Those who know me (or follow my Instagram) know I have a wee bit of a candle obsession! Specifically, bookish candles. I have literal hundreds from across a wide range of companies, but none have tickled my fancy quite like the amazing candles from MLCco! If you are part of the Bookstagram world, then you likely know MLCco as the original maker of The Sorting candle!
It has been over a year since The Sorting went viral, thanks to a 2017 article by PopSugar that blew up the internet. Other companies have since released copy-cat candles, but none can beat the magic of the original! The shop has gone through some big changes since (including re-branding from Muggle Library Candles to the more encompassing MLCco), so I sat down with the owner and founder, Ashley, to discuss all things MLCco!
When did you start MLCco, and why?
MLC Co. started in September of 2016! Money was really tight for our family at the time, but after joining bookstagram I saw so many amazing bookish candles that I wanted to own. At that time I couldn’t spend money on bookstagram props, so I decided to make my own! My husband thought I should try to make a business out of it, and after speaking with my bestie @pikamikareads I decided to go for it!
What was your first candle (or candles) and is it in the shop still?
We had 5 candles when we started, Forbidden Forest, Pumpkin Juice, AIDAN, Embers and Ashes, and Game Keeper. Forbidden Forest was our very first candle we made and it is still in the shop, just under the title Magical Forest! The only other still available is Pumpkin Juice!
Is MLCco your full-time job, or do you have another profession as well?
I work as a CrossFit coach as well as a small business owner. I usually am at the gym 4 days a week now. I did have to cut down the days I was available because I found myself for almost a year at the gym everyday and still having to come home and do candles. It didn’t leave much time for me to spend time with my husband or furbabies.
Will you ever make MLCco your primary job?
I really love the gym I work at, and the community. I could see needing the decrease my hours but I would love to stay there because I also don’t want to become a complete recluse 🙂
What is the best part of MLCco, for you?
That’s really a hard question! I get really excited when I start working on something new or have a chance to branch outside of my normal candles and labels, but I still think the most gratifying part is when customers and friends share their unboxings and photos. It’s even more fun to watch others’ excitement over something you have created and poured your time and heart into.
What are the hardest parts?
It’s definitely hard when someone doesn’t love something you have created, as a small business with just me as the team. It means I let that person down, and that’s hard to swallow sometimes. But I think even harder than that, is making sure I take time for myself and my family. I have a hard time cutting myself off, just because I may not be making candles or bath products, I’m usually on social media answering DMs or comments, commenting on my followers gorgeous photos or creating labels and brainstorming new products!
How do you come up with new ideas?
I definitely take a lot of inspiration from the books I’ve read, but I wouldn’t have all the amazing scent combinations if it wasn’t for my rep team who help make sure that the scent profiles capture the book! We usually brainstorm together what we think customers would love to see, and between us all we have come up with some amazing ideas!
Tell us about your Bath and Body line!
This is a new line for us! We currently have bath salts, sugar scrubs and bath bombs! This has been an exciting challenge! Making bath bombs in a house that usually has above 50% humidity gives me a fun but difficult new adventure! I was a chemistry major in college so mixing components together and creating my own bath bomb recipe was a lot of fun! It was tons of trial and error to get the exact right mix for the humidity we deal with here, but it was so worth it in the end! I get to demo my products all the time which is an added bonus! Between the candles and the bath products, I enjoy very luxurious baths!
It’s been over a year now since The Sorting went viral! What was that like for you?
It was a lot of hard work! During this time I was also working 7 days a week at my regular job! I had many back to back days of not getting any sleep! I’m happy to say we only got behind on the preorders once, and were able to make it up within a week! It was really crazy to see that within a week we had preorders sold out through 8 months! We were not prepared at all for all of the wonderful sites that shared our The Sorting candle. We weren’t told before the first article went live, and then it just blew up. We had to quickly learn how to mass produce a product we were making in small quantities! My mom even flew in to help with working on a layout in our home to have maximum efficiency and she learned how to make The Sorting so for that week she could help out as much as possible. The Sorting blowing up made me a much more efficient candle maker and paved the way for me to be able to branch out into new products such as the bath products and our candle crate!
