Local Man’s hand-poured candles make Urban Outfitters smell like campfires

by | Oct 8, 2014 | POLITICS

Richmond-made products are lighting up Urban Outfitters’ shelves this fall–hand-poured candles by Alan Long of Square Trade Goods Co..

Richmond-made products are lighting up Urban Outfitters’ shelves this fall–hand-poured candles by Alan Long of Square Trade Goods Co..

“Wow,” Long says of Urban Outfitters’ decision to sell his candles. “I made something that a national retailer picked up. That’s crazy.” He’s perched on a stool in his East Fourth Street studio, where he makes each Square Trade Goods Co. candle himself from start to finish. Until now, his candles have been available only at local small businesses like Y&H Mercantile; Harvest Grocery and Supply; and Addison Handmade and Vintage.

Long explains that he didn’t intend to start a business. “It wasn’t like I had this aspiration to be a candle-maker or was obsessed with candles,” he says, “I just wanted to make something and this turned out to be what it was.” His journey began a few years ago when he began searching for a campfire scented candle. Long says, “I wanted a campfire scented candle, and I really couldn’t find anything. So I thought, ‘Okay, I’ll try to make it.'”


Hitting the we shop next week! 2 new scents. Basil and Tobacco Black Pepper. #dasitmayne

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He quickly realized that replicating the smell of a campfire using just wax and essential oils was a tricky process. “It was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be,” Long says, “It took a lot of trial and error to figure out how to get the scent right and get it so it burns well and smells strong enough but not overpowering.” After a full year of experimenting, Long finally settled on his campfire scent. He jokes that the key to the final product is that “It smells like a campfire, but not like the house is on fire.”

Long initially fueled his hobby by giving candles as gifts to friends and family members. Once he started selling them, the local demand quickly surpassed the capacity of his small Carytown duplex. “I would spend hours every day and night standing over the stove,” says Long. “Making candles… pouring four candles at a time with a double boiler.” His current studio enables him to be much more efficient, and keeps his kitchen appliances free of wax.

Square Trade Goods Co. currently offers eight different scents including Balsam Fir, Tobacco Black Pepper, and Basil. Long is also working on collaborative candles with High Point Barber Shop and The Valentine Museum. Long considers his candle scents to be “unisex, outdoorsy, and clean.” He adds, “If it smells good to me and I love it, I’ll make it. If it doesn’t, I don’t.”


Regram from my good friend @kellydinosaur enjoying her camp mug the way your supposed to!

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Long remains humble despite his business’ almost incidental popularity. He says, “I’m really just doing it to make myself happy. If other people get enjoyment out of it too, that’s great.” Long smiles and adds, “Now I guess I do love candles.”

You can pick up Square Trade Candles from the local shops listed above, or online through Urban Outfitter’s website.

Photos via Square Trade Goods Co. Instagram

Brad Kutner

Brad Kutner

Brad Kutner is the former editor of GayRVA and RVAMag from 2013 - 2017. He’s now the Richmond Bureau Chief for Radio IQ, a state-wide NPR outlet based in Roanoke. You can reach him at BradKutnerNPR@gmail.com

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