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Episodes > Season 3 Episode 15

Keap Candles—sustainable scented candles made with clean-burning coconut wax

How Keap Candles prioritizes sustainability

Stephen Tracey, Founder @ Keap Candles

What's in this episode?

On this episode we’re chatting with Stephen Tracey, Founder of Keap Candles

Stephen shares the story of how following his intuition lead him to leaving his job at Google several years ago to found Keap Candles. Keap Candles are a candle subscription brand that are working towards a regenerative future by prioritizing sustainability for their business and customers.

So let’s get started!

Connect with Stephen Tracy on LinkedIn. Check out Keap Candles.

Episode transcript

Scott Meiklejohn: Stephen, thank you so much for joining us.

Stephen Tracy: It's a pleasure to be here. Thank you for having me.

Scott Meiklejohn: Could you tell me a little bit about yourself and a little bit about Keap Candles?

Stephen Tracy: So I'm one of the co-founders of Keap Candles we're a candle company based out of Kingston, New York, which is about two hours north of New York city. And we primarily are a candle subscription company focused on helping prioritize connection in people's lives and do that through the candles. And then through the scents and through the stories and our whole approach to business, it's all about this idea of helping build rituals of connection back into people's lives.

Scott Meiklejohn: Can you walk me a little bit about, I've done a little bit of my research here, guys. You were previously at Google. Can you walk me through those moments where you were looking for those moments of connection, again, looking to ground yourself a bit more, what was like the spark to pardon upon that founded Keap Candles for you?

Stephen Tracy: I think, you'll find out as I answer these questions, I'm a philosophical person and I think humans in general that we have an intuition, we don't understand how strong our intuition actually is, but then when we really think about it, we realize we all have strong intuition. And part of that is just when people say like, oh, something doesn't feel right, or I have this funny feeling, these gut feelings. And I bring that up because I would say not even just at Google, but ever since I went into my first job out of university in the UK and then I joined Google. Something about the world of large business. It never quite felt right. There was this intuitive sense of something is not quite right here for me personally.

Stephen Tracy: And then at Google, interfacing every day with technology and being so aware of that world of everything that was going on back in the early 2010 to 2015, when I was there, the growth of Facebook, Instagram happening, it just was leading me to think a lot about what is the world we're actually building with this technology, where I was it taking us. And I think there was a lot of conversation about the positives, but not so much conversation about some of the things we were losing.

Stephen Tracy: And so one of the really obvious ones is we were beginning to mediate our friendships through screens instead of in person. And these were the types of conversations I was having with colleagues, even when I was working in technology was how do we feel about this? What does it look like if we spend 90% of our lives on our phones, instead of, around other people? What does it mean when we spend more time seeing nature through a screen, than actually like being able to go and visit natural settings?

Stephen Tracy: And so that was one of the senses of disconnects that I was noticing. And then at the same time, in New York city, it's a work hard culture, it was definitely a company with, at the time, Google with a culture of hard work. And there were times where just the only thing that felt real at the end of the day was getting home, almost taking off that professional exterior that sometimes you feel you put on and lighting a candle, opening a bottle of wine. And that was the most real, again, back to this intuitive sense, that was the part of the day that felt like this is the life that I want to be living, is candles and wine, friends, chocolate, some of these simple pleasures. So those were the forces and the feelings that led to me and Harry, who ended up starting to Keap together that it was sort of these things bubbling away.

Scott Meiklejohn: So what were the first things that you were thinking you would have to tackle when you're thinking about making this company? How do you approach it? Do you take classes? How did you guys hit the ground running?

Stephen Tracy: So at first, I don't think we necessarily thought... We began talking about how much we loved candles and why. And some of the reasons were because they connect you to the present moment. You often, the scent can be very evocative. There was all these emotionally resonant things about candles, but the first thought wasn't that we were going to start a candle company. But over time, this was just over the period of weeks and months, it began to percolate through that. Well, maybe it's not the hardest product to figure out where to... We realized there were probably American manufacturers or other manufacturers, still not thinking that we might be the ones to make it. But we were suddenly looking at the fact that there was a lots of new brands at the time launching in unexpected categories.