Other than The Sorting, what is your most popular candle?
Reading Slumps Succ! People love succulents and puns. I personally have been loving the pun themed candles our reps have been suggesting! I live for them, and making fun scent combinations to compliment them is always fun!
What is your favorite candle in the shop right now?
My hands down favorite candle is Nymphadora! It’s a blend of blood orange, chocolate and cinnamon! I catch the scent all the time while I’m making candles and have to just stop and sniff 🙂 It’s also our first color changing candle that doesn’t start off as white, which I love! After The Sorting went viral we saw a lot of similar candles start popping up all over the place. I like that this is another unique twist on the color changing/revealing idea! It starts as pink and transforms through purple and blue as the candle burns!
You have your very first Candle Crate coming out soon; tell us about it!
I am so excited about this! I just recently finished designing all of the labels and I love that they are just different enough that they won’t be identical to our traditional style you find on our website. This has given me a chance to play with all kinds of new products! I don’t know how much I can share without giving anything away but I can say that, beyond the two candles in the box, everything else will be items you can’t find in our store! We tried our best to poll our followers who were interested in the box and stay true to the items they said they wanted, and the ones they didn’t want! As our first box I’m really impressed with how all of the items have come together! I can’t wait for everyone to unbox their Candle Crates so I can see their reactions! Of course I’m excited, but y’all are the ones who matter!
Each box will have (2) 8oz candles, and one will be a sorting style candle! Plus 3-5 non candle bookish inspired items! This first month is inspired by all the different fandoms that our followers feel don’t get enough love! We have items inspired by Air Awakens, Falling Kingdoms, The Night Circus, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Star Touched Stories, The Selection Series, and The Raven Cycle! Now that all the designing is done for our first box, I’m beginning to brainstorm the items I want to feature in our May Candle Crate! And we still have the entire list of fandoms you guys feel like don’t get enough love, so I will be doing my best to make sure at least one of them is included in each box going forward!
What made you decide to do a candle box?
I’ve been wanting to do a candle box since before The Sorting went viral! But after that happened we were pretty much locked into just producing The Sorting for 9 months. Since then we have been fortunate enough to have Cosmo share our candle several times and had to continue to put the idea of a candle box on hold. We had to continue working on streamlining our The Sorting production to ensure we could stay on top of large influxes of orders while still being able to continue selling our regular items. Now that we have this process better managed it makes it the perfect time to finally dive into our Candle Crate! It’s been a long time coming, and I’ve been struggling with the disappointment of not being able to launch it for so long! This is one of the major reasons I am so excited to finally be launching it!
Will you be doing more Candle Crates in the future?
Yes! We aren’t doing it as a subscription service at the moment, to give us several months to get the process under our belt first, but they will be a monthly one time purchase item on our website! Our first month is already up for sale, and we are already working on our May Candle Crate!
Can you give us a hint at what new candles you are planning for spring?
Definitely more general bookish inspired ones that feature puns! We have also been playing around with some that are a little more adult themed 😉
Tell us one fun, but totally random, fact about you.
I wasn’t born in the United States, I was born on a US Naval Base in Japan!
Thanks so much to Ashley for doing this Q&A with me! I cannot express enough how much I love this shop, and am so excited I can share that with you all! I have included convenient links below so you can stock up on all your candle and bath-time needs!
You can also find a handy discount code by visiting my Instagram account, or the accounts of any of the lovely ladies who let me use their photos for this post! Super thanks to @frayed_bindings , @giota_the_reader , and @recombinantreader for their help! Each photo is linked to the respective account, so please give them some love! Un-captioned photos are my own!
You can get your own The Sorting candle by following this link! You can choose your house up front (which is perfect for presents), or let the candle choose for you (way more fun, if you ask me)!
To check out the amazing new Candle Crates, follow this link! All crates contain 2 8oz candles – one of which will always be a color-change or sorting style candle – and 3-5 non-candle bookish items!
Stock up on amazing Bath and Body products here! I am totally obsessed with the sugar scrubs, myself! They leave my skin so soft and take away any dry skin. Rainy Day Reads is my current favorite!