SETTING up your own lifestyle brand seems to be a growing trend. A good example is actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s online site, goop.com, although the first successful ones with ties to traditional and new media are Martha Stewart and Oprah Winfrey.
They both built empires shored up with magazines, coffee table books, and cable TV shows. Other women, like actresses Reese Witherspoon and Blake Lively, followed suit, but with varying degrees of success; Lively recently had to fold up her site after only less than a year.
Closer to home, a number of socialites and one fashion designer are trying their hands at building their brands, starting with small items for the home, usually paper products and poured candles in glass containers.
One of the newbies is Grace Barbers-Baja, whose Facebook and Instagram handle is #thespoiledmummy.
In June she launched a scented candle (rose, talc and basil), two room fragrances (talc and vanilla, and olive and milk), and several stationery products under the label Grace Home. A few weeks ago, she added a second candle to the mix—the vetiver, blood orange and almond variant, which comes in an amber-colored glass jar.
“The first candle was inspired by my present journey to motherhood,” she noted in a statement. “It represents who we are as women, as mothers—that we can be strong, independent and empowered while still being feminine and delicate.”
The new candle, launched in time for the holidays, is described as fresh, calming and discreetly sweet. “It’s subtler and more gentle, but definitely not any less potent than the first one.”
At the recent launch at the Kirov Showroom of The Proscenium in Rockwell Center, the venue was dotted with vignettes showing off some products from Grace Home.
All the rooms were scented with each of the products’ unique fragrances. As Baja says on her site, “It was a recap for those familiar with them, and an introduction to those encountering the Grace Home line for the first time.”
Both scented candles are made of hand-poured beeswax with essential oil, and are notable for their clean burn; they aren’t supposed to emit black smoke, unlike other candles. They are also supposed to have a high melting point, making them last longer.
Aside from the candles and room fragrances, the Grace Home line includes notebooks, notecards and coated wrapping paper. The latter comes in shades of pink, gray and white, and is sold in bundles of 12 for a limited time.
Baja, an avowed lover of sweets, timed the launch of her new candle with afternoon tea, tapping some of her favorite dessert makers.
Guests who attended the launch nibbled on sweets like the 20-Layer Mille Crepes in four flavors (Matcha Green Tea, Chocolate, Salted Butter Caramel and French Vanilla) from La Creperie; Ombre Cake and Pastel Rainbow Cake from The Sweet Life by Ange; Crupcakes from Cupcakes by Sonja; Manchego Parmigiano Reggiano Cheesecake and Strawberry Watermelon Cake from Le Petit Soufflé; Rose and Vanilla Grace Cake, and Dark Chocolate, Strawberry, and Sea Salt Monster Cookies from Scout’s Honor; Compost Cookies and Chocolate Chip Banana Leaf from The Bald Baker; Chocolate Covered Strawberries Ice Cream and Orange and Almonds Ice Cream from Fog City Creamery; and Coconut Pie from Wildflour Cafe and Bakery.
She also asked one of her favorite dessert chefs, Carmela Villegas-Agosta of Casa San Luis Pastries, as well as Erwan Heussaff of Crisp at 28th, to give a demo on how to pair desserts with cocktails.
That afternoon, Heussaff mixed and served Blood Orange Mai Tai and Pistache Nog, his take on traditional eggnog, while Villegas-Agosta prepared Citrus Fondant au Chocolat and Rose-Strawberry Fairy Cake.
Visit www.thespoiledmummy.com or gracehomemanila.com.