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Life & Work with Chris DePalma

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chris DePalma.

Hi Chris, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
We started our business as a creative outlet and hobby. We soon learned that candle-making is an art and craft and we worked to be better and better at it. We wanted to create candles that were all-natural, safe and affordable but reflect our artistic flair as well. In the beginning, our friends and family were our customers and we received such a great response. We then began to do local shows and events, and we noticed that our candles began to sell rather quickly.

We made a few bold visits to local shops to ask if they would carry our candles and were excited to receive some welcomed yes! Our business grew and we worked hard to make the highest quality candles possible. Our customers gave us the inspiration of the scents to carry – and we continued to design our labeling with artistry and color. Our brand became Urban Candle early on – reflecting our love for St. Louis and the city. In November 2021, we opened a brick-and-mortar location with a studio for making and a retail location for shopping, making us the first candle shop in the south city in Saint Louis. We continue to build and grow day today. Most of all, we built this business from passion and determination and a deep enjoyment of the people who we connect with in our business.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It has been a fairly smooth road to where we are now. We enjoy working together and growing a business together. Some of our early days were the most fun when we would pour candles in our kitchen together late into the night, enjoying music and maybe a beer together! We include our family, most especially our children. Everyone is so helpful and supportive and we couldn’t do this without them. The biggest struggle was when the pandemic hit. We weren’t sure exactly how it would affect us. However, we came up with the idea of a candle called “#314together” thinking it would be a good way to connect people in our area while we were locked down and at home. We thought we would just sell a few – but that was not the case. The idea took off and our candles were burning all over the St. Louis area while people were at home – with so many being gifted to others spreading light in the dark situation. We donated the profits of those candle sales to the Ameren/United Way Covid Relief Fund. Part of our business model is to give back to our community, and that was just one way we have done so. We enjoy doing fundraisers and enjoy partnering with non-profits to raise money with them with programs of candles we design specifically for that organization.

We have used our past experience in the business world to make the model for our business. Crawl, walk, run is always a good model and that is what we have done. Right now, we are running and that is fun!

We have several parts to our business and the challenge is to keep each one with the target and goals we aim for. We have retail partner stores and we enjoy the wholesale part of our business. We also do corporate programs, including corporate gifting and events. Candles make great, lasting marketing gifts. We design and make custom lines of candles for shops and boutiques, with their branding and our candles. We say “Your logo… your brand… our candles”. Private events like wedding showers and weddings are another area we specialize in. Custom labeled candles for events are very fun!

Fundraisers is an important part of our business model as well. The heart of Urban Candle is to give back and so we do. We partner with non-profits to design candles that reflect their organization, sell them and donate the profits. And in person sales at our studio are where we connect with those who we enjoy meeting and talking with so much. We love our business. Every bit of it. And we hope it shows!

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
We are known at Urban Candle for a few things: First and foremost, we make quality candles. Our candles are known to burn long and clean. The science of candle-making is not easy and we have spent many hours perfecting it. Our motto is “the synergy of fire and scent” and it truly is. We want those who burn our candles to enjoy the finest candle at an affordable price.

We are conscious of the earth in our making and packaging. We offer a return/recycling program for used jars, so they don’t end up in landfills. We are also known for our creativity. We specialize in colorful and artsy labeling. We enjoy designing labels and know that candle-making is an art, so the labeling should be too. Many of our labels are photos we have taken and we stylize them with the watercolor and colorful look that people enjoy having in their home or desk or wherever they enjoy their candles. Urban Candle is well known for large orders, yet personal service on each and every small order or individual sale we make. We take it seriously and personally.

If you had to, what characteristic of yours would you give the most credit to?
The quality most important to our success is our connection with each other – and with our customers. First and foremost, we are a couple. And parents – our family comes first. Next, we are business owners. Those parts of our lives intertwine, but being a couple who enjoys being together and creating together is the most fun and what makes us successful.

So many of our ideas are born late at night when we are just talking and being together. We love to sit down and create and design together. We like to dream together and we do that very well on a beach somewhere. We plan with precision but dream with abandon. We also know our strengths and we each know which part of the business to focus on. Jim handles finances and production and Chris handles sales and marketing. And we take our relationship to the streets and the community. We enjoy people, and we love our city and our area. Our success is solely from those who connect with us and enjoy what we create.

Contact Info:

  • Email: email: urbancandleco@gmail.com
  • Website: www.urbancandleco.com
  • Instagram: urbancandlestl
  • Facebook: urbancandlestl

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