Stephen Tracy: So this was in the day of like, these are Warby Parkers. And the early days, I don't even know if Casper, the mattress company had launched them, but these early days of unexpected brands coming into industries and reinvigorating them and making you think, oh yeah, it is nice to have a pair of blasters where you actually like the company that you buy them from. So we were thinking very much about that, that what would a modern future oriented candle company look like and what would it do? And then as we began really taking that into this idea that we were going to leave our jobs to start a candle company, we started speaking with manufacturers, it was one of the first things we did. And we realized very quickly in that industry, it's an industry that hasn't had, I think a lot of people asking new questions of it for a long time.

Stephen Tracy: So we were just getting a lot of pushback that any of the things we cared about in terms of materials, we were specifically asking, where does the wax come from? How could we make fragrance more transparent? And what does it mean for a fragrance to be well grown, well made, safe to use and have an end of life? And these sorts of questions just had no resonance in our industry. So at that point, we realized we were probably going to have to either wait and maybe wait for the industry to change, or maybe we would have to try and make the candles ourselves and actually find the ingredient suppliers ourselves, and take on more of the ownership there of the entire end to end process.

Stephen Tracy: So that was given to us as an answer. And I would say everything from then was just an act of curiosity driving us. I think if we'd known everything we would have to overcome, it's that famous, there's probably some sayings around it. You wouldn't have done the thing if you knew how challenging it would be. But I think we were just driven by curiosity and this sense that we really saw that candles could be a beautiful product to be having some of these deeper conversations around about the world we want to live in and the lives we want to lead.

Scott Meiklejohn: From talking to some other founders too, they totally relate to that, that why not bravado of like, let's give this a try, let's see how this goes. And that's how these things starts with that first step, so it's lovely to hear. Thank God you guys did take that first step too and did it yourselves. When did subscriptions come to the picture? Like when you were thinking about this model, and if you were going to go in that, was DTC even like you're mentioning like Casper, was that what you guys wanted to focus with or was it just taking it all in and seeing what worked?

Stephen Tracy: I think, subscriptions came up as an idea very early because there was some... I mean, I wouldn't say like I study the subscription industry and really know what makes a great subscription in general, but I know one thing would be like, you need to replenish the item every now and again, you're not going to subscribe to like a vehicle or something like that. So we knew that candles had this interesting aspect and where you do use them up. We knew that fragrance as we spoke to people like why did they buy candles? And we knew that people loved variety and loved seasonally theming sense to their own preferences. So we saw that there were this opportunity to create a story driven subscription around something that people could look forward to receiving, a bit above like a subscription to toilet paper, which is a bit functional.

Stephen Tracy: This could be the type of subscription that's a bit more joyful and like a present arriving to your door every month. So I think it came up for us very early as an idea. I would say though, in general, we did think that we were going to launch online, but I think that the idea of just being a direct consumer company was never something that we thought about long term, because I think, like I say, is about connection and I think people don't just live their lives on websites. And to me, I have some nice online experiences, but some of my favorite experiences are in physical, restaurants, coffee shops.

Stephen Tracy: And I think I want Keap to be a company that ultimately exists in people's lives in a more present way. So we try and do that through the subscription box experience, making that as much of the connection that you're getting a little piece of us arrive at your front door. But I think also in the long run, being able to be present in the world beyond just a website excites us, but so far, the barriers to starting a website and doing everything online is obviously so much lower from just a setup point of view that even now seven years in, going into the physical world feels like it's still a little ways off.

Scott Meiklejohn: To talk about in particular and especially over the years, how has that box experience evolved? If you think back to that first box you guys provided and now what it looks like, what's noticeably different in your opinion?

Stephen Tracy: Maybe, assuming people are watching this in future or listening to this, I think there are many different ways to start a subscription company or a company with a subscription as a core part of what you're doing. And I think we, from day one, had this really clear sense of what a dream subscription experience would be. Actually, we knew that it would be much more than just a product in a box. And then our challenge was that we've really taken, not like a heavily funded in terms of finance. We've really tried to grow a business that covers some costs and is a profit or break even making business that's reinvesting in itself.

