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Friday, April 11, 2014

Designer Highlight: 2550°

Posted by Katie Guinn on Fri, Apr 11, 2014 at 8:59 AM

Usually it’s the fall season that inspires us to seek out the best smelling candles to fill our newly closed-up homes with the scents of essential oils. Personally, I’m a year ‘round candle burner and although I have my favorites, including blood orange and sandalwood, I am constantly sticking my nose in candles looking for more intriguing combinations to add to my home or share as gifts. I recently discovered a candle maker here in Portland that I hadn't yet experienced: The brand is 2550°, and the maker behind these unique and clever combinations is Jason Linscott. You may already be familiar, but because we’re so fascinated with creative people who have that something special, we wanted to learn more.

One thing I noticed while checking out the 2550° website is Linscott's list of stockists—not only are his modern candles up for grabs at our own boutiques, but in cities like Austin, LA, and Korea! The packaging shows an acute attention to detail, from the logo design itself to the wooden lids that lend a rugged appeal. Each scent has a vivid colored sticker along with its well thought-out name, all of which are men's. We just had to learn more.

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We just had to learn more.

Mercury: How did the inspiration for these candles come about? Have you always been a creative person/maker? In other words, what's your story?

Jason: My background is in Design and Visual Merchandising, so I've always had a creative mind. Designing, illustrating, building things; my mind is always coming up with ideas and working through solutions. I've worked in the fashion and cosmetics industry on the corporate side, so I had great insight into the personal care category and into product development, marketing, etc., all of which aided me with the nitty gritty details of the line.

I had always enjoyed the warmth and intimacy that candles bring to a home, and scented candles are a great way to liven up a space and make it more personal. But I was having difficulty finding something unique, more masculine, and that didn't fall into a one-note scent profile. I remember becoming frustrated and dreaming up what my perfect candle would smell like. I eventually came upon the concept of a home fragrance that would mimic scent aspects associated with an individual's personality, and feature more of a layered, rounded profile. The first scent, "Joe," evolved from that initial concept. A smoldering campfire, a leather jacket, a slug of whiskey; scent aspects that could be folded together to create a kind of "home cologne." The subsequent scents carry through with that theme.

What is the significance behind the 2550 degree name?

Good question! 2550° is the maximum temperature of a candle flame (which kind of blew my mind when I was researching and ultimately stuck with me).

What's the process for getting your candles in stores worldwide? Do you travel to these cities or send them samples?

Both! I try to get out as much as possible and see the stores for myself. My product is unique and does best in a unique environment where it can shine, so when I'm out and about I look for locations where it will both be a good fit and the customer base would appreciate it. I'm so grateful to have the opportunity for the line to be carried in some of the best boutiques both here and overseas. I've been lucky enough that many of my stockists have sought me out as well. In that sense, there's a good deal of word-of-mouth that helps me getting them out to the world.

What is your biggest challenge as a maker?

There are many. It's not an easy endeavor. I'm in awe of the community of artisans we have in Portland who come up with a concept and "make it happen," because it's a herculean task, and I think everybody who has a unique product and wants to make a livelihood making it shares that opinion. As a business owner you have to juggle dozens of responsibilities, and you quickly find out the "making" is just one of many.

Do you have any events coming up? What can we expect from you in the future?

I'm working on several fun collaborations with some talented folks both locally and out of town; one of the most exciting projects is a pop-up for the next holiday I'm working on with my friend Heather Sielaff over at Olo Fragrance. We've worked together on a couple collabs in the past, and she's just secured a cool permanent space that we'll transform over the holidays. I'm also working through some fun new additions to the line, which will appear next Fall.

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Jason in his studio
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  • Jason in his studio

Linscott and Sielaff have worked on two scents so far: Gift sets that include an existing fragrance from her line, called Cedar Rose, and one they created together called Wyeth, which she has subsequently launched as a stand-alone and which he's working up as well. Each candle has a very layered and unique scent, and it really requires more than one sniff to understand the depth. You might expect "rolled cigarette" to smell like an ashtray; but on the contrary, fresh tobacco is actually quite nice, and while burning through a candle, that freshness remains. If you haven't experienced these intriguing and beautifully packaged and presented candles, put it on your to-do list. Find them at Beam and Anchor on N Interstate, which also has a dedicated space for Olo.

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