiration from their Mexican/Latinx heritage and the unconventional subcultures that shaped their teenage years, Jasmine and Lesly built a brand to address the absence felt by individuals navigating both cultural and subcultural identities. The company honors horror cinephiles, folklorists, Goth enthusiasts, and everyone in the diverse spectrum between them. Their mission is to provide premium home fragrances for those who have been overlooked by the mainstream home fragrance industry, fostering a sense of community within the intersections of culture and subculture.
1. Jasmine and Lesly, could you each tell us a bit about your journey to Purgatory Candles via the horror highway?
Purgatory was an idea that became a reality during the quarantine of 2020. We have always talked about owning some sort of business together in passing, but nothing ever came of it. It wasn't until we found ourselves with a bit more time on our hands that we were able to learn a bit more about the candle-making process and begin testing out our ideas. We have been friends since 2013, and we have many common interests, but our love of music and film is what brought us together. We decided to create our candles based on some of our favorite horror movies, as we are both big fans of the genre and thought it would be clever to correspond scents with films we love. What would the Overlook smell like? What would Camp Crystal Lake smell like? We wanted to create a product we would be excited to see, something for horror fans by horror fans.
2. What has been your favorite part of being a women-led business?
Meeting, Networking, and working with other women-owned business owners who are a part of the horror community and even outside of the horror community has been phenomenal. We've met so many amazing women since starting Purgatory together and we're honored to be able to share this space with them. Horror is a predominantly male-driven genre, so it feels great being two Latina women standing beside other women who own horror-inspired companies too.
3. How has the horror community helped you both personally and professionally?
We started Purgatory on Etsy thinking we would only sell maybe 8 or 10 candles to our friends and family, but the horror community had other plans. Once we put out our candles into the world, people really liked them. They liked the branding, the movie references, the scents, the decorations on top, the clever names - it was something new that people resonated with. It goes back to the for horror fans by horror fans mentality. There was this sense of unity and community, just from a candle and that was insane to experience. The next thing we knew, we had TikTok's and products blowing up online, we had actors and crew and people involved in the films our products were inspired by, reaching out to us to place orders and telling us they were excited about our work. It's because of the horror community that we are where we are today. Everything we make is with the horror community in mind. Words can't describe the support, love and kindness we have experienced during the short time we have had our business. We are forever thankful and our hearts are so full of nothing but love for the horror community.
4. What's been your favorite product to make and/or what was a great idea/execution?
We will always have a special place in our hearts for Dracula, as that is the first candle we ever made together. It's a fan favorite and a best seller, and will forever remind us of the first time we were able to collaborate and create Purgatory Candle Co. But a close second favorite would be our candle inspired by the film Barbarian. We normally plan all of our product releases a year in advance, so it gives us time to work on sourcing the perfect fragrance, getting design details exactly how we want them, and making sure our hand-sculpted wax toppers are perfect. Our Barbarian-inspired candle, Be Her Baby, was a bit different when it came to brainstorming. This was a candle we joked about making, and the more we kept talking about it and joking about it - it turned into a crazy brainstorming session where we just kept feeding ideas to one another. The next thing we knew, we had a candle with a wax baby bottle covered in hair that smelled like almond milk (of course we had called it mother's milk - but it's actually a really lovely scent). Even the product shoot was a lot of fun, we mixed different liquids that created this disgusting milk-like solution that we then put into a real baby bottle and photographed it with the candle. This was one of those products that just worked so nicely from concept to execution. We had a lot of fun making Be Her Baby, and it shows.
5. What was your most formative piece of horror media (lit, film, television, comic, art)?
For Lesly it's all about camp and gore - the more outrageous the better. Dead Alive, Evil Dead 2, Argento's Suspiria, and Hausu are all gems in her book. Jasmine leans more toward atmospheric horror like The Conjuring, The Exorcist, and her favorite scary movie Scream. We both grew up during a time when Goosebumps, X-files and Are You Afraid of the Dark? were hitting the airwaves. These shows were our gateway into the world of horror.
6. Have there been any odd requests for candle ideas?
All the time. ALL THE TIME. Most of the time it's us pitching weird ideas to each other. But I would say a majority of odd requests come from our friends and not our customers. For example, the other night a friend of ours said he would pay us to make a candle that smelled like a cheeseburger on a grill. Will we make a meat-scented candle? Probably not. Although we have smelled some pretty unique scents, and the meat ones are always a little weird. But hey, sometimes you just got to get a little weird with it, that's where the fun is, but not TOO weird. If we can execute it, and it works...why not make it? But we also don't make anything we can't see ourselves lighting in our own homes. We're not monsters, just mad scientists.
7. What would you suggest as a great Valentine's Day gift from Purgatory Candles?
Wax melts are a perfect gift if you don't want to commit to a candle! Throw them in a heart-shaped box with some candy, maybe some movies or goodies that correspond with the scent. Wax melts are also the perfect way to sample a few fragrances as they're easy to switch out and change. If your partner doesn't have a wax melter, get them one! Trust us! There is nothing better than a Cute and spooky Valloween gift basket filled with movies, a melter, wax melts, AND candy.
8. How can folks find or support the projects you're involved in outside of your business? (Short film, charity, organization, art etc.)
Purgatory is our main project! We both work full-time jobs outside of Purgatory. Jasmine (Jazzy_bautista) is a professional Costumer in the film and television industry and Lesly (Leslimonster) is a Graphic Design manager in the beauty industry. Purgatory is our labor of love. We've put blood, sweat, and tears into the company - so continuing to like, share, and support means a lot to us.
Check out Purgatory Candle Co.'s incredible My Bloody Valentine Collection here!
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