this week I interviewed a wonderful small business: @un.known.passage !
- Tell me a little bit about how you started your business:
“Unknown Passage was born during a recent recovery period from carpal tunnel release surgery. I have suffered from carpal tunnel symptoms for over 15 years and was in severe pain for all of 2021. I finally had surgery in December of 2021 and while I was relieved to be on the healing side of things, I was out of my mind with boredom. I wasn’t able to work or create and so I made plans and researched how to start and grow a small business. I knew I wanted to offer phthalate-free candles made with soy wax. Many candle brands give me headaches and when I started doing research, all signs pointed to scents loaded with phthalates. I won’t try to explain what phthalates are, I’ll just say they’re bad news. I wanted to offer candles that were medium to heavily loaded with scent, but wouldn’t be harmful to my customers, their children, or their pets. I’m happy with the outcome and I can now burn multiple candles at once with no headaches and feel confident calling my candles headache-free.
My product rage grew quickly once I regained strength and dexterity in my hand. I began to develop eclectic earrings, bold accessories, and uncommon home goods. I launched on Groundhog’s Day this year which was just 7 weeks after my surgery. I am still adding new products monthly with no signs of slowing. The first two months have already been a rollercoaster and I can’t wait to see where this business is headed.”
2. How did you come up with your business name?
“The name comes straight from a Dead Moon song and album title, Unknown Passage. I have been greatly influenced by music since I was a kid and it’s still true today. I grew up listening to Green Day, Rancid, and The Ramones. Eventually, I graduated to Black Flag and Minor Threat and started going to local punk rock shows in the early 2000s when I was just a baby punk. That road changed my life forever and for the better. I found my place and my people. When I discovered bands like Gun Club and Dead Moon, I realized punk was a more broad term than my teenage brain could handle. Dead Moon was the ultimate ‘do it yourself’ band and when searching for a business name, I knew it had to be Dead Moon related. Unknown Passage evokes a feeling of being transported and I loved the way that played with the idea of being transported by different scents into past memories and places.”
3. What is your best selling product? Why do you think it’s so popular?
” Unknown Passage is still in its infancy, at only 8 weeks old, and many products are brand new so I don’t have a full grasp on the answer to this question yet.
That being said, Dragon’s Blood is the most popular candle scent for new customers. Sage & Rosemary is the one people keep coming back for. As far as non-candle merch – basically anything Twin Peaks related sells the best! I think that show brings us weirdos together in a really special way. I first bonded with my spouse over his Twin Peaks tattoo, and anytime anyone recognizes mine it’s instantly a warm feeling knowing all of us weirdo kids are connected.”
4. How do you come up with your selection of smells for your candles?
“I think scent is super personal, and most people know exactly what they like. I choose scents based on my preferences and life experiences. I worked in a record store for a few years in my early 20s and the constant incense smell has influenced my scent preferences greatly. I love musky and earthy scents because of this. I have also been a cook since I was a teenager and certainly love all the herbaceous and bright citrus scents thanks to this. Scent is highly tied to memories, so scents like Vine Ripe Tomato can transport you to your grandmother’s garden or Fresh Cut Grass can remind you of being a kid before the responsibility was yours.”
5. What Twin Peaks character do you mostly relate to the most and why?
“This question is so tough! I think in my early years I was definitely an Audrey. Mischievous, determined to get what I want, and a total sexpot.
Nowadays, I’m more of a Norma in The Return. A business owner that’s happily married to their hunk. One of the great things about Twin Peaks is how much you can find a little of yourself in every character.”
6. Do you have any exciting news or events that you would like to share?
“I’ve just launched the wholesale side of my business which is super exciting! It’s been a dream of mine to walk into a shop and see something I’ve made, so to finally get the ball rolling on this feels amazing.
Also, on April 1st I’m releasing the “Movie Time” collection! I selected 30 Horror, Sci-Fi, and Cult Classic movie titles and turned them into miniature VHS. There will be an option for pins, magnets, and earrings. Plus an option for custom titles! I’m also making some popcorn bucket pins to go along with the tapes, because how serious are you about a movie if you don’t have popcorn?”
If you like more information about Angel and the store. The following contact information is below:
Wholesale Inquires: contactunknownpassage
Thank you so much for the interview!!!
Until next time!