Meet the women behind our favourite candle brand, Love Dose

Apr 19, 2021 | Interviews

Love Dose is the child of old roommates, Nicole Kapper and Amanda Hemminger. Born with the values of creativity, sustainability and empowerment, Love Dose celebrates young women, their art and the power of community. It’s clear these candles were conceived with love and intention, for you and the planet. With love at the forefront, these candles are the perfect decoration for your abode.

Hi guys! So what is the backstory of Love Dose?

Amanda: So I was taking a year off and I decided to move to New York, Nicole was already there and I don’t even know why we were roommates. I’m the type of person that needs to work on something constantly and I thought, you know what, fuck it and I ordered a wax kit online. We had been interested in working on something collectively and I don’t know how candles came about. After playing around with the wax kit, we thought we could turn this into a brand. Then we outlined our ethics which were: clean, cruelty free and hand poured everything. I think starting a business these days, it’s very easy to have that capitalistic mindset where you produce as much as you can with the cheapest ingredients and make the max profit. We didn’t want to be like that.

Hi guys! So what is the backstory of Love Dose?

Amanda: So I was taking a year off and I decided to move to New York, Nicole was already there and I don’t even know why we were roommates. I’m the type of person that needs to work on something constantly and I thought, you know what, fuck it and I ordered a wax kit online. We had been interested in working on something collectively and I don’t know how candles came about. After playing around with the wax kit, we thought we could turn this into a brand. Then we outlined our ethics which were: clean, cruelty free and hand poured everything. I think starting a business these days, it’s very easy to have that capitalistic mindset where you produce as much as you can with the cheapest ingredients and make the max profit. We didn’t want to be like that.

Nicole: Yeah! It was very random, it was kind of as if we didn’t choose the candle life, the candle life chose me. Neither of us really loved candles but it happened. I think we might’ve seen an ad on Instagram one night and thought we could make candles. 

At what point did you both realise that this could become a business for you guys?

Amanda: When we started, we didn’t take into account what it means to have a business. We didn’t prepare for the logistics at all.

Nicole: It only picked up when we moved back to Ohio. Because of COVID, everyone was shopping a lot more and on their phones. And it wasn’t to make a lot of money, it was a creative outlet and for us to do something together. I think when COVID happened, we were just more bored and so it gave us something to do and people started buying our candles. We just recently became an official business and decided to keep pursuing it. 

Can you recall a highlight since starting Love Dose?

Amanda: Urban Outfitters! To have brands reach out to you is the most flattering thing. It was pretty insane. It was wild.

Nicole: Urban Outfitters has definitely been the biggest one. In the beginning I think we were both afraid to ask people to collab but now we’re more comfortable with that and more worth collabing with. But definitely Urban Outfitters.

Courtesy of Love Dose

Courtesy of Love Dose

Speaking of Urban Outfitters, what’s your process with them and how does that differ to your everyday process?

Amanda: Nicole compares it to Depop, which I think is really good, but basically we offer our product on a platform. Then we’ll reach out to the team and they’ll approve it. It’s pretty easy going and not too intensive.

Nicole: It’s not like we’re selling in stores or a style on their site. We decide what we sell. So sometimes if there’s a particular candle that isn’t doing super well on our site, we can put it on Urban’s because they have a larger audience. So it’s been super helpful to reach more people.  

Amanda: I think when we first got the offer, we were really skeptical about it. We’re really big on ethics. And people know that Urban Outfitter’s isn’t the most sustainable brand and so we weren’t sure we wanted to advocate for people to go purchase on their website but we decided to do it because it’s on their Urban Renewal. And as long as we’re not changing anything, exploiting anyone or changing our products to work with Urban then it’s okay. 

Nicole: We feel big and we’ve grown a lot but we’re honestly not that big so it was a great opportunity for us to become a staple, sustainable candle brand. It’s been a good decision so far. 

What would you consider the hardest part of running Love Dose to be?

Amanda: I think just the two of us working part time jobs, going to school full time and trying to run Love Dose has been hard. We knew if we could make more, we could sell more and grow more but we physically can’t. I think that’s been really hard for us, maintaining our growth but also keeping sane. 

I know currently it’s just you two but what do you see for the future of your team?

Nicole: I think we’d love to expand in the future but right now it’s not the right decision financially and since we’re not in New York. We’d love to hire a few candle makers and some people to pack orders. I think what makes it special is how hands on we are with it though. Even our Instagram is very us! I think we would love to expand in a small way but maintain the creative process. 

I also saw that you love collaborating which is so cool, has there been a particular collaboration that resonated with you?

Amanda: I really like our Amber Vittoria one, I think we did a really good job and it was really fitting but I love them all.

Nicole: I like all of our collaborations, I think they’ve all turned out really cute.

Courtesy of Love Dose

Courtesy of Love Dose

Do you have a dream collab?

Nicole: I do! I would love to work with Kylie McConnell, she makes the cutest tea light holders. I love her stuff!

Amanda: I think for Nicole and I both, we love ceramics. So ideally, it’d be a ceramic company who could make the candle sticks or holders for that.

I’ve also noticed that you guys sometimes offer vintage homewares, is homeware something you would consider producing down the line?

Nicole: I’ve never thought of that. A big thing for us is not creating more waste so I feel like it would have to be sustainably made and in small quantities but I think that would be fun! We’re thinking of doing merch maybe…

You should!

Love Dose is centred around sustainability, where did you first learn about sustainability and how does it factor into your everyday lives?

Amanda: Sustainability is thrown around and it’s definitely a buzzword. We want to reclaim that and not greenwash anything. We went to a very artsy school so sustainability was normal to us. We just always knew about it. Personally, I currently go to school for environmental studies and I think the only way to carry on for the future is through sustainability.

Nicole: Yeah, I think we grew up that way. Thrifting was really popular and that’s the only way we shop. We’ve been vegetarian since middle school and those are just small ways in our lives. At Parsons, we have to take a lot of environmental study classes and that’s also how I’ve learned. 

Amanda: When we started Love Dose there was no question about having biodegradable, recycled packaging and I think when you know what’s good for the environment you wouldn’t do anything else.

Other than sustainability and creativity, what other values do you want to get across to your followers and customers?

Amanda: Young people valuing themselves through their artwork. Whatever you price your product as, there’s always going to be someone who thinks it’s expensive but you know what your time is worth. Especially as women, you’re taught to be little and not take up too much space but I think it’s important to know your worth.

Nicole: Also just creating a community and bringing together people with similar morals. 

I love how you touched upon empowering women, what advice would you give for other young women starting their own business?

Nicole: I think just reaching out. We would love to give advice if anyone reached out to us. I know it can be daunting but people love talking about themselves and are more willing to help than you think.

Amanda: Start a team. I think the reason we did accelerate was because we had each other. But definitely reaching out to people is a big one.

What do you guys have planned for the future?

Nicole: In the short term, we’re excited for summer and we’re excited to put more energy into the creative side. Long term, we would love to get in stores and become bigger!

Amanda: Definitely getting into small stores in New York would be amazing. 

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By Anna Lowe