We had the good fortune of connecting with Samm Stangeland and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Samm, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
As a music LOVER, one day I was listening to Brown Sugar by The Rolling Stones and the thought occurred to me that there aren’t any candle companies that are inspired by songs – connecting those senses of sight, smell, and hearing. This triggered an idea for me and so, I began keeping a notes page in my phone with ideas for scents, the aesthetic, the creative, and all of it. A couple years went by and I kept (very) slowly chipping away at the whole design process. Eventually, the name Rock & Roll Candle Co. came to me and as soon as it did, I stopped everything and got the Instagram handle, website domain, email address, and booked my appointment to create the DBA. I had no idea what I was doing but everyday would be bring me a bit closer to making it a reality.
That was at the end of 2017 and 2018 and 2019 were consumed with my 3 jobs – Producing concerts for Live Nation, touring with Lady Gaga, and logistics for Nona Entertainment, so needless to say, I did very little for R&RCCo. BUT THEN, the world stopped in 2020, and I had nothing but time. It was a great pivot and even better use of all my downtime. Since the pandemic, we’ve really grown tremendously. We now have 9 scents and a couple accessories and are selling and shipping in the US, UK, and Canada. I’m so excited to launch new scents as well as get the brand in front of as many people as possible.
It’s really cool to see what a little Notes page can become!
What should our readers know about your business?
My company, Rock & Roll Candle Co, is handmade and hand-poured scented candles inspired by your favorite songs! We are solely designed to connect songs with scents, which hadn’t been done before! We strive to be as eco-friendly and natural as possible and strongly encourage the customer to listen to the song while they burn the candle.
In regards to obstacles, I was strongly rooted in the concert production world but knew nothing about starting a business nor making candles. So, there were plenty of hurdles. Still are, but that’s the fun of starting a business and seeing what you can do with it. How far you can take it. As this was primarily a pandemic pivot, we endure our fair share of supply chain issues and all things Covid-related. Best and worst time to start a business, haha?!
I am extremely excited to grow the brand, to get it into new stores and to new customers, and introduce more products and more scents. We’ve only tapped into the Classic Rock category, but have so many ideas for future scents in different genres of music as well as accessories. Also, dabbling with custom candles and private label, which is really fun and a completely open format, which I love.
As far as lessons, I cannot even begin to tell you what an emotional rollercoaster it is to run your own business. Everyday is a new adventure, haha, but it’s beyond gratifying to overcome setbacks and losses – and trust me, the pandemic did not help. It’s important to take each day as it comes and I always try to remind myself that if someone else can do it, so can I.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would definitely carve out some time and take them to Palm Springs and Joshua Tree. It’s outside the city but I just love it out there and it’s such a quick trip. Idyllwild is also a very special place to me. Adorable, little mountain town that isn’t on everyone’s radar yet. Shhhh 😉
In the city, some of my favorite places to visit and eat at are Soregashi for the yummiest sushi, Pace is such a charming restaurant, and Jones is just the best. Love taking trips to LACMA, the Getty and Huntington Library, as well as hiking Los Liones trail or doing the Silverlake Reservoir. I would absolutely show them Malibu and Topanga, as well, and hit the Fairfax flea market or Rose Bowl if we time it right. Ideally, we’d hit a couple concerts, too. The Forum is such an iconic venue and also has the best sound, but also love seeing shows at Hollywood Forever!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Most definitely! Jay Bennett, who taught me how to make candles – very patiently! He was a huge help and fundamental to launching this business. And Michelle Pesce, in which working for her taught me tons about being a strong business woman, never taking no for an answer, and keeping it eco-friendly.
Instagram: @rockandrollcandleco @
Linkedin: Samm Stangeland