We had the good fortune of connecting with Gillie Mittelstaedt and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gillie, every day, we about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
I started this business last year when I made all of the candles for my wedding. I am a very DIY type of person. We had a local craft beer only served in Wisconsin and I thought it would be cute to make candles out of the beer bottles. That sparked my idea of recycling glass as well as making candles for wedding and shower favors or event decor. As a candle lover, I would tend to buy candles that fit well with my decor and I would never want to burn them because I didn’t want to use them up. Then I realized that candles are meant to be burned and enjoyed! Candles can be used daily rather than saved for special occasions. Customers in the area will burn their candles and will trade them in for a discount on a new one! That way they can keep their statement candle that matches the decor and refill with a new scent. I love the idea of recycling materials to create new candles. Gillie’s Candles will elevate your space with safe, fragrant scents and all-natural wax. Each candle is hand-poured in Menifee, California. The majority of my candle vessels are made from recycled materials including wine and beer bottles.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I have been a high school Spanish teacher and coach for 8 years. I’ve always felt the need to have extra income but I struggled deciding what I would actually enjoy doing outside of teaching. I am very creative and organized and I love the idea of making a craft that is all-natural and everyone would enjoy! I’m obsessed with smelling good and I want my house to smell good as well! In addition, I understand the importance of recycling and I want to stand behind a company that does its best to use recycled and all-natural materials.This has been a creative outlet for me learn the science of candle making and experiment with different fragrances. There are definitely challenges of having a full time job and trying to start a small business. Especially because there are so many candle-makers out there with wonderful candles. My business is unique because of the recycled materials as well as all-natural soy wax and clean fragrance oils used. We cut wine bottles ourselves to use as candle vessels as well as recycling used up candles.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I recently moved to Menifee from Chicago, and have only explored a bit, but I absolutely love the vibe in old town San Diego. I love the vibe there and energy of the people around. I would definitely go to Café Coyote for dinner and margaritas and out dancing afterwards. During the day I would take my friends to Carlsbad to go to the beach and walk around the town. I love the small town vibe that Carlsbad has to offer. If we had more time, I would take my friends to Laguna Beach for for brunch and beach time. The water there has the prettiest colors and the beaches are to die for. We would eat brunch at The Cliff for an amazing view of the beach!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to my husband who helps me a lot behind the scenes. My husband, Tyrel cuts and sands all of the glass bottles for me to make the perfect vessel for a candle!
Facebook: Gillie’s Candles