Berlin Travelogue Heroes #6 Maya, the French Candle Designer


"I discovered a true love for turning ideas into realities by making & creating with my hands."

Hey Maya, could you please introduce yourself and your passion project?
I'm a French American lady living in Berlin for the past 3 years now. My partner and I moved here together,  we didn't speak a word of German, didn't t have jobs lined up nor did we have family or friends in the city - which made us think challenge accepted!  When I first moved here I actually didn’t know that I was going to create my own candle business. I first worked in event planning before dipping my toes in the startup world. Berlin proved to be an amazing city for young creatives and entrepreneurs - the city has allowed me to grow both personally and professionally. After working for startups, I was seeking something therapeutic and relaxing - that's when I discovered a love for candle making. 

Her Atelier & plant-based shop in Neukölln, Berlin

Her Atelier & plant-based shop in Neukölln, Berlin

When did you decide to make a living out of your passion? 
That’s a complex question. Working in a startup allowed me to take a step back and re-evaluate myself and what I wanted in life. I quickly realized that I wanted more than to just dedicate my time and skills towards a bigger entity's goals - trading my happiness for financial stability and security isn't me. I had a clear idea of what I didn't want but finding the answers to what I did want proved to be a bit of a soul-searching process. Expressing myself in a creative way has always been a release for me - whether it was through set decorating for film, theatre or visual display design for stores, I discovered a true love for turning ideas into realities by making & creating with my hands. Candle making has such a creative & therapeutic process of production - I often feel like a little witch blending fragrances together with emotions and memories to create a beautiful yet sensitive candle with a story. 

What do you bring from your roots to your project?
Born in Washington D.C., moving to Montreal, and now residing in Berlin, my experiences come through in my candle scents. I take inspiration from some of my favorite places and people - my last autumn/winter collection was inspired by and dedicated to my parents. Garden State Candles is a very personal brand, which is why every scent comes with a story. 

What is the scent or product that you love and that makes you travel?
I enjoy working with fresh and citrus scents. Mint a personal favorite for many reasons, I love it's fresh yet lightly sweet taste and it's also a memory trigger for me. Growing up, my father would make us Moroccan mint tea after dinner, a recipe he carries from his mother and a little tradition he grew up with. For my father's birthday, our entire family came together to surprise and celebrate him - some of the best moments were right after dinner when we'd just talk and laugh together, sipping this delicious sweet mint tea. 


"Trading my happiness for financial stability and security isn't me."


What is your routine, when you get into the creative process?
I actually don’t have a routine, every morning is different depending on what needs to be done and my mood. Some mornings I'll go for a run with Louee , take the time to make breakfast before I head over to the shop. Other mornings are fueled by long to-do lists, that's when I usually head over to a co-working space or a cafe to get all my computer work done. Traveling also inspires me. Many different feelings and emotions are rooted in the environment of a place - whether it be the woods and lakes of Canada or the French countryside, I take those moments, nature, the plants and flowers that live and grow there and I try to bring back the sensorial and evoke that in a scent. 

If you would create a Travelogue candle, what would that be?
When creating a bespoke scent for someone, we first talk about the kind of scent that the person likes. We talk about the different emotions related to scent and the various aromatherapy benefits essential oils provide. If I were to create a scent for Travelogue, I'd ask What does Travelogue mean to you? What kind of emotions do you relate to your brand and how does your brand make people feel? I really enjoy the moment when a client smells a scent and is thrown back to a memory they hadn't thought about it in ages or a person they love, or even just what that scent means to them - reaching a much deeper and personal connection. 

Interview made on a sunny day the June 3rd in Berlin at Allerstr. 11
Made by Annalena - beautiful pictures by Hana

Take a look at the pictures of our workshop, here!