We had the good fortune of connecting with Giselle Tomlinson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Giselle, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
You know, it’s funny I didn’t really see it as a choice, but more like a calling. Naturally, I am very creative and have always wanted to do something artsy and out of the box. I’ve always painted and took all the art classes you can imagine while in school, but I never would have imagined candles. It was one day where I was watching TV with my family that I saw a candle commercial and I said to myself, “you know I could probably do that.” So I did. Creativity is my from of expression and it shows in the candles I make, no two are the same. Each one is handmade and I want the people getting the candles to feel unique, to know that each candle is made from the heart.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
It all started in the beginning of the pandemic, I wanted to keep doing art but couldn’t figure out how to set myself part from the rest of the artists in the world. I knew that I had creativity under my belt, but what could I do with it. Like I talked about earlier, I have always found creativity to be my biggest and favorite form of expression. Since I was a child, art was my favorite subject, extra curriculums were arts or art studies and hobbies were always to paint or journal. I still wanted to be different, so one day after watching a commercial on candles I told myself it was time to try something new. I went ahead and bought enough supplies to make 5 or 6 candles and got going. The first one turned out okay, but I didn’t stop there. I did more research and eventually one turned out perfect. Took me six months to build up the courage to start selling them and when I did they sold out quickly. I like to add a flare to my candles to set them apart by having handwritten labels, different shaped jars and cute names such as one of my best sellers, Lilac Dreams. Regardless or how perfect I thought they were, eventually I was confronted with some challenges. I am most proud of how I have handled these challenges because they have been the opposite of fun. I overcame most of them with passion and consistency. I love making candles but what I love most is how happy the customers are when they receive theirs. The challenges I have faced and the lessons behind them are what make my work so much better, without them I don’t think I could be where I am at today. They make me who I am, and people enjoy the aroma therapy. The biggest lesson I have learned is to keep going, regardless of the challenges, nothing comes easy, but the reward is so much nicer. There is something special about the way a candle makes you feel on the inside and how it (literally) warms up your home.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Hmm.. first of all, I live in the midwest in good ole Madison, WI. So let me paint you a picture, let’s say my best friend is visiting in the summer (since it is my favorite season). They’re hungry, I take them down to State Street which is right next to the capitol. I take them to a cute little spot called Paul’s Pel’meni where they serve Russian beef and potato filled Pel’meni which is like a Russian dumpling for those of you who are wondering. After, we take a stroll through downtown, where you can find cozy shops and small book stores, can grab an iced tea to beat the heat, then head down to the Union. The Memorial Union is right off the shore of Lake Mendota and they have the iconic chairs that are all sorts of colors, a trademark of the Wisconsin Union and a symbol of summer. You can be there to watch the sunset while sipping on your favorite local beer (if you’re 21 of course) or have a quick bite to eat. Next couple of days we can hit up the local bars, which are a staple here in Wisconsin, and when in Wisconsin you HAVE to try the local beers, it’s only right. Obviously we would have to go get ice cream in the dairy state. We would go to Babcock Dairy store in the heart of UW- Madison to get ice cream that is made right in house with the cows that are on campus as well. It is so creamy and probably the best ice cream you will ever taste. Around here the best places to check out are all outdoors. We have a state park named Devils Lake and people go there to hike all the way to the top of the cliff and it is the most beautiful view. You can kayak in Lake Mendota. One of my favorite spots here would be Olbrich Gardens, it is an indoor and outdoor botanical garden and it is so beautiful in the summer, there are fancy sculptures from different cultures and the flowers and plants are breathtaking. Last but definitely not least, and it is up there with Olbrich is the Arboretum. The Arboretum is a teaching and research site for UW-Madison and is the site of historic research in ecological restoration. In the summer you can go and walk all around the park, seeing a variety of trees, plants, flowers and if you’re lucky all sorts of wildlife. It maintains more than 17 miles of trails through restored prairies, savannas, woodlands and wetlands. You can have so much fun here, especially if you choose the right tour guide to lead you.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Oh my, there are quite a few people I want to thank and dedicate my shoutout to. For starters, my mother, she was the first person to tell me that whatever I wanted to do, to pursue it with all my heart and she would be right by me supporting. She is the most understanding and truly my biggest fan. The second person that deserves a thanks is one of my close friends, Tony. If it weren’t for him I wouldn’t be doing this interview today, he is always bringing my name up in places where he can see me grow and giving me opportunities I wouldn’t have gotten. Lastly, my friends. My friends have been there from the start, buying my art and spreading the word on it, even if it was something new or different they would support it regardless and for that I am eternally grateful.