Stephen Tracy: And I think a subscription has really helped with that. But what that's meant is that we had to face early on that the experience couldn't be the thing we wanted it to be because we just didn't have the resources to make that real. So at first, it really was just a candle in a box with slightly better pricing and personalization. We've always handwritten notes and things like that. And over time, we've been able to add in more of the fun, joyful accessories to now, there's like a custom matchbox every month, you get a preview of next month's fragrance in a mini candle.

Stephen Tracy: These are all things that come with their own expense, their own design, their own reasons you want to do them, but reasons why it can be challenging to do them, especially in the early days. So we've had to grow into our own subscription experience. And I think that's just been an interesting case in patience and in sometimes just having to realize, if maybe right now you are not there and you do have the frustrating feeling that your subscription would be doing better if it were the fully formed experience that you dream of.

Stephen Tracy: But then it's really just being like, well, what do we have? And let's find the customers for whom that makes sense, and having a stepwise fashion to getting to your dream, because I think it's easy to then feel frustrated or blame that if things are a problem. And sometimes I think one of your jobs as a founder is to just get away from the complaining, because no one's... You don't have someone who's going to tell you to stop doing that and just get back to the optimism, the curiosity and the fun and be like, okay, so this is what we're working with. How do we make as many people know about this, interested in this as it is? And then still, we then we get the exciting news in six months time of telling them that we're launching a new aspect to it. So it's been a journey. I think it's the short answer.

Scott Meiklejohn: Yes. The obstacle is the way. You just got to find these opportunities through it. And the most important part is starting. It's just starting and just continuing to grow and learn. And just like you said, like keeping those things in the back of your mind of the aspirations you want to move towards. I'm going to read something I wrote from your website, because I just adored it. It says, together with a thriving community of keepers, we are excited to bring more presence, more connection and more light into the world. Just loved that. And so I was wondering if you could share a little bit about your community of keepers, really like that name, it's really fun. And specifically the love letters you guys posted on their website, I think it's so nice that you guys feature those.

Stephen Tracy: It's funny because the background from technology and actually specifically the work I was doing was very analytical and looking at data. And so what's funny is that now I think in some ways we're like not a very data driven company because we've learned that data, you can find data to help you manage anything. But sometimes I think you miss the bigger picture for like staring at the specific information points. So the reason I'm mentioning that is love letters for us were initially this very spontaneous thing where we would just receive an email every now and again from a customer just out of the blue saying, I just wanted to let you know that this... It would be either around a specific thing that happened. Maybe we replaced a lost item. Maybe it would just be about they've been subscribing for a few months and they just wanted to let us know how much it had surpassed their expectations.

Stephen Tracy: But we would get these really sweet notes and it would be the best moment of the week. And ultimately, one of the things I oversee is our customer support or we call it customer love. And ultimately, I decided like that's the thing we should be managing our entire customer love for, is these things that we don't get to control other than the way that we consistently go out into the world and treat people well and leave people feeling better for having interacted with us as a company.

Stephen Tracy: And I think again, we can all think to when you've been treated by, I would say an airline, to pick on an industry, but when you've been treated by an airline like you don't matter or you've had to jump through like seven hoops on a dialer phone support. And you're just like, this makes me feel like my business doesn't matter. And in some industries, that's become the norm. So there's not, it's like a race to the bottom. But with us, we're like, what does it feel like if, before you've even, or even if you come at us with angry energy, if we're just like, hey, we are going to treat you in the best possible way and our aim being that we're going to leave you feeling better via any interaction you have with us.

Stephen Tracy: So the whole reason for that approach is we are like, well, let's try and get as much of this love to come back to us as possible, because that feels really good when we get these supportive messages. So that's one of the ways we now think about the customer support side of the business or customer love is just, and we track it. So like how much love do we get each week? And we can only control it through, like we don't do anything tactical to try and make it happen other than we just try and show up in everything we do with this spirit of like, let's treat people in the best possible way we can think of treating them.

