With a desire to make a natural, unisex candle, Travis Troyer founded Basik Candle Co. Using a blend of coconut wax and scents inspired by nature in the Bay Area, Basik Candles relax and inspire you to wind down and enjoy the outdoors.
Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting story behind it?
I wanted to create a product that was design conscious, eco-conscious, but also wallet friendly. I wanted it to be easy, not fussy, so Basik just seemed to fit.
What sparked your interest in this particular craft?
I have loved candles and have burned them my whole life, but as I became more interested in researching what chemicals and ingredients went into some of the products I was using at home, I became concerned. Even some of the more expensive brands were using ingredients that made me uncomfortable. I was also tired of paying ridiculously high prices for candles that I considered to be of higher quality. So, I took a candle making class at Workshop SF, and rest is history.
What do you think sets your designs apart from others?
We have clean, unisex design and clean, easy, scents focused on nature. I wanted to create a product that you weren’t embarrassed to have out on your coffee table when friends came over, or that you had to turn around to hide the label or try to take it off because it wasn’t appealing. I have always loved citrus scents, but was frustrated that so many candles came in such feminine packaging or containers. I didn’t believe that candles or scents should have a gender and wanted to create a brand that women and men would find appealing.
List some of the most important lessons you’ve learned while running your business:
I have always been a perfectionist, so learning to let go of the little things and make sure to take time to take care of myself even if it means neglecting a few things each day has been the hardest thing for me to learn. I will work myself into the ground for the sake of trying to achieve perfection, but that can be detrimental. Trying to find balance and learn what to really focus on and what to let go of has been the hardest thing for me to learn.
What has been your proudest moment since you’ve started?
Winning the USA Today Top 10 Makers in the Home and Garden category and making it to the Men’s Journal Top 10 Fall Candles for Men were huge honors. It is so rewarding and exciting to see all of your hard work pay off. I have to say though, when we do local shows like Renegade Craft Fair, the compliments we get from our customers make it all worth it. To have someone notice the tiniest detail whether it’s the packaging, how the label looks seamless against the container, all the little details that my friends told me no one would notice or care about because I was obsessing over them is always so rewarding.
How does the city or cultural environment you live in influence your work?
I honestly do not think I would have been inspired to launch the business if it had not been for the maker atmosphere and support from the community in San Francisco. I have never lived in a city where people are so supportive of local goods and who truly seem to understand that how they spend their money is one of the most powerful ways to make a difference in this time. We are so proud to produce a product that is ethically made, and it means so much to be so well received in our home town.
What valuable experience did you have before starting your business?
I have a background in Accounting and Information Management, but I have always been very passionate about design. My accounting and IT knowledge has definitely helped me. If it were not for the heavy reliance on software and automation to make business processes as seamless as possible, we wouldn’t have been able to grow as quickly as we have. I look forward to being able to help fellow makers who are struggling with this aspect of their business in the future as we scale and hopefully I get to a point where I have a little more free time on my hands again.
Do you have any favorite products? What makes them special to you?
We are working on some limited edition collections and some collaborations for next year that we are really excited about.
What are some inspirations for your work?
Scent plays such a powerful role in our memories and our lives. Candles can take us back to a certain memory or simply create a more relaxing mood for us to be able to relax and unwind at the end of the day. I am inspired by nature and hope to continue to find scents that help bring the outdoors in.
What’s on the horizon for your business?
In addition to working on developing additional products, we are currently working on streamlining our processes so we can continue to scale and hopefully expand internationally in 2018.
What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?
Follow your instincts. People will tell you that there must be an easier way, cut corners, no one will notice, but trust your instincts. Be open-minded and listen, but always trust yourself. Do your research, focus on quality. If you are truly passionate about and enjoy what you are doing, it will translate into success.