On Saturday, digitally-native candle brand Otherland will open its first permanent storefront as the first step in a long-term expansion plan.
Located in the SoHo neighborhood of New York, Otherland’s 800-square-foot store opens following two years of tremendous growth in the candle and home fragrance market. In May, Otherland launched its first pop-up outside of Rockefeller Center in NYC. Abigail Cook Stone, co-founder and CEO of Otherland, said the company will open future pop-ups and permanent storefronts, though she would not share firm timelines. Pop-ups will serve as a lower-cost testing mechanism for key markets like Los Angeles and Boston, before the brand expands to permanent store locations. Otherland raised $2.7 million in seed funding in 2019 and later an undisclosed amount in a Series A. Its sales have grown 250% year-over-year since 2020, said Stone.
“We see ourselves as the future of home fragrance for millennials and Gen Z. We want to be this go-to brand for a dynamic, culturally connected and community-led candle brand,” said Stone. “It comes back to seeing the candles as a consumable experience, not just a rose or grapefruit [scent].”
Indeed, Otherland is part of a class of buzzy cool-kid candle brands like Boy Smells, Snif and Literie. Unlike other candle brands with their own brick-and-mortar stores, like Diptyque, Jo Malone and the now-closed Nest fragrance store, Otherland has a maximalist approach to its products and branding. It has brightly colored glass holders and seasonal collections based on concepts like a garden party or beach club. Its price point is also lower, at $36 per candle, compared to $70 for Diptiqye and Jo Malone candles and $46 for versions by Nest.
Since 2020, candles have come to solidify themselves in the beauty and wellness aisle. In previous Glossy reporting, Stone refered to the popularity of candles during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic as “interiential,” a mash-up of “interior” and “experiential.” It is the concept of elevating everyday products, from toothpaste to home cleaning, in order to make the home more akin to a sanctuary or a destination in itself. Even celebrities have gotten behind the idea of premium candles. Otherland is sold through Nordstrom and Sephora, with its wholesale business accounting for 15% of the brand’s sales.
Reflecting the brand’s strong focus on visual design and fragrance storytelling, the store includes a gifting area, a dedicated community space to host events, and plenty of textures, colors and patterns. Otherland’s office is above the storefront, providing a closer viewpoint for testing in-store concepts and hosting events. When the brand first opened its pop-up, for example, the team found that keeping the lids on the candles often deterred consumers from smelling them. The team opted to add “try me” stickers to circumvent the issue, said Stone.
“We selected SoHo for our flagship location as it is a global shopping destination… In addition to focusing on our store in our social content to drive larger brand awareness, our events and community strategy will help to expand our reach,“ said Sayyid Markar, co-founder and COO of Otherland.