Interview with Al Rose and Ab Gibson, creators of Queer Candle Co., a socially conscious brand that seeks to support the LGBTQ community.
Can you tell us about your business and mission?
We’re Ab & Al, a queer couple and queer chandlers based in New York City. We are building our business side by side and making products that we love. As a queer-owned business, it’s important to us that we use part of our profits to amplify the voices of the most oppressed members of our community. That’s why we donate 10% of our monthly earnings to the Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP), an organization working to “guarantee that all people are free to self-determine gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination, or violence.”
What makes your candles—and your business—unique?
Each candle is topped with a visual representation of the scent (generally herbs, but sometimes dehydrated fruits or salt rocks). Our soy wax candles burn longer and cleaner than paraffin options and our attention to detail in sourcing materials means that our fragrances are fresh, non-toxic, and authentic. We find creative ways to make our candles visually appealing and we’re using fresh and natural ingredients to do it. Our botanical approach to candle-making and the platform that we’ve created for promoting queer business and supporting queer-facing nonprofits is unique.
What is your favorite scent combination? What does it evoke?
Al: My favorite scent is Rosemary & Mint. It really fills a room nicely without overpowering and the botanical mix is refreshing and unique. For us, one of the most important parts of creating a scent is making sure that it actually smells like its name and Rosemary & Mint is so authentic! For me, it evokes a walk through an herb garden on a rainy day.
Ab: I am drawn toward earthy scents, with my all-time favorite being Ginger & Saffron. It’s a zesty fragrance that stands out to me as a perfect combination of ground ginger and floral saffron. I feel more calm and creative when we’re burning Ginger & Saffron. Think of a cup of ginger tea in the afternoon. A little pick-me-up that makes a space feel cleaner and promotes focus.
Why did you select the Sylvia Rivera Law Project as the recipient of your donations?
The SRLP stood out not only because it’s a grassroots organization working directly in our community, but also because of their focus on amplifying the voices of trans and gender nonconforming people of color. We want to make sure that we are using Queer Candle Co. to support—both with our voices and with our funds—an organization that is promoting the visibility and protection of those who are systematically and cyclically erased/oppressed.
Is there a female artist that inspires you and/or your work?
Musicians really drive our creativity. Our candle-making playlists are always in flux, but currently on heavy rotation are Lizzo, Janelle Monáe, and Cher. These amazing women make us feel empowered to love ourselves, our bodies, and our queerness.