Meet & Greet: Getting to know a Linnea’s Lights vendor with Bixby & Ball

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One of the best parts of this business has been in getting to know our wonderful retailers across the country and around the world. We wanted to introduce you to some of our friends in this new blog feature, called “Meet & Greet”, which we’re kicking off here with California’s own Bixby & Ball.

Before we share our fun Q & A, first a bit of background:
Bixby & Ball is a result of the friendship and shared vision between the two founders, Melissa Anderson and Betsy Bracken, which began with their mutual passion for entrepreneurship, design, and improving the most sacred of living spaces—the home. Backed with ingenuity, determination, and a love for all things coastal classic, they have hand-selected their favorite elements of coastal living to create a one-stop shopping experience in the heart of Solana Beach’s charming Cedros Avenue Design District. Shoppers will find unique home décor and accessories, custom furniture, antiques and art, designer bedding and pillows, one-of-a-kind jewelry, luxurious bath and body products, fragrance and a variety of meaningful gifts for any special occasion. In addition to the thoughtful selection of products that Bixby & Ball has to offer in the store and online, they also offer full-scale customized interior design services and in-home styling.

Here we chat with Betsy.
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1. Where did the name Bixby & Ball come from?
Bixby & Ball are two family names that hold significant meaning for each of us. The Bixby family, on Melissa’s side, developed a large part of California near Big Sur and the Ball family, on mine, produced the original mason jar out of Muncie, Indiana. Both of us have been deeply impacted by the incredible spirit of entrepreneurship in our families and felt inspired to create something of our own to honor the value of hard work and giving back to the community, which have been instilled in the two of us for generations.

2. What was the design aesthetic you had in mind for your store?
We wanted to offer a coastal design aesthetic without spelling it out in seashells and anchors — think Coastal Living Magazine with a nod to the nautical. Here we are near the beach and yet before we opened, there really wasn’t anywhere offering this aesthetic, so we definitely felt there was a niche we could fill. And our location is unique in that we’re housed in the first cottage built on Cedros Avenue in the 1920′s, so we wanted to create an experience for our customers that felt less like visiting a store and more like coming home.

3. What’s your inspiration for the merchandise you sell?
We’re always inspired by the stories behind the products — we want to know who creates them, where they’re made and what makes them special. After all, if we don’t feel connected to the items we sell, how can we expect our customers to feel compelled to purchase them? We don’t want to fill our store with a bunch of stuff — we really strive to curate a thoughtful and cohesive collection of items we would put in our own homes (or already have!).

4. Are there any expansion plans on the horizon?
We’ve expanded about as much as we can in our quaint little cottage — we’ve expanded into the small storefront next door and moved our office space to open up more room for retail. Of course we’ve talked about opening up another location and you never know, you may see a Bixby & Ball pop up somewhere down the road, but right now we’re really focusing on growing our e-commerce and interior design services, while continuing to provide exceptional service to our brick and mortar customers.

5. How do you buy for your store, keeping your customers’ needs in mind?
Before we opened, we talked a lot about who our ideal customer would be and identified Diane Keaton’s character, Erica Barry, from the movie Something’s Gotta Give as our dream customer, so during our first buying trip to NYC we shopped for Erica. About a year ago (and again this past weekend!), Diane Keaton came into the store to shop and WOW, that was most definitely a full circle moment. But now that we’ve established a loyal customer base, we’ll think about specific customers as we’re buying and say to each other, “Do you think so-and-so would buy that?” And it’s so much fun when that specific customer comes in and goes straight for that item.

6. What are some of your favorite pieces in store right now?
Our antique European pine hutch, all of our colorful John Robsahw pillows and the new Linnea’s Lights Heirloom Tomato Candle — we can’t get enough of that scent!!

Image courtesy of Bixby & Ball

Image courtesy of Bixby & Ball

7. What drew you to Linnea’s Lights?
First and foremost, we absolutely LOVE the scents and packaging (especially the little box of matches enclosed with each candle!) and how the candles liquify as they burn so you get an even burn all the way down to the base of the wick. But we also were drawn to the line after discovering that it was created by a mother and daughter who take such great pride in the quality of their product. And certainly the Indiana connection makes Linnea’s Lights extra near and dear.

8. When it comes to candles, which scents do you tend to burn at work vs. at home? Do you differentiate between using a scent that has maybe more of a motivational kick for day and more of a wind-down essence to relax on weekends or evenings?
We each have our favorites and tend to burn those same scents at work and home, but for both of us it’s always Pumpkin from Labor Day to Thanksgiving!

9. What’s your favorite part about having your own store?
Oh so many things, but hearing customers say that it’s their favorite shop…it doesn’t get much better than that.

10. Favorite vacation destination?
Melissa’s is Mammoth, CA and mine is Leland, MI — both have very special meaning to our families and are the only places we feel we can truly unplug from it all.

11. Favorite neighborhood lunch spot?
Claire’s on Cedros for a casual working lunch and Las Olas on the beach if we’re in the mood to play hooky on a Friday afternoon and have a few margaritas.

Okay, time for the lightning round:
8 a.m. or 8 p.m.? 8 p.m.
Beach or mountains? Both
Beer or Wine? Wine
Cats or dogs? Dogs

Thanks so much for speaking with us, Betsy! And to our readers, we hope you enjoyed this peek at a wonderful boutique. Check out Bixby & Ball online or next time you’re in California!

