Jocelyn and Alaina, the Founders of NYC-based Bijou Candles
An obsession with candles, and even “candle hoarding” is something that many of us can relate to. After all, who can deny a luxe, beautifully-scented candle to elevate your living room, bedside table, or, heck, even your bathroom? NYC-based married couple, Jocelyn Young Drew and Alaina Young Drew know what it’s like to blow your salary on fancy candles all too well.
After getting tired of spending all of their hard earned cash on high end candles (that, ultimately “seemed too precious to burn”), the two decided to create an affordable luxury candle brand of their own called Bijou Candles.
For our second instalment of #FounderFiles, we caught up with the women behind Bijou to find out more about what it’s been like to create and nurture their “moon child”(aka joint business venture) that recently went through a major makeover.
Keep reading for our Q&A with the Founders of Bijou Candles from New York City:
Business Name: Bijou Candles
Name & Title: Alaina Young Drew, Founder and Creative Director & Jocelyn Young Drew, Co-Founder & Fragrance Connoisseur
Age: Both 31
Location: New York City, NY
Education: Alaina – University of Richmond; Jocelyn – The American Musical & Dramatic Academy, Aveda Institute
GC: Tell us about your brand, what do you do?
BC: Bijou is an affordable luxury candle line. We want to make beautiful looking, wonderfully scented, long lasting candles that don’t break the bank. We are all about focusing on positive energy and treating yourself!
GC: How did you start your business?
BC: Bijou was born in 2014 from a desire to make our candle obsession a job.
GC: How did you get into the industry you’re in?
BC: Alaina started a tableware company with her mother in 2011 and Bijou was sort of a natural parallel in the home industry.
GC: Why do you love what you do?
BC: We get to work with each other and our best friends, and create products that make us and our customers happy. It’s the best.
GC: What makes your product special?
BC: We’re bringing luxury candles to the people! Candles are made to be burned and it pains us to see expensive candles sit around unburnt waiting for a special occasion. We want to make that luxury experience something you can actually enjoy and not feel guilty. Also, it’s something you can enjoy on your own and not feel like you have to save it to impress you guests. It’s something that you can have just for you!
GC: Bijou Candles recently went through a revamp, tell us about that process and why you decided to do it?
BC: We have some amazing customers that have been with us since 2014. Originally we used resin vessels and offered refills for them. It became difficult for us to control the quality, and because of the vessel we were limited in what kind of wax, scent load, and shapes we could develop. We really want to give our customers the BEST of the best and with the revamp, we really feel we did that. Our vessels are a gorgeous milky glass with a 22karat gold rim, we’re using 100% soy which allows a long clean burn, our fragrance load is stronger and we are now entirely made in the USA.
GC: What have been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned from running your own business?
BC: I think, of course, it’s important to get feedback from all different sources, but at the end of the day, it’s really important to trust your gut and listen to yourself. It can be difficult to do, but once you’ve explored all your options in business you can truly make the best decisions by listening to your instincts.
GC: What fuels your ability to run a business?
BC: On a larger level it’s the fact that we work with amazing people that are so motivating and amazing. On a more basic level it’s morning podcasts, coffee, and always having reality TV playing in the background when we work. (Currently watching all of Wahlburgers bc Alaina is trying to get Jocelyn’s native Boston accent perfected.)
GC: Is there anything you wish you’d known before you started your business?
BC: I’m sure there are a million things but it really is about diving in and taking it day by day and being dynamic.
GC: What is your number one piece of advice to keep in mind when starting your own business and/or getting into the candle industry?
BC: Surround yourself with people you trust and who believe in you and the products you make.
GC: How do you stay organized, balanced and motivated?
BC: We treat our down time so preciously. It’s so important to us to have long weekend mornings in bed cuddling with our dogs. It’s a nice reset button!
GC: Who are some of your mentors/role models?
Alaina: I’m really inspired by my older brother, Mathe. He is such a hard worker and still finds time to pursue his hobbies and passions.
Jocelyn: This is so cheesy, but Alaina is my role model. She is always willing to try new things and can figure out how to get anything done.
Alaina: That’s not fair, you’re mine, too!
GC: What is a challenge you’d tell future entrepreneurs to prepare for?
BC: Be prepared for setbacks and fixing problems on the fly.
GC: Where do you go / who might you follow for inspiration?
BC: I think we are both really inspired by the fashion and beauty industries and powerful women who are making it happen! Also really inspired by our travels and beautiful scenery.
GC: Do you have a daily or regular ritual you practice that you love?
BC: Making breakfast together and listening to morning podcasts!
GC: Who is the Bijou customer and why should they buy your products?
BC: The Bijou customer is someone who is truly themselves, who enjoys nice things, isn’t afraid to think outside the box, and appreciates the importance of treating yourself and self care.
Where can Bijou candles be purchased?