Stephen Tracy: And so then we put some of these on our website in the form of love letters and if I need a pick me up, I can go and read them because we do get these notes. And again, back to connection, I think it demonstrates that, as human beings, we're many things, but I think one thing we all love to connect with other people. And I think when you treat someone well, you get treated well in return. And I think that's at the heart of our way of doing business.

Scott Meiklejohn: Really like that. I mean, you give a little love, you get a little love, you just put it out there in the world, that's so great. Speaking of a little love for the world, your efforts for sustainability are so admirable. I'd love to talk more about that. And you did hint to that from day one, that was part of the vision of Keap, when you're asking these questions that this industry's not really prepared to answer for. So how did you always keep that top of mind? What was the goals with sustainability at Keap?

Stephen Tracy: I mean, the first thing I would say is just, it's that, and again, to not sound like a cliche, but it's a journey and I think we care very deeply about it. And yet I also feel like we try to be harsh critics of ourselves and acknowledge that we're not the world's most sustainable company or that these... And also just that these words have become overused to the point where there's skepticism around what companies mean when they say these things. So for us, and without going into all the detail, I think it's really hard. I think you're almost talking about changing, like the culture of the way we do business and the whole culture we live in.

Stephen Tracy: So we start with, if we're going to do it well, we have to make sure that internally within Keap, as a small company, that we have a culture of thinking differently about this stuff. I think our biggest guiding idea is that humans broke things. We are part of nature, like I really believe that, but I think some of the things we've designed are unnatural in the ways they behave. So like plastics, they take millions of years to break down. That's not something that nature would generally support because, in a small environment, it would end up destroying, like if something in a pond started creating a plastic like product, it would kill the pond, and that would be the end of that experiment of nature creating a plastic like product. But humans, we've broken these cycles that the planet has existed on.

Stephen Tracy: So we really try and come and think about it. What does it mean to run a company in a natural way where, as best of possible, we can think about ourselves as part of our local ecosystem, part of our global ecosystems. And some very clear principles come out of that. Which I mean, hopefully people have begun to hear about. One of them is that nature generally doesn't have a concept of waste. So in nature, everything that you can call a waste product will actually be like the starting point for another process. So that's the whole idea of circularity and cyclicality within nature. Especially with, we've not yet expanded to any other product, and I think that's partly because we really care about trying to perfect and experiment with these ideas.

Stephen Tracy: So with the candles, it's like, okay, what does that mean? How do we get to that point? And then that just opens up lots of different answers. So you can say on the ingredient side, that means growing things in a way where, even at the point where something's grown, you need to be thinking about our chemicals and pesticides and fertilizers that both destroy environments, but also don't break down, are those being used? And if so, how can we say we're behaving like nature when to grow the wax that we use, we're destroying environments, hence we care about the ingredients. You can ask it if you're packaging. Do you use plastics? Do you use things that have a no end of life? Do you use things that can have a second life? Do you use things that can be composted?

Stephen Tracy: We try and apply that lens into every aspect of what we do. Like are we behaving in this way that's going to effectively mean we're integrated within this great web of life or are we somehow breaking ourselves away from it? And I think once you start doing that, you realize there are opportunities in terms of every aspect of running a company, like how you treat people, how you interact in your local neighborhoods, how you think about working the suppliers. And it becomes challenging because you realize there's just so much progress to be made, but that can also be inspiring. And I think that's where we now get a lot of our joy is in saying the world may be complicated, let's not play around. It's a complex world we live in right now.

Stephen Tracy: But what we can do is control how we go out and spend our time and live our lives and orient our own selves towards our work. And I think that's just a really empowering way to show up in your own life is saying, I'm going to know what I stand for and I'm going to do my best to show other people it's possible. And hopefully, I think it's a fine line between preaching and just being enthusiastic and being like, look at this, isn't this cool? So we try and be enthusiastic and not preachy, but that's tough because sometimes you really want to preach.

Scott Meiklejohn: Especially in the world we're living now.

Stephen Tracy: But again, I think the reason preaching has a bad sensibility is because people generally want to listen to things when they feel like they've made the choice. So we try and do this through telling stories about the work we do. We're very active on our blog, on our newsletter and we're probably different in that sense from many companies and that we've spent a lot more time thinking about those sorts of things than thinking about growth per se. We don't really have a ton of our time invested in any growth strategies beyond just continuing to show up and do this work that we think is the right work to do.

