Local Candle Company Scores a Spot in the 2018 Oscars Swag Bag

You may not see them on the red carpet this Sunday, but a local company will be representing Manitoba at the 2018 Oscars.

Jeff Reimer and Andrea Varcoe, the owners of Charleston & Harlow, will have their products featured in the annual awards show’s swag bags. Since launching in August 2016 in a spare bedroom, the company’s cheeky branding and unique lineup of cleverly-named soy candles has caught on both locally and globally. Thanks to their early success they are now on the verge of opening a brick-and-mortar shop in Brandon.

We recently caught up with Jeff and Andrea to talk about the Oscars, the Manitoba makers’ market and more. Here’s what they had to say.

Tell us a bit about how and why you got started in the candle business.

We launched in August of 2016, fueled by a passion for travel and a love for all things aromatic. The idea spawned from a conversation on a trip through the Balkans in the fall of 2015. We were touring Croatia and fell in love with the smells of this one island. We joked about not being able to bring home the scents from your journeys.

Three months later, through our disappointment in the natural candle market as a whole, we decided to try our hands at candlemaking to see if we couldn’t produce something ourselves. The results were so fantastic that we decided we should pursue this as a business. We started out in a spare bedroom and within a month of launch had wildly outgrown that space.

We are now 18 months into operation and are set to open a brick-and-mortar boutique in downtown Brandon this spring, which will carry our entire lineup of candles, a wealth of new product lines we are expanding into, as well as a number of amazing mostly-Canadian-made artisanal goods. We have made a bit of a name for ourselves in terms of our show displays and they are definitely a precursor for what is to come at the physical storefront.

The original: often imitated, but never duplicated. It’s amazing how often we get asked what sparked this passion to launch a candle company, and we never tire of telling the story. This scent has about 10 different notes, is easily our most complex, and the more you smell it, the more it gives you in return. It’s magnificent. . With swirling notes of green apple, bergamot, lemon, lavender, rosemary, mint, eucalyptus, green grass, olives, and fresh ocean mist, this fragrance encapsulates the Mediterranean riviera. These notes are familiar from Spain to Turkey, and never fail to make us pine for another trip over the pond. . For scent story, and more on how Charlow all began, be sure to head to the website (link in bio).

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How is Charleston and Harlow different from a typical candlemaker?

We differ from other candles on the market in a number of ways. Our vessels are decor-inspired, our scents are multi-dimensional, transportative, and authentic, but the most important difference is that while most candles will smell strong in front of the candle and weaken at a distance, our scents permeate a space evenly, so it smells just as strong 30 feet away as it does right in front of the candle, without ever being overpowering.

How did you find out you’d be a part of the Oscar swag bags?

We were contacted by an agency in November regarding one of the Oscars Gifting Suites. We’d said we weren’t interested in the gifting suites but would definitely be interested in the Everyone Wins bag, as it is the premiere gift bag in the entertainment world and valued at upwards of $300,000. They put us in touch with the agency that deals with this package directly. They emailed us that same afternoon saying they’d looked over our website and social media and would love to have us join their product lineup, and the rest is history.

Will you be including an existing candle in the swag bag, or a limited edition just for the awards show?

We’re sending a duo of our Signature jars, and we’re loosely/unofficially deeming it the Hollywood Glam Set. It will include an offering from our Connoisseur Range known as Magnus, arguably our most masculine scent, and then we’ve created a fresh new scent to complement this perfectly as a feminine offering. The scent will offer notes of apricot, ebony, and white musk, and is breathtaking! We have a new range scheduled for the spring that this new scent will be a part of, but we will be releasing a limited amount around the time of the Oscars for those who want to get their hands on the exclusive scent that Hollywood’s finest will be receiving.

Here at We Heart Winnipeg, we’re all about celebrating local success stories. As small business owners, what makes Winnipeg unique, and what kind of community is it for entrepreneurs?

Winnipeg is FULL of talent. We’ve done shows all across the country and never do we feel like we’re amidst a crop of talent equal to that which we experience here in Winnipeg. The diversity and creativity of the maker community here is unparalleled, and the passion of the community to stand behind the artisan scene is astounding. People are extremely receptive of new ideas, and are willing to take in information and be educated on why a certain product is better for you, the environment, the community, or simply in general.

Winnipeg is also extremely resilient, so weather doesn’t tend to scare people away too much, which makes for a great summer market scene! I think in any market, makers stick together and form a bit of a familial culture, and that’s very evident in this part as well, with loads of collaboration between makers, and makers and other local businesses being seen constantly. We push the envelope HARD here!

This year’s Oscars go down on Sunday, March 4. For more positive Winnipeg news and local success stories, follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Long live local.

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