Since downloading the TikTok app last year during the pandemic, I’ve become quite fascinated in watching candle-making videos. People would film anything from the pre-production stage of designing the labels to mixing in the fragrance while stirring the hot wax. It’s just something about these videos that make me feel comforted in a way that I don’t know how to explain it. But thanks to these candle videos, I was introduced to Purgatory Candle Co., an LA based horror themed candle company owned by two badass Latinx women, Jasmine and Lesly.
After being mesmerized by their candles, I wanted to get to know the creators of these unique candles that take inspiration from all things horror and macabre. After having a nice chat with them via zoom, I not only got to meet two very sweet and talented artists but also learn about the importance of what is like for two Latina women to break into the male dominated horror genre.
Lesly is a freelance graphic artist, born and raised in Texas who now currently lives in Downtown Los Angeles. She is the visual mastermind behind all the visuals of Purgatory Candle Co. She designed the labels, website, stickers, and that cute little flame logo for the company. Oh and she used to be in a punk band back in Texas called Bat/Caves. How cool is that?
Jasmine is a professional costume designer who is from Los Angeles. She works on T.V. and film sets and has worked on a few horror movies like Annabelle Comes Home (2019) and The Forever Purge (2021). Yeah no big deal. She’s also the mastermind behind the company’s fragrances by making them and ensuring they exceptional.
How did you two connect, was it through a love of horror movies?
Jasmine: My partner at the time was in a band that played with her band [Bat/Caves] and she came and stayed with us. Mostly it was through music and then as we got to know each other we realized we had a lot of similar interests.
Where did the idea of Purgatory Candles come from?
Jasmine: About a couple of years ago Lesly said, “I really want to start making candles but I just don’t know what” And then nothing came from that but then during the pandemic we were at home watching movies and then I suggested to make horror themed candles. We began to figure out a way to incorporate the scents to compliment the movie. Then we just went from there, trial and error. We dropped our first candle in January of this year.
Lesly: Jasmine had been testing things out probably for like a good year before we dropped.
What is the process of creating your candles?
Jasmine: We used certain molds from Etsy vendors and now we’re getting them custom made from various special effects artists that I’ve worked with. Essentially it’s sourced molds with the movie we are trying to correlate with. Typically we talk about the movie we want to make the candle of and think of ideas we can put as a topper [for the candle].
Lesly: Jasmine sources a bunch of different fragrances too so she always has a bunch of different samples where we’re like maybe “Texas Chainsaw can smell like this”. It takes a lot of brainstorming before we actually put out the candle. And brainstorm what the label will look like and what it will be called. At first we thought, “Inspired by…” and then the movie name. The more we thought about it we really wanted it to feel special and different. So we started pulling quotes or something that felt inspired by it or similar.
Jasmine: We try to pick iconic moments in the movie as well, like the Scream candle [Hello Sydney]. We thought about the most iconic scene, the opening credits. We wanted it to smell like popcorn but we didn’t want it to smell like popcorn. Which is why it’s caramel popcorn scented.
How did you blow up on TikTok?
Lesly: It was kind of an accident. I ended up posting a video not thinking anyone was going to watch it and it kind of blew up! Normally you build up a customer base, little by little. But through social media we just kind of exploded so we’ve been trying to figure out how to make more product. For a while we noticed some people were buying four or five of the same candle while others were struggling to just buy one. So we started limiting it.
Jasmine: It’s grown faster than we anticipated. When we first started January, we were like “Cool we’ll make like 10 candles and put them on Etsy and hopefully we’ll sell a couple.” And it sold out!
Where do you see Purgatory Candle Co. going in the coming years?
Jasmine: Hopefully one day being able to have our own storefront and a large variety of candles. We talked about merchandise such as totes and enamel pins. Either it’s a storefront or to curate other vendors. We also want to incorporate other people in our community and be able to support other Latinx vendors and artists.
Any fellow MMNster can check out their website and follow them on Instagram and TikTok, @purgatorycandleco, to see more of what Purgatory has in store because trust me, next month’s candle is going to be iconic! And if you’re a local in LA, check them out on Saturday June 12th at Heritage Square Museum for the Le Carnival De La Lune event to meet them in person!