Stephen Tracy: And what has been deeply reassuring is that we grow through word of mouth. So the free marketing, I think we're just tapping into that natural tendency of people wanting to share stories that they care about. And we're also reaching the point where we can stop thinking, we've grown enough now, we can start having some time to think about growth. So I think we're at quite an exciting place where we've really been like trying to stay true to these bigger ideals for the seven years of our life as a small company so far. And I'm excited in the coming years to start getting that story out a bit more widely.

Scott Meiklejohn: Well, the citizen of the world, I really appreciate you guys focusing on those core ideals, having sustainability top of mind. Something I've loved about your website too, you mentioned it, you are leading by example, but you're also showing the way. I think in a really wonderful way, for example, you're talking about mushroom packaging on your website, you're talking about coconut wax, but you're also like sourcing it. I just love that. You're showing other brands, hey, these are ways you can do this too. For example, could you talk a little bit about coconut wax and how it burns clean, this isn't the tiny wax.

Stephen Tracy: I'm actually going to give you an answer that you're not anticipating yet.

Scott Meiklejohn: Okay. Hit it.

Stephen Tracy: So you preempted and I swear that there was no like pre-planning on this, but we're actually going to be making a big announcement in about, what date is it today, in about 10 days, which is that we are going to be transitioning away from coconut wax. And so, if I can have a few minutes, I guess you're being very generous with [crosstalk 00:24:49] talking.

Scott Meiklejohn: Let's do it.

Stephen Tracy: The background of coconut wax was this story of going out to manufacturers, most of whom wanted to just use paraffin or soy wax with this story like nobody really cares. And soy, you can call all natural, so people will be happy with that. And we knew enough about the soy industry already to know that it's one of the world's biggest mono cropped agricultural products, it's heavily in bed with Monsanto and the use of pesticides, fertilizers. And if you want to read about it, from the way that farmers have been treated and even gotten sick from the use of these things, just soy is unfortunately woven with that, it's also deeply woven into some of the stuff happening in the Amazon in terms of the mono cropping of the destruction of forest to make way for either cattle farming or soy.

Stephen Tracy: We knew enough to say like, well, we don't like either of these options. So when we started trying to source our own ingredients, because we decided we were going to become the manufacturer, we were able to find one supplier who was working with a coconut wax, which was a majority coconut oil based product blended with a tiny amount of soy. They wouldn't let us know exactly the ratio, but we were able to figure out it was around 80% coconut and then 20% soy wax. But the supplier was still a little, we got one step further back in the chain, but it was met with some of the same concerns. So no interest in telling us exactly where the coconuts came from. A lot of the answers were just like, well, they're from the Philippines, but we certainly had no sense of where in the Philippines, how are the coconuts grown?

Stephen Tracy: And at this point, you understand why we care about those types of questions. I think it's not just for our own sake, but also because we're trying to demonstrate that companies can do this. We can demand to know where the things that we get are grown and how they're grown, and I think it's important to do so. We lived in this world where we... And we very transparently tell this story on our blog about coconut wax. That it's the best thing we could find, that it has great qualities as a candle wax. So there's no issues from the product point of view, but we weren't very happy with this lack of transparency of where the wax came from.

Stephen Tracy: About three years ago, we met a supplier. We actually went a natural foods product in LA where everyone who wants to get into whole foods and is making like healthy bars and yogurts out of coconut milk and Oat milk, Oat milk was taking over the show. They were like, all the big sponsors were different Oat milk companies. So we went there and we met an ingredient supplier who work with oil palm. And now here, I'll do injustice to the level of depth of this story. But oil palm is the tree that is then grows palm fruit that then turns into palm oil.

Stephen Tracy: And most people have heard of palm oil and have heard about it in a very negative sense because it's been, and rightly so, it's been heavily linked with destructive farming practices, particularly in Southeast Asia, Borneo, Indonesia, Malaysia. And there, again, it's, monocropping where forests were raised to make way for just row off the row of palm tree and pesticides are used because that's not a very resilient ecosystem when you've just got the single tree millions of them. And again, the ways that humans are treated, every part of that industry was about extraction and dominating people in the environment.

