Meet Literie: The Cute And Affordable Candle Line That Will Melt Your Heart
The pandemic has seen the rise of a number of trends in fashion and homeware, one of them being the never-before-seen popularity of scented candles. According to the Global Scented Candles Market Research Report, the global scented candles market size is estimated to reach USD 4.22 billion and record a compound annual growth rate of 5.80% by the end of 2024. That is a lot of candles.
There are no shortage of products in this competitive market: from super brands like Louise Vuitton to supermarkets, everyone wants a share of the pie. However when Literie, a dainty new player in the scented candle business, launched its first range of products on March 22, it quickly won many hearts with its incredibly endearing concept and affordable price tag.
Literie’s was a baby of the pandemic. Its founder, Erica Werber, a born and bred New Yorker, has fond memories of her father buying hot honest roasted nuts from the ubiquitous carts and missed that sweet smell during lockdown. This nostalgia, combined with annoyance over proclamations that New York was “over”, triggered other favorite perfumes of the city like the flower markets, the grass of Central Park and her favorite juice shop — and Literie was born. I couldn’t wait to sit down with Werber to learn more.
Angela Lei: Erica, what is the inspiration behind your brand?
Erica Werber: My family has strong ties to New York City. My parents were born in Brooklyn while I was born in Manhattan and spent my early childhood years on Staten Island. My husband lived in Queens and we married in Battery Park. We live on the upper west side and our kids go to school in the Bronx. I consider myself the ultimate New Yorker as my life circled all five boroughs. When I started developing this candle line, I reflected on the unique places and scents that I associate with being a New Yorker and those became the core scents of the candle line.
AL: How did your background come into establishing this brand? How did you come up with the name Literie?
EW: I have been a marketing and licensing professional for 20 years. As I am a partner at a branding agency called Brand Atelier, I recognized the white space for these candles for consumers and retail buyers alike. Literie is unique because there is no other candle line on the market that captures these quintessential scents of New York City. The candles are made from a soy and coconut blend and the product is 100% made in the USA. The scents were curated specifically to match the experiences that all New Yorkers have longed for during the last year.
My visual and creative partner, Kasey Bohnert, and I are former colleagues who used to work on Lacoste’s line of home goods, and Literie means bedding in French. When we realized the first four letters spelled “lite”, we were sold.
AL: What’s your favourite place/memory of New York? What’s your top picks in your range of candles?
EW: My favorite memory of New York will always be running the New York City marathon. As this is such a personal journey that inspires a feeling of pride, accomplishment, and community, we plan to launch a candle this fall to pay homage to this annual event. My favorite candle right now is the 28th Street Flower Market. I gravitate towards floral, fresh scents that are subtle and do not emote overly aromatic notes.
AL: Was it challenging establishing your own brand during a pandemic? What’s the best thing about establishing your own brand?
EW: Starting Literie had its own unique challenges including doubts about whether this would resonate with a consumer. But once NYC was hit by the pandemic and I saw the desolation of the city, I knew that I wanted to move forward with something that will remind us all about the New York that we love.
The pandemic afforded me the time to develop the concepts and put to fruition our vision. One of the biggest challenges was sourcing materials and we even faced a glass shortage.
The most rewarding aspect of establishing this brand over the past year was having my kids watch me develop this brand at our kitchen table while they were zooming into school or doing their homework. They experienced the excitement, fear, struggle, triumphs, and setbacks that occurred each day. That taught them grit, tenacity, optimism and belief that obstacles can be overcome.
AL: I hear there is an exciting launch of new scent on April Fool’s Day?
EW: After NYC endured a long year of tragedy, the city could use a little humor and New Yorkers can reminisce about the things we do not miss. Let’s face it, you can’t talk about the smells of New York without acknowledging some of the less pleasant ones. For April Fool’s day, we are promoting the Summer in the Subway candle. We shot some fun photography that highlights the experience of commuting on a sweaty, hot summer day. Once people go to purchase the candle, they will be redirected to support New York Cares, the largest volunteer network in NYC that is working to help the city recover (AL note: the customer will then get a surprise candle from Literie’s regular collection).
AL: What’s in store for Literie in 2021?
EW: We will have three more scents launching in the fall (I Ran The New York City Marathon, Brunch in the West Village, and I Have a Cabin in Upstate New York). In 2022, we also plan to launch our Miami and Los Angeles collections.