Some 50 employees of the 114 at Minneapolis-based ILLUME begin their work week with yoga Mondays, an opportunity to help everyone focus on finding their inner Zen and ensure the company collectively starts the day off on the right foot. What might seem like an exceptional amount of thoughtfulness on behalf of management is in fact quintessentially ILLUME. The 20 year-old fragrance manufacturer is dedicated to maintaining their identity as a forward-thinking group of artisans who seek to bring unique scents (in beautiful ways) into the lives of its customers. With this unique perspective, it’s no wonder they’ve developed long-lasting partnerships with retailers like Anthropologie, West Elm, and Target, to name a few. Here, we sit down with the ILLUME team to learn about their culture, mission, and how they envision their future.
Describe ILLUME’s special view on collaboration.
Our approach to team building is what makes our products unique. We are able to recognize each other’s distinctive talents, respect what she or he knows, enable one another to grow, and create an environment for all of us to flourish in. We work as a whole, but this understanding of what each person contributes is what makes ILLUME a success and is evident in everything we make: it’s Gen’s nose, Taisha’s hand painting, April’s vision, Sarah’s attention to detail, and Todd’s love of science… and the list goes on.
As you have grown, how have you managed to stick to this creative vision?
We have grown to a mid-sized company, but we are still the same people as the day when it all started. Some of us have been here since the beginning, some are new, but we all have one thing in common: we love when curiosity gets the best of us. It makes us think bigger. We are travelers and seekers who study culture and color. We let trends play with our instincts to create one-of-a-kind fragrances and beautiful designs. And while we do take our life’s work seriously, we’re also downright nice. It’s a Midwestern thing.
What is ILLUME’s mission?
What we create are the experiences of people’s lives. Our products need to connect and give meaning. Our craft is a mix of inspired elements—the scent, the style, the colors, and designs. And we infuse awless standards in every product. You might say we are refreshingly compulsive (and we love that).
Share some fun facts about ILLUME with us.
Each of our pillar candles is hand poured from real tea kettles. Our fragrances are a mix of natural scents and essential oils, blended throughout the entire candle, so it fills a room with a generous scent. We have a Burn Room where we test burn all our candles, twice! Our artists hand paint on a daily basis, are well versed in calligraphy, and look to nature, art, and culture for inspiration. We have two buildings on our campus: the Studio (where product development, sourcing, marketing and creative are) and our HQ/production facility. We ride a green beach cruiser between them for fresh wind in our hair (but not so much in the winter!).
What’s next for ILLUME?
The future of ILLUME is to do what we do best: innovate through fragrance and design. Where that will take us in five or 20 years is up to how consumers evolve with scent, but our goal will remain simple—to continuously make really beautiful things.
Learn more about ILLUME and their products at illumecandles.com and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @illumecandles
Vist Goor Studio at goorstudio.com, @goorstudio (Instagram) and Goor Studio (Facebook).