From curvaceous busts and bums, to abstract geometric shapes and delicate food and flower designs — Decor Ate Me Studios specialises in candles and stunning structural art, along with unique ceramics with which to pair them. With all-vegan products and sustainable shipping methods, the brand is proudly owned by Eve & Teresita, a couple of super-talented women with a penchant for all things creative. We speak to them about their love for interior design and creating decor pieces that don't cost the earth.
Hi there, please introduce yourselves! Could you give us some background on how you got into candle-making?
We’ve been working in the creative industry for years — Eve is a photographer & Teresita is a commercial fashion stylist. A year before the pandemic, we started a vintage fashion brand, which lead to our vintage home decor brand. It was at a time when we were looking for props for our photoshoots and also thinking about a new business that could help us break into our love for interior decorating. Once we found the array of beautiful candles we can make, vessels, pillars, glass, and sculptural candles, we decided that was the type of business we could fall in love with and grow with.
We love the play on words behind your brand name. What was the inspiration behind this and your logo?
Decorating your home carries its own ideology of self-expression. You start to question your style, your design aesthetic and your taste. These thoughts of presentation and appearance of your home can absolutely consume you, hence “Decor Ate Me”. It’s also a double entendre & we love puns, humor is everything for us and our company.
You proudly identify as an LGBT, Latinx woman-owned brand. How has your heritage influenced the brand and the products you make?
We grew up in religious homes with heavy Mexican culture and something that we do daily is light a candle and pray for good health and peaceful vibes. We noticed that all of our candles are made out of paraffin and toxic ingredients, this was such a pivotal moment for us. There was a huge gap for clean, non-toxic candles that were both pretty and safe to burn.
Your candles are works of art, we are in awe - they look almost too perfect to burn! How do you decide what forms to cast?
We mould what we love. If we would love it in our home, or if we would gift it to our best friends, we will add it to our shop. We listen to trends, but we also love things that are antique. We have lists of things that we love that we’ll eventually design. I hope we can ultimately design everything! Also, you don’t have to burn them. They have both an incredible cold and hot throw. They smell delicious regardless of whether you decide to light them or not.
We’re obsessed with the spectrum of colours used across your designs. You use naturally sourced pigments, could you expand on this? How do you decide what designs to create in which colours? Do you use any specific techniques to create new shapes and colours?
We’re completely obsessed with our designs and we’re so happy you like them! That fuels us to keep doing what we love! We knew there was a gap in the candle industry for safe, clean, beautiful candles. Our scents and our pigments are from the same designer: natural, vegan, earth-friendly and non-toxic clean ingredients. We match our designs to colours that we feel are appropriate for the season. We slowly add new colours throughout the months to keep the collections fresh.
Could you describe your creative process? From inception to creation, how long does it take?
We love that we can start projects inside of our projects. New designs can take a few months to create. We experiment with every design, we test the durability of our cast, we test our scents, we test our pigment, we test our wicks, we test our length of burn, and we test everything as a whole to make sure we’re listing a product that’s elegant, fun and high quality.
How do you ensure the quality of your products?
Our customers are our friends, we want them to trust us. We test every batch to make sure it’s always adhering to our standards. This is such a highlight for us, bringing these items home and lighting them helps us experience exactly what our customers will experience.
How do you manage your workload, and what tips would you have for other indie makers and creatives?
We have been talking about this a lot recently. We set a routine and we have been practising our procedures as often as possible. Work smarter not harder, and work on things that will save you time so that you can have a healthy balance between work and spending time with family.
What are you currently working on? Has the pandemic affected your processes?
We're working on streamlining our inventory. We want to continue improving & growing, adding new scents, listening to our customers and our friends and adding new products that pair well with our candles.
The pandemic has shown us that constantly evolving is necessary. Don't give up and find new ways to reach people because the audience is there. List your items on multiple platforms even if it feels like it's taking forever. Attend as many markets as you can so your loyal customers can find you.
How has selling wholesale helped grow your business? What advice would you give to businesses looking to take the leap?
Wholesale has changed our entire perspective on selling. We knew we loved our items and people in our local town loved our items. We didn't think our items would be loved nationwide. It gave us the opportunity to sell outside of our small town. It helps us see the possibilities. We meet vendors all of the time and we immediately recommend wholesaling. It's a game-changer.
What are you enjoying/learning at the moment?
We learn something new every day. There are layers to our business, new ideas for our candles, and things that feel impossible, we try and learn new ways to bring them to life.
We recently redeveloped a new category for our home decor, ceramics for our candles. It has been a whirlwind and we can't wait to debut them. From choosing the medium, to experimenting with earth-friendly glazing, packaging and styling, it's helped us explore the process of creating future handmade products from scratch.