We know first hand how important solid photography is. It elevates a brand, and when all is said and done, it really just makes people happy!

Sam sat down with Ventola Photography to talk about why great images are so important, how we got our name, and how we're bringing art into your everyday.

Ventola Photography: Where did the name Standard Wax come from?

Samantha: Honestly? I can’t even remember. Andrew and I went through a LOT of name ideas after we had (accidentally) started the business. I think there was a clothing company we liked that had “standard” in the name. It was so everyday, so simple, and yet it really spoke to us and our product. We also didn’t want to be super obvious with the name, so we brainstormed other words besides “candles” and wound up with “wax”! I’ve never regretted the name, even though it came about sort of haphazardly. Some people think we’re a waxing salon, and it never fails that a Google search will turn up some information on toilet parts, but I still think it’s just perfect.

Ventola Photography:
 What is your brand philosophy? Why?

Samantha: We’re all about bringing art into your everyday. We believe that everything you bring into your home should be not only functional, but beautiful. We make sure every candle we make embodies that philosophy of functional art. The second part of that philosophy is that the functional art should stay forever! Just because the candle burns down doesn’t mean the beauty is gone. Our candles are made to be reused in the home as planters, pencil holders, bathroom organizers – there are so many possibilities.

Ventola Photography:
 What value do you place on imagery for your brand?

Samantha: Imagery is everything! It’s the first thing someone who’s learning about your brand for the first time usually sees. We’re a small business, but I believe that good merchandising, styling and photography can elevate your brand in a huge way. The investments we’ve made in product photography has been always been repaid almost immediately. Not only does imagery play a huge part in sales, but it also allows us the opportunity to reach out to the media and give them amazing images to use (making our PR a breeze – magazines, blogs, etc love beautiful photos).

Ventola Photography: What have you seen rich imagery do for your business from a creative standpoint?

Samantha: Having solid, high quality, professional images makes life so much easier! One example that comes to mind is creating our wholesale line sheets. The differences in the layout and design with the professional images are INCREDIBLE. It brings our collateral to a whole new level. It also helps out in more day-to-day type situations – like posting on social media. It’s been proven that imagery is one of the biggest things that brings engagement to a post, and it’s so much easier to create engaging content when you have a library of beautiful images.

Ventola Photography:
 What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own business?

Samantha: Oh boy. It sounds cliche, but if you do something you truly love, you’ll be successful. Obviously it will take some leg work to get there. You won’t love every single part of what you do. I don’t love schlepping around boxes and packaging orders. But if you love the philosophy of your business, the enthusiasm will shine through for everyone to see. I once read something where someone said he was so successful because he had found something he would do for free, since he loved it so much. And then people started paying him to do it.

Ventola Photography: What is your favorite part about running a company out of Phoenix? Are there any advantages you see to being in Arizona?

Standard Wax: So many advantages. Aside from obvious things like how affordable it is here, I think the biggest advantage is the people. Phoenix is an up and coming city, creatively. There is so much excitement and collaboration. People are genuinely passionate about working together and collaborating. Instead of seeing others as competition, people in Phoenix know that if one of us succeeds, there’s more opportunity for the rest of us. Getting started in LA, New York, San Fran, etc, would be much harder.

Ventola Photography:
 Favorite city to visit?

Standard Wax: Florence, Italy. I studied abroad there in college and instantly fell in love. There’s something so magical about the city that started the Renaissance. You get this creative feeling when you’re there, it’s so inspiring. You can walk down the same streets and look at the same buildings as people did hundreds of years ago, as they were questioning the norms, creating incredible art and ushering in an artistic and political revolution. I’m not even a crazy art history person, but there is something ridiculously moving about that city.

Ventola Photography: Favorite quote?

Standard Wax: I love quotes. It’s hard to pick just one, so I’ll go with the one that inspired a recent tattoo. “Now is right on time” take from Asha Tyson: Your journey has molded you for your greater good, and it was exactly what it needed to be. Don’t think you’ve lost time. There is no short-cutting to life. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now. And now is right on time.



We've been making candles that look like tree stumps for as long as we've been making candles. It's how we accidentally started a business. It's how people got to know us. It's really what defined Standard Wax for a long time. 

When we set out to develop a new collection, it was more out of necessity than an inspired artistic journey. The Forest Collection requires a lot of labor. And a lot of time. And not everyone on earth is obsessed with candles that look like logs. We knew we needed something simpler that would suit many tastes but still be a beautiful, ceramic piece of art you'd be proud to reuse when the candle burned down.

Suddenly though, what started as necessity turned into a fun process of artistic development, full of happy accidents and tragic meltdowns. 

See what Standard Wax co-founder and super talented artist Andrew King has to say about creating the Signature Collection:

How did you come up with the simple shape for the the Signature Collection? Was it a long process with many rejected ideas, or did it come to you in a dream?
This design was conceived from a previous attempt to make a clean and simple container inspired by modern art and architecture that we could cast (create molds and make the pieces that way). Originally we wanted this to be a testament to the ceramic casting process by keeping clean mold lines as part of the design (like a cup that is fused together down the middle). However, the initial attempt was SO not good and we ended up with a more simplified version which is what we have now. The use of color was a complete last minute accident (literally hours before a photoshoot). Multiple versions of glazed containers went horribly wrong - half dipped, painted on, etc... We randomly tried the color just on the inside and fell in love! It couldn't be more perfect.

What inspired the color choices for the pop of glaze on the inside?
We wanted to find inspired colors that stemmed from our brand and our sense of adventure. The red was derived from the red logo icon for Standard Wax. The mustard was inspired by a morning hike in South Mountain park when the sunlit hit the buildings downtown in just the right way to reflect beautiful yellow light. We also knew in advance that we wanted grey because it is one of both Samantha and my favorite colors and ties into the concept of the "modern" feel of the big city. All three look great together, and can be interpreted in so many ways, like a vibrant sunset with grey clouds or your favorite painting.

What was the hardest part of developing a new collection? What was the most fun? 
The hardest part of the development process is always the unforeseen pressures - deadlines that creep up unexpectedly and create stress in glaze testing, container perfection etc. I think we went through eight million red glazes before we found the perfect one, and that's time consuming and frustrating. We are getting better at giving ourselves enough time for product development but there is always room to improve for the next round (aka spring 2015). The most fun part is definitely the reward of seeing all the work (and there is A LOT) coming to life - especially in gorgeous photos!

Here's a peek at some of the gorgeous photos we shot of the new Signature Collection with Phoenix photographer Kym Ventola. She's a photo rockstar.



Phoenix. We love you. We love living and working in a city that's growing creatively every day. We love the dozens and dozens of incredible restaurants and bars you have to offer. We love your mountains and forests, sunsets, saguaros and swimming pools.  We love that you're our home, and love that we discovered localrevibe magazine

Localrevibe takes the best of what Phoenix has to offer and shares it with the world. And it's not the same people, places and things you've heard about over and over again. The magazine profiles people doing genuinely cool things in the desert, and we were so honored to be featured on July's cover.

You can read the article here. Learn more about us, our process, and how weird we are.  And if you're in Phoenix, be sure to pick up a copy! They're scattered all over town at over 100 restaurants, coffee shops and local boutiques.