We had the good fortune of connecting with Marissa Bobkowski and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Marissa, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
The process was gradual. I always considered myself a creative who ended up working left-brained jobs. I could never find the right thing to create so I changed my thought process. “What is something that I spend money on that I could make myself?” I chose candles. I started bringing candles with cute anecdotes about my friends as dinner party gifts. Eventually, they would ask for more, but I realized I needed to start charging if I wanted to continue. Candle making is a process and constant trial and error, much like baking. When the pandemic hit, I decided to invest in supplies. I posted to Instagram and said I was learning to make candles, I said I would write a custom haiku for friends on a candle in return for a donation to cover supplies. I was not expecting the response I received. Within a day, I needed to make over 60 candles. From making those, I really perfected the candle, as well as improved my poetry. Candles really create an atmosphere and so does poetry, it made perfect sense for me to combine the two. Now, I make a release seasonally.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My career is all over the place. When I graduated from college, I bought a one-way ticket to Belize and didn’t stop traveling full time until I moved to LA in 2018. I worked in hostels, hotels, music festival artist relations, at Sundance Film Festival, and I was a cycling guide in Europe. I have never been afraid of trying jobs and going to new places. It was what made me feel like I was really living. The transition to a more stable life has been my biggest challenge. When I stopped moving around and constantly having new experiences, I really had to face myself. I learned a lot about what drives me and who I wanted to grow to be. I finally had the time and literal space to pursue long-term projects. My candle scents and poetry are really inspired by the nostalgia of my life before LA and that transition.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I am a beach bum, so if anyone visits me they are going to spend a lot of time on the beach. The place I take everyone when they visit is Point Dume. It really captures what I always imagine Southern California would feel like. My best friend doesn’t surf, but if she did I would take her surfing at Sunset Point. It is close to the city and such a gentle wave to learn on. At the end of the day, my favorite place to eat and drink is Dudley Market. The wine and food are amazing. I really feel like I am back in Europe on a side street only locals can find. 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?
Wow, I have too many people to thank. Chuck Palanuck wrote, “I am a combined effort of everyone I’ve known.” I really resonate with that. To my 8th grade English teacher, who told me my poetry was beyond my years. It took me over 15 years to pick up a pen and really try again. Thanks to her words in the back of my head, I now write every day.