Inspired by a delicious smelling beer, Mollie Nickelson founded Twinkle Brews, a company that is all about savoring the delicious brews you love through upcycling craft beer bottles and cans then turning them into handmade scented candles.
When did you open your business and what made you want to start it?
I started my business in November of 2015 officially, but I didn’t really start selling anything until like March of 2016. I was ironically drinking a beer and a with some friends and it really smelled delicious. It smelled of like caramel apples and it was just so amazing. I also loved the label too- on the bottle, I mean it’s artwork. I was like, oh, I’ll make a drinking glass out of it. That didn’t go so well because you can’t wash them because then the labels fall off. Then I was like, well, maybe I can do candles and scent them like the beer. So that’s how it all came to be. It was a drink.
What’s your favorite thing about your business?
I think my favorite thing is seeing how excited people are when they smell the candles and after I tell them that they’re inspired by the beer, they’re like, oh my gosh, this is so cool. They are just really excited about it. It’s a special bottle or something from a wedding or whatever and that they’re really excited about it and to see their happiness makes me happy.
What makes your voice unique?
Well, I make candles out of beer bottles. I upcycle so I try really hard for my entire company to be green. I use all local products to make my candles, so I get my wax, my wicks, well fragrances not yet, but mostly everything I get locally. I pride myself on that. Also to just make everything unique, no two are the same and it also makes it fun too.
What’s the process?
I have a bottle and I have a tool and I cut the top of the bottle off, and then it’s lots of sanding just to make it really smooth so people don’t cut themselves. Then the bottles get a bath to get all the glass and the sand out of it or the little particles and add wicks in them. If I didn’t drink the beer, I do research on the beer to see what the main aromatic notes were and then it’s kind of fun from that point I play chemist. I mix different fragrances to get what you eventually smell in the final product.
Why is St. Louis ideal for hosting your business?
It is such an awesome place for locals, like for local businesses, they just support people so much and I think that that’s really special and kind of a movement that’s going on and I’m super fortunate and just also, too, like it’s a big craft beer city. It’s just insane how many breweries are here and I’m really grateful for the support that I’ve gotten from the breweries and from my customers. So yeah, I mean just local support and craft beer rocks.
So that’s why. Had there been any challenges you had to overcome?
Learning how to cut the bottles. That was a challenge in itself and I’m just trying to get my ratio down from all cracked to maybe one cracked. Then just like constantly being innovative and creative. I mean it’s one thing to make candles, but it’s another to make sure that your line is still relative and innovative. And so just constantly trying to like keep my brand cohesive but still like have fun and be creative with it. I get to kind of do what I want.
What makes you passionate about your business?
Probably just the fact that like I can be as creative as I want. Also too, just to see how much people really enjoy them. It’s just been so much fun seeing how happy people are with them.
What is your target market?
Oh man, my target market is probably, I would say like 21 to 65. It’s such a vast age range, but I’ve had people literally from every single age range by candles. It’s been really interesting seeing that and then also like seeing the seasons change, like what candles are the most popular.
What do you see for the future?
Twinkle Brews worldwide. I would love to, you know, add more things. Add more items to my line, just like I said, just to make it more relevant and current and to keep people excited. Hopefully just to collaborate with more breweries and just have fun, have fun in the process.
So like what’s your most popular item right now?
Because it’s summertime the most popular is probably the citrusy ones. I call them the IPA, so it grapefruit, orange, and kind of a pine. The mixture of followed by peaches are really popular one. Citronella I do for summertime. I’m like going into the fall pumpkin. Everything. Pumpkin, Pumpkin, pumpkin. The month of October is pumpkin spice candles. Then as you get into fall, winter it’ll be more of the stout. So chocolatey, way more decadent, boozy. So I like that season.
If you could describe your company in one word, what would it be?
Creative I guess, but that seems so boring. I guess I would go with creative just because every single day is different. It just depends on what I’m pouring that day and, and I get to kind of experiment with different scents and stuff. So I guess creative.
Do you sell your products online?
I don’t, but I’m going to. I want to build up my website and it’ll have a shopping cart and stuff. So that’s kind of on my to-do list. But right now I’m in different retail stores around St Louis and some in Illinois, some in Springfield. And then markets. So that’s kind of like my main thing right now, but hopefully, I really do want to transition into putting more online.
Next time you find yourself admiring the sweet scent of your favorite beer, make sure to give Twinkle Brews a call and make it your new favorite candle!
Photo Credit: Twinkle Brews
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