Meet The Makers: Victoria and Katerina of LOHN
How did you two originally meet?
In high school! We were two years apart. We ended up going to the same university (Queen's) for chemical engineering and we kept in touch over the years.
What inspired you to launch your own candle brand?
After graduating from Queen’s, Victoria worked in product development for brands such as Le Labo and Byredo, and Katerina studied perfumery in France. We connected in 2016 after working in the industry for a few years, and we both wanted to launch something of our own. We are both candle enthusiasts, and we wanted to create a brand that really stood out from the rest. A lot of the candles on the market looked the same: a simple black and white label, with a homemade, mason jar-type feel. We saw an opportunity to be innovative from a packaging and scent perspective, while offering clean, non-toxic products.
What is the meaning behind the name Lohn?
Lohn means ‘scent’ in Estonian, and ‘reward’ in Old German. Our brand tagline is ‘the journey is the reward’, and we are all about scenting and embracing your own personal journey.
Your first candle collection was inspired by your shared Lithuanian and Polish heritage. What are some of your recent sources of inspiration?
Our scents are inspired by roads less travelled, specifically ancient trade routes. Our second collection is inspired by the Tea Road, whereby tea was carried across the Himalayas to Nepal. We are working on an exciting new collection for F/W 2020, inspired by another historic path! Stay tuned!
This winter we collaborated on a holiday candle. Creating a unique scent is complex, multi-step process. How do you successfully collaborate with a brand that doesn't have as much experience with perfume or scent creation?
The best part of co-creating is that everyone perceives scent so differently. Studies show that 75% of emotions are triggered by smell which is linked to pleasure, well-being, emotion and memory. When we begin our product development process, our first step is to understand our client's relationship with scent, and how they want the product to make them feel. We also give a quick run down on basic perfumery education so that we can share our knowledge and empower them to make important decisions throughout the process!
What sets Lohn apart from other candle brands?
The fact that we both have experience in the industry is what sets us apart from most brands. Anyone can make a candle in their kitchen, but to understand the nuances and the science behind candle making and perfumery is key.
What is the most rewarding thing about owning your own business?
We love the flexible schedule. Neither of us are morning people; both of us tend to be most productive in the wee hours of the night! But the most rewarding aspect is the support from our customers. Whether it's a reaction to our own line of products, or our collaborations (like Tuck Shop's Grand Portage Candle!) - our customers are everything to us.
What is some advice you would give to someone looking to open a small, creative based business?
If you have an idea for your own business and you still have a full-time job, just start somewhere! Setting just 15 minutes aside everyday to focus on your passion project will take you a long way. Don’t worry about making sure that everything is perfect before you launch. There will be opportunities to fix issues along the way. And don’t forget to enjoy the journey!