Butter Candles and Team Work
Feeling! Magazine's June Tastemaker: Nata Concept Store
“The more sculptural candles are inspired by our favorite artists such as Matisse, Miro, Jean Cocteau — the whole surrealist movement.
As for the food candles, I think it’s safe to say - we just love eating, haha.”
Welcome to the inaugural edition of Tastemakers, a section brought to you by Feeling! Magazine!
To our loyal subscribers who have placed their trust in Feeling! Magazine, we extend our heartfelt gratitude. If only we could shower each of you with a bouquet of a hundred purple peonies as a token of our appreciation! Alas, due to our limited flower inventory, we offer you an alternative delight: exclusive articles that you can relish instead.
As we envision a future where our online concept evolves into a tangible print edition, we aspire to feature captivating stories, exceptional writing, and remarkable individuals, all within the pages that you hold in your hands. This interview serves as a glimpse into the type of content and people we aspire to showcase.
A tastemaker is an individual who ignites our imagination with their creative innovation, resilience, and design prowess. In this edition, I am thrilled to present to you the ingenious minds behind Nata Concept Store.
Nata Concept, based in the UK, is the brainchild of Anna and Tatiana, the artistic duo behind these captivating sculptural candles. With their innovative approach to candle-making, they have crafted a production process that yields truly one-of-a-kind pieces. Their brand has effortlessly captured the attention of both avid shoppers and discerning wholesalers. Their journey of rediscovering and reclaiming their creative essence resonates deeply with me, and I am certain you will find it equally inspiring.
Producing a candle is no simple feat. Even within a jar, the production process can be intricate and messy, requiring a delicate touch. Achieving the perfect balance of temperature and fragrance ratios is paramount to creating a candle that settles and smells just right.
Enter the extraordinary world of hand-made sculptural candles, where Nata Concept truly excels. Their whimsical packaging and designs elevate the art of candle-making to a whole new level. From enchanting butter candles to pastel colosseum-inspired column candles, each creation is a unique masterpiece that demands attention on any shelf.
“This business was an intentional accident - we’d both been working full time in creative jobs that didn’t feel so creative anymore. So we wanted to start making things with our hands again.
It started with pottery class and then we set up NATA which was originally a vintage store on Nata…which then evolved into candles as so many of the finds we made had interesting shapes so it inspired us to turn them into candles.”
The Origin Story:
Anna and Tatiana share a special bond that spans 15 years, starting from their friendship in their hometown of Paris and continuing when they embarked on their educational journey at university in the UK. As time went on, their shared passion for exploring their creative potential grew stronger, leaving them eager to embark on a new venture.
“We’ve tried many different things through Nata - stocking other small makers, designing tees, selling vintage, and designing & making our own range of candles.”
Gosh - our first candles were so bad! We didn’t have much understanding of the art of making candles. We kind of just winged everything at the start but we’ve come a loooooong way.”
After some trial and error, the duo eventually discovered a system that worked for them. Candles emerged as the common thread that wove together their diverse creative endeavors. Through their candle-making journey, Nata Concept found themselves embracing collaborations, which quickly became their favorite kind of project. Collaborations provided them with a unique opportunity to blend their artistic vision with the ideas and talents of others, resulting in truly exceptional creations.
“We offer custom candles for brands and clients - I think it’s maybe our favorite thing to do because it’s bringing someone else’s vision to life.
Even though there’s still only two of us, we've managed to expand production so much! We’re basically a mini factory, but we still do everything in house. We make the molds, the candles, as well as the packaging.
When we started selling candles, we didn’t even have a website or system in place. We just took orders from DM’s on insta and created a spreadsheet for orders - and now we’re stocked in some of our favorite shops ever, have our own website and our very own studio rather than our kitchen, haha!”
In a sea of home decor, Nata stands out with unique themes and quirky shapes.
“I think we started making candles a bit before the big explosion of sculptural candles. Because everyone seemed to open a candle business during lockdown with very similar shapes and colors, we’ve had to stay on top of our game! We’ve all seen the shell candles, female torso, and wiggles.
So our main goal was to always explore new ideas and to do things differently - while having fun! I think a lot of the inspiration basically comes from the things we love.
The more sculptural candles are inspired by our favorite artists such as Matisse, Miro, Jean Cocteau- the whole surrealist movement.
As for the food candles I think it’s safe to say - we just love eating, haha!
I feel like food is a major part of our identity, especially growing up in France.
The first ever food candle we did was the french butter candle to pay tribute to our favorite thing ever.. butter. Tatiana’s favorite is salted and Anna likes the simplicity of the unsalted.
After making the butter we just thought, ‘wait, there’s so many other shapes that would look so beautiful as a candle!’”
Nata Concept has found a charming little studio nestled in North London, which serves as their creative haven. Their business initially took shape within the confines of their own kitchen at home, but as they expanded, they moved to a series of different locations before finally settling into their current space.
Operating what can be described as a "mini factory," with only two artisans at the helm, demands an unwavering focus on detail and an unyielding wellspring of creativity. Each project begins with a deep dive into intense conceptualization, as they meticulously explore ideas and possibilities.
“Most of the time it would just be us chatting about - hey do you think this would look good as a candle? We usually then start sketching and visualizing what the candle would look like.
Then it’s time to start digitizing the design- create a 3D version and then make a mold of it. A lot of ideas don’t actually make it through. We tend to go through a lot of iterations before finalizing a design.
Once we’re happy with how the candle looks we then start on the packaging.
We usually want the box to look like the product or something you would find in the supermarket.
Final step is taking pics! And then you’re good to launch!
I have to say that some candles happen naturally and really quickly but some other designs might take months for us to be happy with.”
The end goal at Nata is quite simple: keep making candles! The brand believes specifically in working with other small businesses, sourcing supplies ethically, and growing organically through making high-quality products that people love.
My final question for Nata: What would be your top encouragement for anyone aspiring to do something innovative and creative as a career (like you!)?
“Our top encouragement would be to not do it alone! Having a small business is hard for so many different reasons - so doing it with someone else makes it a lot easier.
Sharing different skills, having someone to share those up and down moments but also creating together.
Another piece of advice from us is - it’s difficult, but it is rewarding. Be prepared for it to take all of your time. Everyone says, ‘you are your own boss, so lucky!’
But let’s be honest we are horrible bosses to ourselves: because your standards and expectations are higher.”
Even if you are gluten-free, you absolutely need a pasta candle in your life, and I’m confident someone you love would be delighted to receive something so unique as a gift!
To support our June tastemakers:
A warm and buttery thank you to Nata Concept for their time and thoughtful insight, from all of us at Feeling! Magazine.
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