We had the good fortune of connecting with Lorraine Salazar and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lorraine, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The most important factor behind my brand is authenticity. I use authentic nontoxic ingredients in my candles, the scents are authentic, and my story is authentic. I think this is the most important quality in a brand. I just make a product that is true to me, my life, and that I think will relate to my customers. I keep them in mind when creating new scents and try to give them something they can appreciate. The candles I create have special meanings such as a memory, time, place, or idea that resonates with my customers. I never stray from this formula or make something that isn’t true to what I believe in or what I can stand behind. I don’t because I know that if I do, my customers will see right through it.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I started Amor y Flor in 2011, when I began making candles as a hobby. I wanted to learn a new craft and how to make natural high-quality candles in scents that I liked. Soon after, I began receiving orders from family and friends. It was because of their encouragement that led me to do my first pop up. Then things just took off from there and have continued to grow ever since. I think what really differentiates my candles is that the scents are unique and good quality. My scents are inspired by my culture as a Latina and being born and raised in Los Angeles. Along the way I have learned to always stay true to myself and my product. Although the tumblers and packaging I use may have changed slightly over the years as I continue to define my brand, I have always used clean ingredients like 100% non-GMO soy wax, cotton wicks, essential oils and premium fragrances. The look is simple and elegant, but not overwhelming so as to not take away from the experience of the candle. The focus is meant to be on the scent and soft glow of the flame flickering through the glass. My candles are perfect for creating a relaxing atmosphere, uplifting and refreshing your space, or as the final touch for a romantic night at home. I also like to keep things fresh. I am constantly adding new scents as preferences change. I have signature scents that will probably never go away, but the truth is scent combinations and trends do change. Right now for example, people are becoming more interested in wellness and healing, so I have added scents to meet this demand such as Palo Santo and Santal. Last year, I also launched the Estrella collection for all 12 zodiac signs. Each candle has been thoughtfully curated to capture the essence of each sign. As for challenges, I can’t really say that there have been many that have affected me too greatly when it comes to candle making. I actually enjoy the learning process very much. Any imperfections or challenges that I’ve come across have enabled me to make my candles even better, and there is always room for improvement. Making candles has always been a great joy and outlet for me. I enjoy listening and understanding my customers and getting to know them better. As long as I can keep making candles, I am happy. That is the key.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This is my favorite question! One of the best things about LA is the food. As for an itinerary, it would depend on the person visiting and what they would like to see! I am a fan of small family-owned businesses, and this includes food. I have so many favorite places! Carambas in Alhambra or La Parilla in Boyle Heights are great for authentic Mexican food and awesome margaritas or sangria. Olvera Street is fun if you are Downtown and in the mood for shopping and immersing yourself in Mexican culture. Grand Central Market is the perfect place to try many different kinds of food at once. Horse Thief or Spring Street Smokehouse have fantastic barbecue. If you are in the mood for people watching, Old Town Pasadena is always a great choice. Highland park is fun for eclectic boutiques, cool bars, coffee, donuts, you name it! If you want to head out a little further east, Uptown Whittier is great for a neighborhood vibe. My favorite places are the ones you happen to discover by mistake, or that are recommended by word-of-mouth. I love places where you can grab a bite, a drink, browse stores, and walk around. LA has so much beauty and so many facets. My favorite views are from Griffith Park, but there are so many places around the city to view the skyline.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
So many people deserve credit, so I am thankful I get to share this here. My husband, family, and friends have always supported me. They listen to all my crazy ideas and rambling. They have been amazing, though. I can always trust them to be honest with me, but most of all to be there to help me with anything I need whether it is giving me thoughts on my latest candles, helping to set up or break down at pop-ups, or just showing up for support. Of course, I also need to give a shout out to my customers! They humble me with their support and loyalty. The candle business is very competitive and there are lots of great makers out there. I am always so excited when they return for more candles, they share their thoughts with others, and spread the word about Amor y Flor!
Meredith Carlson https://www.meredithmcarlson.com/