Jet Set: Traveling with Candles

Photograph by Charles Allmon, National Geographic

Photograph by Charles Allmon, National Geographic

Summer always has me dreaming up my next escape and I so look forward to our next family vacation. In the meantime, I was reading the beautiful new July issue of InStyle Magazine with cover girl Kate Hudson, and found myself pulling out a few helpful travel tips from the Jet Set pages. I wanted to share one trick in particular I came across, courtesy of Jeralyn Gerba (co-founder and editorial director of Fathom: the fabulous travel website), which I have actually used for many years: When traveling, pack a few of your favorite mini candle votives. Not only will they keep your luggage smelling great, you can enjoy them throughout your travels and make any hotel feel like home without taking up a ton of valuable space! Brilliant, right?

My favorite scents for summer trips are Cashmere and Lavendar, both (and more!) available as mini votives for $16, here.

And as for that stunning image… in honor of the World Cup being played in beautiful Brazil, I couldn’t resist sharing this beautiful photograph by Charles Allmon (National Geographic) of a 1950′s scene along Arpoador Beach in Rio de Janiero.

Exclusive One Kings Lane Candle Sale: Stock Up on Your Favorite Linnea’s Lights Scents!

Image courtesy of One Kings Lane

Image courtesy of One Kings Lane

Kick back & unwind… We all need a break from the hubbub of life in the big city. Let our natural soy-wax candles transform your home into a serene escape. Exclusive scents (along with some old favorites) are available now for a limited time only in a great range of sizes, only at One Kings Lane:

Fresh Grass
Gardenia
Seashore
Garden Mint
Orange Amber
Lemon Verbena
Island Coconut
Violet
Eucalyptus
Cassis
Vanilla Noir

Linnea’s Lights is fueled by passion, a Swedish family heritage, and an eco-conscious entrepreneurial spirit. What began as a hobby for mother-and-daughter candlemaking team Lynn Manley and her daughter, Laura Cler, soon evolved into a business. Made with soy wax, lead-free cotton wicks, and the purest essences, each meticulously hand-poured, clean-burning candle is triple-scented, perfectly preserving the subtle fragrance throughout the life of the candle.

Don’t miss out on this great sale, live through Saturday, 5/31/14.

Your Guide to #Shelfies

image courtesy of One Kings Lane

image courtesy of One Kings Lane

The Wall Street Journal pinpointed our latest design obsession when they covered The Rise of the ‘Shelfie’: Instagram’s Next Craze. Now, our friends at One Kings Lane made it easy to join in the fun, providing tons of inspiration in this great blog post, all about mastering the art of the #shelfie. Click through for their fun tips!

Candles happen to be one of our favorite design accents (go figure), so if you’ve worked your favorite Linnea’s Lights candles into your shelfie masterpieces, tag us @linneaslights on Twitter and Instagram and share your works of art! We can’t wait to see what your creative minds come up with.

Postcard: Linnea’s Lights in Naples, Florida

Image courtesy of Chrissy Greene

Image courtesy of Chrissy Greene

It’s so nice hearing from friend’s on the road and I just had to share this nice shot captured by a member of the Linnea’s Lights family. Chrissy was in Naples, Florida and snapped this photo of our candles at Jett Thompson Antiques. What a beautiful shop and of course we love the display! How fun to see our candles (and new, larger triple wicks) out in the wild.

Where have you spotted Linnea’s Lights candles lately?

Sprung for Spring

Image courtesy of Flour Shop

Image courtesy of Flour Shop

I think we can all agree it’s been one long winter and I’ve been looking for signs of Spring wherever I go. I can JUST begin to make out the tips of a few green buds beginning to peek out in the garden here and I’m so looking forward to seeing some colorful blooms.

In the meantime, I came across these cheerful rainbow cakes by the talented Flour Shop and thought it was just the pop of color I needed today! Don’t they cheer you right up?

I’m also excited to see our new Spring/Summer 2014 collection begin to hit shops. Geranium, Eucalyptus and Persian Lime are all available now! Such lovely pick-me-ups, I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I do.

Happy Spring!

A Special Spring Candle Pour for Terrain

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Here is sneak peek of what we have going on in the studio this week. We’re hard at work on a special project soon to be at terrain, just in time for Spring!

We are loving the finish on these gorgeous, extra-large bubble glass vases. They will be filled to the brim with our delicious Spring scents like Persian Lime, Fresh Grass and Heirloom Tomato as triple-wick candles and available exclusively at terrain soon. Stay tuned!

Happiness Is Lots of Candles

Image courtesy of Wary Meyers' Instagram

Image courtesy of Wary Meyers’ Instagram

Came across this absolutely perfect image on the Instagram feed of the Wary Meyers shop. Couldn’t have said it better myself, and I love the vintage typography!

Thawing After the Polar Vortex Deep Freeze

Image courtesy of Parade.com

Since most of us are still feeling the effects of this week’s Polar Vortex, all I can think about is keeping toasty. Luckily, some of our largest candles are now on sale to help warm you up, wherever you are! Try our large, 18-ounce, triple-wick candle in our lovely Winter scent and enjoy the extended 85-95 hour burn time.

Our take on Winter is a divine blend of cedar spruce and mint topped off with hints of cranberries and cinnamon- a best seller year after year. And can I tell you a secret? It’s now discounted over on orangeandpear.com! Scoop one up today and shiver no more.

Terrain Giveaway from Cup of Jo!

image courtesy of joannagoddard.blogspot.com

We are so delighted that two of our favorites have teamed up for a wonderful holiday giveaway, featuring our Forest Fir soy candle! The wonderful Joanna Goddard of “A Cup of Jo” blog (Do you know it? It’s an absolute must-follow!) is hosting a very special giveaway from our friends at Terrain, the beautiful home and garden shop based in Pennsylvania. Lucky for you, Terrain is offering one of Joanna’s lucky readers a $250 gift certificate, plus one of these beautiful Forest Fir candles, which smell like freshly cut fir trees and fly off the shelves over the holidays!

For a chance to win, please head on over to A Cup of Jo for details on the contest! The contest ends today so enter soon & good luck!