Wick and Pour Offers a Scentsational Experience

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As we cap off a dark year, a new business hopes to bring a bit of hope and light. The only one in New York City, Wick and Pour has brought the experience of candle making right to Rockaway. A pre-launch event on December 5 shed some light on what’s to come for this brand-new studio offering a unique opportunity.

On Saturday, December 5, Wick and Pour, located in a brand-new studio space on the second floor of 88-08 Rockaway Beach Blvd., opened its doors to the community, giving a few lucky participants the chance to preview the scentsational experience of pouring their own candles to take home. This successful pre-launch event was complemented by catered food from Cuisine by Claudette, live music by Greg Ruby and a selection of wines from Ship to Shore Wine Store, so guests could “get lit” while creating candles.

Jess Wu and Steve Kanemori, self-described “wax manipulators,” are the brains behind this new interactive business, but these partners have long been invested in the art of candle making. Wu and Kanemori started making candles in their homes to give as gifts. “It started out as more of a hobby. I found it relaxing, and I didn’t want to have to spend a lot on Yankee Candles and other name brands. I thought, why not just do it myself?” Kanemori said.

Little did he know that candle-making was in his blood. “I later found out that my great grandfather was a candle maker in Japan,” he said. As Wu and Kanemori developed their skill, they started to give their hobby more purpose. “I made candles based off my favorite books and my friends loved them. I put them online and instantly sales started coming in and it hasn’t stopped since then,” Wu said. Their book-themed candle business, Wick and Fable, was born in 2016.

The booming success of Wick and Fable necessitated a move from a living-room based business to a workshop. Wu and Kanemori built up Wick and Fable in a warehouse in Inwood, but after living in Rockaway for five years, they wanted something a little closer to home. The perfect opportunity opened up with the revitalization of the Wave Building. Wu and Kanemori weren’t considering starting a candle lab when looking for a local space to grow their business, but the large studio space with floor-to-ceiling windows shed light on a chance to kickstart another dream.

“We were just looking for a place to make candles and ship orders out, but I saw the windows of the space and it really caught my eye. I had to come back the next day and decided on the spot that we would take the front space. The whole candle making lab had been on the back of my mind, but because Wick and Fable has been so busy, we hadn’t been able to catch up. But we saw this space and thought, this is what we needed to do. It’s 2020 and this year has been crazy, and I thought, I’m just going to do it,” Wu said.

Wu and Kanemori signed their lease in October and had been using the space solely for Wick and Fable candle production until they decided in late November to pursue the candle lab business. Just five days ahead of their pre-launch event, they built out the space to suit the needs for Wick and Pour.

On Saturday, during a Covid-safe event, guests got to experience the art of candle making for the first time in Rockaway. Wick and Pour offers a personalized experience, allowing guests to choose from more than 20 scents made up of fragrance oils and essential oils. From seasonal selections to locally inspired choices, guests had the opportunity to smell each scent and choose which one they wanted to include in their candle. The most popular choice of the day? Rockaway Beach—a mix of ocean breezes, sea salt and crisp ozone.

After selecting a scent, guests chose which colored vessel they wanted for their 11oz candle. Then a friendly assistant walked each guest through the steps, from measuring out the perfect amount of melted wax and scented oil, to placing the wicks in the vessel and decorating the interior of the candle with dried flowers for an extra splash of color. Guests then indulged in food and drinks and took photos at Wick and Pour’s Instagram-worthy selfie station as they waited 30 minutes for their creation to settle and be ready to take home.

Kanemori says being able to share the experience of candle making gives guests a sense of accomplishment. “The thing that gets me is seeing how much everyone enjoyed it. They’re able to step away from everything and enjoy their moment and leave with a beautiful finished product, something they did on their own that serves as proof of what they accomplished,” he said.

The owners say Saturday’s pre-launch went above and beyond their expectations. “I still feel overwhelmed,” Wu said. “I’m just completely blown away by how supportive everyone was. I really wasn’t expecting that. I thought people might come for the food and wine as an incentive, but everyone came out for the experience and we got a lot of good feedback.”

With the pandemic in mind, the owners were planning to officially open in the spring, but the overwhelming support from their landlords, neighbors and guests has them considering officially launching Wick and Pour sooner and another pre-launch event is already in the works. They plan to host a holiday event on December 18 and 19, and they’re already booking private parties for businesses looking for team building events to bachelorette and bridal showers and beyond.

With each event, the owners will be picking up tips on how to make an already-awesome experience even better, and they already have some ideas in mind. From more scents and vessel options, to another selfie station and seeking a liquor license to offer beverage selections for people to get lit while they pour, Wick and Pour is just getting started and will grow and mold this new experience as it sets aglow.

“Now more than ever, we all need a little bit of hope and light, so we hope that we can bring some of that to the community during these uncertain times,” Kanemori said.

For more information on future events, head to WickandPour.com or follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can also check out their selection of book-themed candles and merch at www.WickandFable.com 

Photos by Clifford Toy.
By Katie McFadden 

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