Stephen Tracy: So good reasons for palm oil to have this negative, especially in that area. So this ingredient supplier specifically was created, they're called natural habitats, and they specifically were started about 15 years ago, focusing initially in Ecuador to demonstrate that the oil palm as an actual organism, as a tree, is a great organism. It creates more oil per tree or per hectare than any other type of oil producing, than soy, I think it's like 20 times more oil per hectare that it can produce. It doesn't have much water resource needs. It works well with other types of trees and plants growing around the base of it. It can be this very productive plant without this need to destroy everything.

Stephen Tracy: So they have worked for the past 15 years in Ecuador to transition farms away from monocropping, or just traditional farming practices that had degraded land towards actually regenerating the land into a diverse ecosystem that integrates oil palm trees, but also returns certain parts of land to native ecosystem systems to encourage more biodiversity, all organics.

Stephen Tracy: So using no fertilizers, using the actual fruit and the leaves to create compost for next season, just lots of detail I could go into about how they're approaching it. And they had a palm wax product. And the other exciting thing we learned is one of their biggest clients was Dr. Bronner's, who've been a big inspiration to us in terms of a company that really stand for something and have fun doing it, but also really, they do the work when it comes to a company standing up for something they believe in.

Stephen Tracy: So we started playing with palm wax about three years ago, and thinking about taking on this responsibility of shifting the narrative, that it's not the plant itself that it should be vilified, it's the method of production, which is a subtle shift. And obviously, people can still be skeptical of that. But with the research we did and our understanding, we really felt this was an important story to tell that actually we need oil palm in the world. We just need to demand that it's not grown and that we shift back to forms of agriculture that actually respect people, respect animals, respect the planet. And that's exactly what natural habitats is about.

Stephen Tracy: So coming to the end of this long answer, but we've been working, it's actually been surprisingly tough for a variety of reasons to get the wax to perform well as a candle wax for centered candles. So we've been in the midst of the pandemic. It put on the metaphorical back burner, but we've been playing with this wax trying to figure out how to transition our whole business to palm wax grown in a regenerative manner with organic certification, fair trade certifications, every level of stringent certification that's imaginable like this wax has.

Stephen Tracy: And we're basically at the point where we're ready to launch it, we're in the final steps, but we decided on Earth Day, this year, we're going to be announcing this bigger story of why we're making this shift, this change of perspective, of understanding the difference between a plant versus an agricultural system. So that was not the length of answer, maybe you were expecting.

Scott Meiklejohn: No, that's great.

Stephen Tracy: But that's the level of detail we're interested in is, not just delivering a subscription product and a candle, but a candle that has a lot of meaning and depth behind it.

Scott Meiklejohn: That's so neat.

Stephen Tracy: [crosstalk 00:32:42] myself there.

Scott Meiklejohn: I loved hearing all about that, that's so fascinating. It goes to show the level of passion, the level of detail you guys go to. I would also encourage any other founders or anyone in the business who's listening, check out like mushroom packaging, check out biodegradable labels. I think that's so neat. Even, again, to think about the label itself and knowing there's ways you can make this sustainable too.

Scott Meiklejohn: So as we're coming to the close, these are some questions we always ask as we get towards the end of the interview. And we covered a little bit of it. But what advice would you give to a subscription brand that's just launching? Just thinking about subscriptions. If you can think back then, what advice would you give them now?

Stephen Tracy: I would say, to me, focusing on the experience you're giving your existing customers so that would translate into a metric as lifetime value. But thinking about how you actually creating a subscription that people are going to want to be subscribed to for many years is the more important question than how you're going to grow your number of subscribers, at least as an initial question. Because I think many subscription businesses probably struggle with people falling out of the subscription after a while. And I think that's because there's an overbalance in general on people just thinking about acquisition and how to get more people in and telling a good story, but not actually living up to that with the experience.

