Today we’d like to introduce you to Bryce Murphree.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Bryce. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I am a longtime professional chef. I have spent over 20 years cooking in high end hotel kitchens from Aspen to Austin and places in between. After leaving a position as Executive chef at Pirch Dallas, I was in the process of finding another culinary opportunity. This is about where the business was born, I guess. My wife, Margaret, loves candles. Mostly for the great smells, but also because the great smells covered up the not so great smells of our large German hounds. We were spending too much on what I thought were so-so candles. They didn’t burn very long and they didn’t give off their scent the entire burn of the candle. So, I began to start toying around with making my own candles. I purchased a kit to make twelve candles in metal tins. Seemed easy enough. But, I wanted more from my candles just like I always wanted more from my food. Different, better, creative, pretty, colorful, and flavorful (or great smelling in this case). So I did my research and decided soy wax was the way to go. I found a cleaner burning Eco series wick to use in my candles. I learned how to make my own plant based essential oils. I researched synthetic fragrance oils and learned Pthalates were bad and Pthalate free was good. It was time to play in the kitchen again. I started making the candles in Mason jars. My wife and her friends and colleagues were my beta testers. I played with mixing essential and fragrance oils together to get the scents I was looking for. Unconsciously at first, these scents usually ended up being food related. Go figure. I used the maximum amount of fragrance oil the soy wax could hold. My wife’s friends started asking me to make more candles for them. I thought maybe there could be something here. My sister is an amazing graphic designer in Fort Worth. I gave her some candles. She suggested a new vessel for the candles, a soup can. Don’t know how I didn’t think of that. Food scented candles in a food container. She also suggested a name, Gluttony, and that I emphasize that they were chef made soy candles. She created labels for the cans. I found the can size that I wanted to use. There was one problem, although the cans were great looking, I was missing the color of the candle poured in the mason jars. I thought maybe I could dip the tops of the cans almost like a Maker’s Mark bottle. After experimenting with hot glue sticks and crayons, I was able to dip the can tops and get the color I was missing. I started giving the candles as gifts to anyone I could think of. I met a friend of a friend at the Taco Joint one Sunday. She happened to own Market Street Nest in Mabank. I gave her some candles and she wanted to sell them in her store. My first wholesale order. I formed an LLC. Time to be legit. A few people who bought the candles in Mabank, had stores of their own. More wholesale orders came in. I never knew so many people loved candles. My sister helped me with a website. My wife created a Facebook page, an Instagram account and began talking up the candles in her networking circles. She also began calling on gift shops and the like in different areas around DFW. Wholesale was great, but not as regular as I wanted. At the urging of my wife, we started setting up shop in local farmer’s markets 2-3 time a week. And here we are.
Has it been a smooth road?
It has been mostly a smooth road. Only a few small potholes. One of the biggest struggles I have on a daily basis is reigning in the number of scents I make. I have a desire to be creative and I love to play in the kitchen. Before I knew it, I had almost forty scents I was making. A little overkill I think and a little overwhelming for any customer. So after a lot of polling and poring over sales records, we decided on 15-18 “all the time” scents and evolving seasonal scents. So far, anyway. Another struggle I faced early on was staying true to my product and brand. Some stores that approached me to sell my candles in the beginning wanted me to change my label or to use their label. Others wanted to sell my product on their internet shops and needed me to again change my label. The potential for business and more money was good and I was tempted to give in, but I didn’t. My wife and my sister reinforced to me that my product, my story, and my brand were great and should not be changed. One last struggle I had to face was knowing when to ask for help. I tend to want to do everything myself. That is all fine and good when it comes to making and producing the candles. Not so fine when it came to forming an LLC, marketing the candles on social media, calling on new shops to resell, and book keeping. I came to grips with the fact that I couldn’t do it all. My wife, Maggie, is great at handling all the sales and marketing of our product. Even the social media piece which has been more important than I ever thought it would be. Maggie found an accountant and helped get all of our books in order. She even finds new stores for the candles and new farmer’s markets to sell them at. So it turns out, it is truly a team effort!
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Gluttony Candles – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
My company, I should say OUR company, is Gluttony Candles. We make all natural soy wax candles with an emphasis on food and culinary scents. Chef made soy candles that is. All the candles are made by me. Hand poured into 14oz. soup cans in my kitchen. We currently have 18 different scents and 2 seasonal scents. I use 100% soy wax, an ECO series wick, and use the maximum amount of fragrance oil the soy wax will hold. This yields a long burning candle (50-75 hours) that has the best hot and cold fragrance throw you can achieve. We believe in making the candles smell exactly like what we name them. No superfluous frilly names. Ever. I think this, along with culinary based fragrances and unique packaging separate us from other candle lines. We are a small East Dallas Company that currently has nine store fronts reselling our candles. We have shipped candles all over the United States, Ireland, and the U.K. We even have a shop, Expressions Floral, selling the candles in my hometown of Victoria, TX.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
We live and work in East Dallas. We love the sense of community here. We love that so many people here support small local businesses. There is such a strong entrepreneurial spirit in our community, with so many artisans practicing their crafts. Craft brewers, chefs, restauranteurs, and artists abound in our city. And they are celebrated which is to me, important. Live music and food are also big likes for me. As a chef, I am never at a loss for great places to eat and drink. The Kessler Theater is one of the best venues for live music I have ever visited. As far as dislikes, there are few. Traffic is one, but I guess you could say that about most places. It is better than Austin though. Some of the older roads are horrible. Abrams is a doozie. It has been under construction near where we live for what seems like forever. I used to hate seeing rideshare bicycles left all over the place, but that seems to have gotten better.
- Address: 6423 Ellswoth
- Website: gluttonycandles.com
- Phone: 512-851-3420
- Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @gluttonycandles
- Facebook: /gluttonycandles
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