Q&A with Roxie Lubanovic, candle designer and co-owner of Frostbeard Studio
Do you enjoy breathing in the smell of old books in a library? Do you long to further experience the world of your favorite fictional character? Frostbeard Studio creates literature-inspired candles that provide book lovers with scents that will transport them to places such as Oxford Library or Gatsby’s Mansion.
Before Roxie Lubanovic and her husband Tom started Frostbeard Studio, he was a character animator, while she was was a ceramicist, busy selling at craft fairs and making candles in her kitchen on the side. Eventually they joined creative forces and began working together to develop the book-scented candle business that exploded in popularity after being featured on Buzzfeed in 2013.
How did you come up with the idea to make book-scented candles?
I learned to make candles with my mom when I was a teenager. After college I became a huge book nerd and wanted to fill my home with the smell of books, transforming it into a library. I searched everywhere online for a book-scented candle and came up empty handed. There was literally nothing like it at the time. A perfume that smelled like paper, but that was it. So I did what any DIYer would do and decided to make one myself.
Could you describe the candle-making process as well as the research that you do to create new candles?
Candlemaking always reminds me of cooking, the fragrance oils are like ingredients in a recipe. It's a fairly simple process of melting wax, adding fragrance and color, and then pouring the candles. Creating the right fragrance mixture is the tricky part, which takes some experimenting. We order samples of fragrance oils and try out different combinations until we find the right blend. Sometimes I do actual research like reading scientific articles about what old books smell like and the chemical breakdown of the binding glue and paper. But our Old Books scent is based on a particular book we had on hand and liked the smell of, which we tried to recreate. My favorite type of research is reading novels (obviously). I create scents inspired by books that I've read and enjoyed, so sometimes I need to reread an old favorite to get ideas.
What do is your favorite part about owning/working at Frostbeard?
Creating something that brings people joy is hands down the best part. Sometimes it's something simple like customers giggling at our non-traditional candle names like Trashy Romance Novel and then nodding in approval when they think the scent is a perfect match. Or whenever customers tell me they love to light one of our candles every time they curl up with a book. I've also had customers share very sentimental stories about how one of our candles served as a tribute to a deceased family member. Reading is such an important part of so many people's lives and its an amazing way to connect with our customers.
What is the most important thing for you and Tom in terms of creative and life goals? Does Frostbeard help you to accomplish those?
We have a passion for art and reading, which we want to share with everyone! Our goal is to connect with like-minded folks, make a positive difference in our world and create more book nerds. Frostbeard allows us to make nerdy things that need to exist and bring joy to readers' lives. Through promoting literacy and community outreach we are able to share our skills and spread the love of reading.
How do you choose the book scents you use?
Typically scents are inspired by books that Tom and I both love. We've read and reread these stories and want to create a candle that will help bring them to life. Some of our scents like Reading at the Cafe and Rainy Day Reads are inspired by our favorite activities. Tom and I frequently have nerdy date nights where we both bring a book to our favorite coffee shop.
What are your favorite candle scents?
Tom's favorite is Winterfell, with its woodsy wintery fragrance. My favorite is Sassenach, a refreshing blend of herbs that is perfect year round.
What's next for Frostbeard Studio?
We're working on expanding our collection to include more bookish merchandise—illustrations, mugs, cards, and shirts. I want to get back to pottery and am still trying to figure out how that will look. We're also doing some community outreach like Youth Workshops and planning a book drive. We'll continue creating new, unique nerdy goods and spreading the love of reading!
by Catherine Guden