Inspiring Leaders : Alejandra Guerra of Everly
Alejandra, the founder of Everly Candles, a sustainable solution to the single-use candle market is one half of the mom and daughter duo on a mission to clean up the candle industry! Using 100% natural blend of soy and coconut wax, and toxic-free scents from essential oils.
The refill industry for candles is still a very niche market. We love your ingenuity for Everly Candles, a refill candle inside a compostable pouch. What made you decide to venture into zero-waste?
My mom and I started Everly because we LOVE candles but weren't fans of the nasty ingredients and waste in conventional candles. Most candles are made with paraffin wax (a petroleum by-product) and with fragrances unregulated by the FDA containing endocrine disruptors like phthalates and parabens-- eek!
We'd finish a candle and hoard the cute vessel for later use, only to be inundated with empty candle containers. Not ready to give up on candles, we wondered, "Is there a better way to make candles?" So we paired up, and Everly was born to reimagine how we consume candles, so they care for you and our planet too!
You started Everly Candles during the height of the pandemic and continue to thrive, what advice do you have for other aspiring women leaders?
The best advice I can give other women, regardless of their stage in life, is to take a bet on themselves. It can be scary to step outside of our comfort zones, but it's necessary for growth and becomes easier as we continue to flex that muscle of 'embracing discomfort'. You can do it. Oh, and surround yourself with people who support you and your dreams.
You talk about the candle industry using synthetic fragrances, which can be toxic, what is different about Everly and how you choose the fragrances in the candles?
When I started making candles from home, I used to get these CRAZY headaches after making a batch. I knew it couldn't be the wax because I was already using the cleanest burning waxes: coconut and soy. So I knew the fragrances had to be the culprits.
As I researched the fragrance industry, I learned that essential oils are not only highly unsustainable but, sometimes, not the safest bet. And my surprise, I realized that not all synthetic fragrances are harmful. At Everly, we use a mix of sustainably sourced natural and CLEAN synthetic fragrances in our Candle Refill Kits, so you get the cleanest burn every time. Our synthetic fragrances are non-toxic and carefully chosen for their ability to enhance our candle's cold and hot throw (fancy candle terminology for scent) while keeping our health a top priority.
We have an entire blog post dedicated to debunking the confusion around fragrances, so if you want to go down a fragrance rabbit hole, here it is.
What is one thing you wish everyone knew about sustainable candles?
The biggest shocker is that many candle jars can't be recycled because their glass is designed to resist heat and does not melt at the same temperature as regular glass bottles and jars.
It's also a shame to toss out all those cute containers, so why not refill them instead? A perfect example is a Diptyque candle that you pay $98 for-- instead of buying a new one, you can refill it for a fraction of the cost with Everly. And the best part? You are refilling it with TOP clean ingredients sourced with your health in mind vs. what they use in their candles (paraffin wax, ew).
Even cooler? Our packaging is 60% compostable, and we're working on making that 100%.
All the Everly Candles scents are incredible, which is your favourite, why does this one stand out for you?
This is a hard one. I love all the scents, but I'm currently loving our newest scent, CAMPO, which means "field" in Spanish (my native language). CAMPO has notes of lavender, and rosemary, balanced by a tiny bit of sweet vanilla, a perfect fragrance all year round. This scent will transport you to the lavender fields in Provence, France.
Quelque chose sent bon!