Reader's Digest spoke to Christian Campomanes, founder of earth-friendly candle company, Golden Hour
RD: How did Golden Hour Co. get started, and how would you best summarise what you offer?
Golden Hour Company creates joyful and earth-friendly aromatherapy candles and home scents, as well as hosting candle-making workshops in Leeds City Centre.
I started Golden Hour after being signed off work due to my mental health. It was December and I wanted to do something nice for my friends and family, so I came up with the idea of making candles and researched aromatherapy.
I knew I wanted to centre the making around essential oils and aromatherapy, because of the amazing benefits that it provides for people’s wellbeing. I wanted the things that I created to have a purpose, and knowing that I probably needed that myself, everything went hand in hand from the start.
Have you undergone any formal training/ previous roles that have helped with what you do for work now?
I haven’t gone through any formal training. I did all of my research on the internet and various aromatherapy books. Since I was suffering from insomnia during the time that I started making candles, I used that time in the night/early morning to research (extensively and obsessively).
In early 2020, I enrolled into college and completed a Level 3 Certification in Aromatherapy. I know that there is so much more to learn with regards to essential oils and their properties, as well as scent making.
My ultimate goal for the next two years would be to join a fragrance design course as well as finding an aromatherapy course that is suitable to what I do right now.
"I haven’t gone through any formal training. I did all of my research on the internet and various aromatherapy books"
How/When did you know you were ready to take the leap to self-employment?
Does anyone ever know? Ha ha. I knew I was ready to take the leap into self-employment when my mental health started to get affected by running the business itself. I had Golden Hour, a part-time job and freelancing on the side too for the best part of three years.
I was really starting to burn out and Golden Hour was getting the brunt of it. I started making candles to save myself from an awful time, so seeing myself slip back into those old thought patterns was scary. I was lucky enough that I had support for me to take that (very scary, very big) leap.
"I started making candles to save myself from an awful time"
How does your work compliment your personality? Why the medium of candles?
I’ve always had a fascination with smells. I am always the person to want to smell ANYTHING. My friends used to laugh at me because I’d ask to see something and the first thing I would do is sniff it. I don’t know why! Scent is such an important sense; it’s one that connects me to feelings and nostalgia.
And I guess with candle making, it’s really meditative and calm. Though I’m not always the calmest person, the patience and the precise nature of making has been so beneficial for me to learn from.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
It’s really varied, but a typical day would be a slow morning. Coffee and a dog-walk before setting off to the studio. I like to get my admin done in the first half of the day, so that would be emails, sorting out socials and general ‘getting myself together’ jobs as well as posting orders.
Then when it comes to the later parts of my day, I do anything practical. Making content for social media, experimenting with oils, making candles.
It’s all done in the latter part; I really feel that I work better as the day goes on! A real benefit of working for myself is that I work to my own routine and schedule. I’m so grateful for it, even though most of the time it’s hard to stick to!
"I really feel that I work better as the day goes on!"
What do you like to do to switch off?
I do love to go on walks with my dog, exploring new trails and finding coffee stops at the end or on the way! And also just spending time with my friends and family, being present and enjoying their company in whatever activity we’re doing—usually cooking and eating.
A lot of the scents I have created are connected to the memories I love to relive, so I find my time with people so important.
What are your favourite and least favourite parts of the job?
My favourite thing is meeting incredible people through markets and creative communities, exploring different ways to be creative and surprising myself with skills that I didn’t know I had.
My least favourite—imposter syndrome! It affects me in a lot of ways and has gotten in the way A LOT over these past three years.
What is the independent business scene like in your city? Who do you like to shop with/look to for support?
Leeds is incredible for independent businesses, it’s one of the reasons I moved here.
From art and gift stores like Flavour Like Fancy and Colours May Vary, clothing from places like The Archives, Welcome, and Blue Rinse, and restaurants like Owt, Eat Your Greens, Black Market in Chapel Allerton and Lupe’s Cantina. I have so many favourites, but there are always so many more to discover.
What has been the most valuable business lesson you’ve learnt so far? And your most tangible achievement?
There is value in what I do, and I shouldn't dim myself down just because I may not feel that way 100% of the time. In terms of achievements, moving into the studio space and being able to host workshops is the biggest thing I’m proud of.
To be able to share this space and craft with the community we’ve built together through Golden Hour—it gives me such warm feelings every time I, or a new person, step into my studio.
In five years’ time, where would you like to see the business?
I would ideally have more knowledge in scent-making and aromatherapy for mental well-being. I would love to have a slightly bigger space, where I can make candles separately to where I and other creatives host workshops for bigger groups.
More collaborations would be great too, as I love working with people in different creative spaces. To be stocked in indies around the UK and maybe, the world?!
If you weren’t in this line of work, what other career would you love to have?
To be honest, I haven’t given it much thought. When I started Golden Hour I was in such a dark place that I really couldn't see a future where I was living, never mind thriving.
Golden Hour and the amazing things it has done for my life have brought me a determination and enjoyment like I’ve never known. That's a bit of a copout I know, so to answer quickly, I would love to be a location researcher for TV and film!
One very last question; if you could only burn one scent for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Ooh, this is so hard! After much thought I think it would be No Sleep Club. To me, it’s the ultimate candle to burn! Not too floral, not too sweet—incredibly calming and comforting and reminds me, every time, of the first time I burnt it. Bliss in a jar!
To learn more about Christian and Golden Hour Company, visit their website.
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