Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time again to Meet the Maker! This time, we’re getting to know Hannah Armstrong, the owner of Quiet Cricket Studio. She hand crafts sustainable, botanically-inspired goods like candles, serums, scrubs, and so much more. You can check out some of her offerings in our shop.
So, how are you doing in 2020? Both personally and professionally?
2020 has been an interesting year for sure! I’ve taken a step back to reassess and see how my business fits into a world where so many of us are struggling to cover basic needs. Where do candles and spritzers fit in when it’s hard to cover bills? What I’ve come to is that it’s incredibly therapeutic for me to both make and use my products, and hopefully it’s the same for others. I’ve moved to a Pay What You Can model to make my goods accessible to folks out of work, and my hope is that folks can create little moments of peace for themselves watching a candle flame or spritzing a mist around themselves, massaging oils into their temples and the like.
Let’s talk about your brand. What was the inspiration behind the name and the branding for Quiet Cricket Studio?
Quiet Cricket Studio is a very place-based name for me. I’m from the south where the chirping crickets and cicadas are such a signature part of the summer evenings. I started making candles when I was living in the temperate rainforest in Washington state. I still saw crickets, I just didn’t hear them! I wanted to honor both places and nature when deciding on a name for my botanical business.
So you’re definitely the first maker we’ve seen to do this. You made a candle with a biodegradable coconut husk cover. How did you even come up with this idea?
The biodegradable coconut husk was part of a special edition DeStress & Clarify candle I made for Mothers’ Day. I love creating beautiful plant based goods that are reusable, and having a lid that was biodegradable too was a no-brainer!
We’ll admit that we originally thought all soy candles had the same soy base. Why did you choose to work exclusively with 100% Midwest soy?
Soy is a wonderful alternative to petroleum, but unfortunately not all soy is great for the planet. A lot of soy is grown in swaths of the Amazon rainforest that have been clear cut for cash crops, which is not a sustainable option. Opting for soy grown in the Midwest means no rainforest was cut down for our candles, and minimizes the distance it is shipped to our door. I like to source as locally as I possibly can, and down the road I’d like to partner with Texas soy growers (but that’s a long-term goal).
You’ve mentioned that you’ve learned from botanists and holistic farmers. What are some of the most interesting things you’ve taken away from this all-natural education?
I’ve loved learning the different ways humans and plants relate to one another and how we’ve co-evolved.
Like us, you’ve recently introduced an alternative pay structure on your site. You’re now letting customers pay what they can. What was the background behind this decision?
See question 1. I’m stoked how many of us are using this model!
There’s a lot of interesting ingredients that you use! From mango butter, to arrowroot—and even mesquite. What is your process when concocting a new blend for a deodorant or candle or all of your other products?
Play! This is one area that’s a lot of fun for me. When I’m concocting a new recipe, I play with different ingredients that speak to me until I find a combination I like. There’s a lot of trial and tweaking. I research each ingredient to learn about it’s history, harvesting and processing practices. My background is in Ethnobotany, so I nerd out about each plant, and do my homework to find the healthiest sources for my products.
Seriously, does your house smell awesome—just all the time? Are you constantly burning your own candles? (I would).
It really does! I even get lots of bees inside, apparently they like the smell of all of the floral ingredients! Burning candles is part of my evening routine; I dim the lights, put on blue light glasses, and light candles as a signal to my brain that it’s time to wind down. It’s a really relaxing way to end the day and helps me get to sleep! On my days off I like to wake up with them too, and spend some time sipping coffee and reading by candlelight and the early morning sun.
Do you have any favorite makers?
Mckinley Mizar (@mckinleymizar) forges simply incredible jewelry! She’s a total badass. Rhodes Hinman (@rhodes.hinman) makes some pretty phenomenal custom wood furniture as well. I love when the objects we surround ourselves with have a story and a personal touch
What do you love most about Quiet Cricket Studio? What’s your vision for the business 5 years from now?
I love making candles and being able to work with all plant-based ingredients. I hope that in 5 years I’ll be working with hyper-local supply chains and have eliminated plastic from my packaging entirely. Working with local farmers to use heritage seeds to produce wax for candles all without shipping them is absolutely a long term goal for me. Making sustainable products means completely restructuring how we access raw materials and think about waste from the very beginning of the process.