Candles are… Practical. Sensory. Fanciful. Romantic. Celebratory. Cozy. The perfect lighting for a photograph. A major player in making a space feel hygge.
As Buddha once said:
“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the single candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
Cocktails are… Practical (they are, I promise). Sensory. Fanciful. Romantic. Celebratory. Tasty. Fun to photograph in the perfect lighting. And, in my view, another player in creating some hygge – because cocktails are best enjoyed in good company.
When I stumbled upon Vancouver based French Seventy Six, a dream I hadn’t realized I’d had came true: locally made soy wax luxury candles that are inspired by their champagne cocktail namesakes. Who doesn’t want a little champagne inspired living?? The candles are the French 76, Blackberry Fizz, and the Bees Knees; all of which make you want to smell the candles with their respective cocktails in your hand! They are also beautifully packaged and come with the recipes for said drinks.
I couldn’t make it to their debut at a recent Vancity Business Babes event, but got in touch with co-owners and sisters-in-law Britt and Keirstin Feltan a) to purchase a Bees Knees candle (it smells fab and looks so pretty on our mantle!); and b) to do a City Girl Connects interview as I love what they are doing, not just as #westcoastcitygirl entrepreneurs, but because I love hearing about people following their passions. There’s also a Bees Knees cocktail recipe at the end of this post!
WCCG: We will start with the difficult question: do you each have a favourite of the candles, or is it just too hard to choose? (Mine is the Bees Knees!)
F76: It’s definitely tough to choose a favourite! Each of our candles are inspired by some of our favourite Champagne cocktails and too be honest they are equally as delicious cocktails as they they are fragrant candles. BUT if we had to choose…Keirstin’s fave would be The French 76 and Britt’s the Blackberry Fizz.
WCCG: What sparked the idea for French Seventy Six?
F76: We love to be surrounded by beautiful fragrances, luxe details and chic packaging. One girl’s night (while sipping on French 76’s) we casually played around with the idea of combining our two favourites things, candles and cocktails. Fast forward almost two years, French Seventy Six is now a brand and product we are proud to share! Our passion for fine details and delicious cocktails definitely inspired our vision for it.
WCCG: As entrepreneurs in Vancouver, how has the journey been so far with a start-up company and what advice would you give someone looking to make a go of their side hustle?
F76: To go from an idea to a product takes a lot of blood, sweat and (many tears!) While it’s been an amazing journey with lots of learning along the way, it can be challenging to find the balance of entrepreneurship and the full-time 9-5 (Keirstin is a court reporter and Britt is a recruiter.) Both of us were missing the creative aspect in our 9-5, so we love being able to put our creative energy into French Seventy Six. I think that’s our advice for budding entrepreneurs, finding things you’re passionate about because it definitely makes the challenging times easier…and more enjoyable. Also, don’t be afraid to take risks!
WCCG: The French Seventy Six hashtag of #champagneinspiredliving is one that resonates with me both in my life and as a consumer. What influenced this tag and what does it mean to you?
F76: Again, we are obsessed with fine details and love to surround ourselves with beautiful pieces. The hashtag #champagneinspiredliving evolved from the idea that we want French Seventy Six to encompass more than candles, we want it to be a lifestyle that resonates with people. #champagneinspiredliving means you appreciate fine details, enjoy life’s little luxuries and surround yourself with people and things that make you feel special and happy. Champagne is also associated with celebration and we believe that everyday tasks and moments can feel celebratory.
WCCG: This sounds a lot like hygge, a Danish concept that I’ve been exploring, which is essentially about being cozy and living well. Candles a huge part of hygge as they provide ideal lighting for relaxing by yourself or in good company (and in my opinion for gorgeous photos). How important to do you feel candles are to atmosphere in a home or restaurant?
F76: We definitely agree with you! Candles and scents play a huge part in creating a luxurious, warm and inviting atmosphere. We love that French Seventy Six candles are soy wax based, because they burn cleaner and longer than other candles on the market. The warm glow of a our candle creates a warm, inviting space and the luxurious scents and packaging adds a touch of elegance to a home.
‘Tis the Season Tip – Keirstin and Britt recommend cutting a candle wick to 1/4″ before each burn. This will allow the candle to burn evenly and prevent tunneling.
WCCG: Speaking of hygge and coziness, what makes you feel cozy wherever you are?
F76: Both of us often get cold so we love curling up with a cozy blanket or if we’re travelling, a blanket scarf! Having a soft and warm item immediately makes you feel cozy regardless of where you are.
WCCG: What is your favourite cocktail?
F76: We both love tart cocktails, so we’re huge fans of French 76’s! We appreciate Gin based cocktails and love when they have some type of fresh herb.
WCCG: All you want for Christmas is…?
F76: Champagne? Who doesn’t love a good bottle of bubbly!
‘Tis the Season Tip – Candles make an excellent hostess/host gift for all those holiday parties and dinners you are attending!
French Seventy Six’s luxurious candles can be purchased in the Lower Mainland by visiting FrenchSeventySix.com or emailing here, or you can buy them at Bella & Wren in Fort Langley. They often do pop up shops and more info on those can be found here.
One of those pop-ups will be at the Vancity Business Babes Christmas Party on December 12th! I’m planning on being there and perhaps we can all toast the holidays with a glass of bubbly!
Speaking of bubbly… Here is the recipe for The Bees Knees!
The Bees Knees Cocktail Recipe from FrenchSeventySix.com
- 2 oz. Gin
- 1 oz. Honey Simple Syrup (Easy how-to can be found here!)
- 2 oz. Freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Fresh or dried lavender
- A bottle of your favourite bubbly
Method: Pour over ice in a cocktail shaker, shake well and strain into a cocktail glass. Top with your favourite bubbly and garnish with lavender.
(I pulled my cocktail set out of the glass cabinet last night and shook up a couple of post-dinner Bees Knees for the Brit and I. They were incredibly tasty, but in my enjoyment of the lavender scented honey-lemon-bubbly goodness, I forgot to take a photo! Epic fail. Making these again tonight to remedy the lack of photo. Oh, the hardship. 😂 But the F76 gals saved me with the beautiful photo shown below.)
A big thank you to Britt and Keirstin for sharing their story and time with me!
“A cocktail done right can really show your guests that you care.”
~ Danny Meyer