Stephen Tracy: So I think just thinking about how... And again, I think that comes out of metrics and just comes about how do you treat people really well? What does a really great experience for whatever the product is you are trying to sell? What does it really look like? Does it mean giving people full control? Does it mean offering easy ways to change things and spend time speaking with people about that. Like get to know your subscription customer, get to know your potential subscription customer, even if you haven't. And then I think a lot of the strategy and how to then build the subscription will come from that.

Stephen Tracy: And I think just in general, it's very easy to get lost in the numbers otherwise and forget that behind the subscription business is people trying to, in some way, make their life a little bit more enjoyable or a little bit more easy. So starting with the people and the experience you're trying to create.

Scott Meiklejohn: That sounds so obvious, but you can get tunnel vision when you're just trying to do everything and forget to actually speak to your customers or your potential customers, I think that's great advice. And how about for you, do you subscribe to any physical subscription products? Do you have anything coming to your house regularly?

Stephen Tracy: That actually makes me think that another piece of advice I would give is making sure that you live up to the thing you're saying you want to offer your customer, making sure that you offer it to yourself. Because I think, particularly as founders, there's this general cultural notion that it's okay for you to almost suffer in the process, that it's meant to be hard work and that if you're not working 24/7, that you're not doing something right. But now I respect. So that comes back to the question, do I subscribe to anything? Meaning, yes, I subscribe to my own candles. So I actually, everyone on our team gets a subscription to our candles, partly so that we can literally just like check everything. And sometimes we learn things about the package arriving just by having it arrive to our own front doors.

Stephen Tracy: And then I subscribe to coffee and that's just such an obvious one. And I go with one that is a story driven coffee piece where like the coffee, you learn a bit about the farmer and where the coffee came from, which again, for me, makes the coffee more fun to think about where it was grown and how it was grown. But other than that, maybe back to the piece of treating ourself well. We still invest a lot into the company and it means that my disposable income, I think a lot about where I put it. And so I'm not such a big consumer anymore. I think I've even learned maybe in this journey. And that's something really that's that college for me to say on here, but I really think a lot about what do I really need versus what do I want?

Stephen Tracy: And still that could sound like a joyless statement, like oh. But I think it's sort of fun to realize sometimes, we do live in a world where we are told, you must want this and you must want that, you need. And to take a little breath before then. So I'm a little better than I used to be, I think, at actually not purchasing things. And I feel good with that. So that's just my personal stance. And so coffee and candles are my two subscription things.

Scott Meiklejohn: That's great. That little minimalist, intentional lifestyle, I like that. I as well, subscribe to our local coffee roasterie, it's so fun to support them. One more question for you. I'll reveal. So my coworker Kelly, who wanted me to mention, she absolutely loved Green Market. This candle scent to you guys put out and she said, and I quote, "I have been savoring it." Picking her moments to burn it because she loves it so much. And she says, "It's a cool crisp day at the market." And so I wonder if, is there any candle you guys have had recently in any box in these seasons that you've just really adored and have savored?

Stephen Tracy: Our most recent new scent was definitely a big hit. It was called canyons and the idea was capturing the smell of, we don't ever name the scent after places, but we did have the idea of like Santa Fe, if you've been there, everyone talks about how the air smells in Santa Fe. And it's like a mix of pine trees, they have these trees called Pinyon, but then this notion that just desert has a smell. So we were playing with smells that maybe don't even exist in the desert, but they bring to mind. So we had like some saffron in there because it's orange. And so almost subliminally, if you have this tiny little bit of saffron, it can create more of an experience, almost like the color scape, the synesthesia.

Stephen Tracy: So that scent, I think people, we didn't really know what to expect when we were like, this is the smell of the desert canyons. And yet people really loved the scent and it was just a big hit. That was fun to develop that scent. And definitely one of the fun things about running a candle company is getting to pick smells you want to bring to life and then going down that rabbit hole.

Scott Meiklejohn: That's so neat. Crafting these evocative stories by putting in little pieces of that, that's awesome. Well, Stephen, we want to thank you so much for joining us and we wish you guys in Keap Candles the best of luck for the rest of the year.

Stephen Tracy: All right. Perfect. Well, thanks for having me and thanks to Recharge for helping us run the subscription as well as we do. Thank you.

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