The great Pike/Pine fashion eyewear boom is showing signs of a slowdown. The Ollie Quinn chain has quietly pulled out of Capitol Hill. Its replacement tells you a little about E Pike circa late 2019.
Elm Candle Bar is lined up to replace the Canadian eye fashion chain in the retail space previously held down by the High Voltage music gear shop. If the shift from amplifiers to double bridge frames caused you a little cognitive dissonance, you might want to look away, tune out, and start looking for a house on Vashon Island.
Elm Candle Bar, we are sorry to report, is not going to be another E Pike wax bar, or a lounge with a candle and wick theme.
Started by three cousins in search of a startup opportunity to work together on and inspired by the experience of crafting personal perfumes in Paris, E Pike’s soon to open candle bar is an “experiential retail concept” that will give folks out for a night on Capitol Hill something to create together, Erin Page tells CHS.
She and her cousins Matthew Kim and Leah Kim hatched the idea for the concept earlier this year and were in search of a good launch location for the “walk-in friendly” customization experience.
“It really adds to an evening,” Page said. “It pairs with going out.”
While it may not be the first thing you think of as a likely addition to Capitol HIll’s entertainment district, in a neighborhood with an axe tossing bar, a custom candle bar might just work.
Inspired by an opportunity to blend her own perfume in Paris, Page said she wanted to bring a similar experience to customers but in a more accessible, more affordable format.
“Scent is so important — it reminds you of something,” she said.
Entering Elm Candle Bar, a visitor will grab a clipboard with directions to walk them through the process. The first stop is a wall of 80 scented candles to explore.
“A lot you would think wouldn’t smell good, will. You’ll be surprised,” Page said.
Scent specialists will be on hand to help. You write down what scents you like and move on to the container section with candle jars, diffusers, and more to pick a vessel for your creation. The next step is the bar with “wax on tap” where Elm Candle will help you combine your scent oils together and mix in the wax.
A custom candle will run around $27, an 8oz. diffuser, around $16.
For Page and her cousins, the project has come together quickly with the availability of what they hope is the perfect space to start the business on a foot traffic-friendly E Pike. The new candle bar will neighbor black-hued fashion retailer Ritual which debuted on the street last Thanksgiving. Hopefully Elm stocks a few goth-friendly flavors for its wax.
The family members “always had a passion for opening a business” together, Page said, and now will bring together their experiences from the corporate world and retail. “All bring a different skillset to the table,” Page said.
The longterm hope for growth includes near-term steps of launching an online custom candle business as part of the new bar, adding wedding favor demand to its business, working with wholesalers to create candles to sell in-house, and tapping into the lucrative corporate gifts industry. Page said she also expect Elm Candle Bar to host a steady schedule of private events.
And, of course, the even longer-term hope is expansion. Page and her family hope to open more Elm Candle Bars if the idea ignites on Capitol Hill. Things will start soon with a quiet debut followed by a grand opening on November 22nd.
As for the core of the business — scent — Page says there are two kinds of people in the world.
“People either like the warm scents or the fresh scents,” she said. “I'[m more of the fresh,” she added, recommending her blend of champagne, ginger ale, and citrusy yuzu.
Elm Candle Bar will open soon at 910 E Pike. You can learn more and make a reservation at elmcandlebar.com.
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