photo (c) B. Zietz, candle photos (c) Jay Stern
I love women who are confident and cool stoners. Not just because I am also of that ilk but because I have found among my fellow lady tokers some insanely smart and dynamically creative bad-ass broads. And chief among this coven is Bekah Zietz. By day, she does publicity for Sub Pop Records and by night she is the proprietress of The Dank Crystal, where she makes handmade soy-based candles that smell like amazing heaven and burn down to contain a wee magical crystal. And they are genuinely effective in covering up the dankest of dank smells (trust me, I get high eeeeeeryday!). Bekah is hilarious, rad as hell, and I will openly admit that before I even met her I was fully girl crushed out on her, just from everyone telling me how cool she is. They were correct. We finally got to hang out, buy some joints (what up, Space Queen?!?!?), and drink some drinks. It was everything I’d hoped it would be.
On America’s Birthday, July 4th, at a friend’s BBQ a discussion about the legalization of Marijuana in Washington sparked an idea: hipster boutique’s need marijuana licenses so customers can buy Pendleton blankets, marijuana, hand thrown pottery, various forms of taxidermy and of course candles all in one spot. After annoyingly listening to several folks throw out names that were totally bogus, The Dank Crystal, was uttered. It is unclear by who, but was known by all immediately was that this was it.
It was all a dream, until legendary Seattle impresario, Zach Bolton, and his girlfriend Julie of Porchlight Coffee took me under their wick and taught me the craft of candle making. Once I produced my first hand poured candle I was hooked, and since that day I have continued to hone my craft and constantly improve the candle experience for hipsters everywhere.
How do you produce the candles? Do you try to kind of funnel a certain energy into the candles and the crystals?
I’m always striving to infuse a positive outlook on life into all that I do. The music I listen to while I’m pouring plays a big part of the process for me. I will set up all of the supplies in my kitchen, turn on some tunes, and I do a little dance to start the process of putting positive vibes into each and every candle. Like any process, the basics of making the candles is simple, but the real skill and technique come into play with the pouring and cooling process. As the candles are cooling I like to imagine someone enjoying each candle in their own special way, and when I package them I like to add a final push of positive vibes into each one.
The candles are certainly excellent for covering up certain “dank” smells. I’m talking about weed. Was that intentional?
The Dank Crystal was indeed initially developed to cover up “them dank vibes” aka marijuana, However, as we have continued to grow & grow up we have found that they really are for anywhere. In my research, we have found that it really bums you out when you buy a new candle and once you light it up it does not smell at all, and I have focused on making sure that our scents are rad, not overpowering, and add to a great overall ambiance.
It was a combination of nature and my love of music that pulled me out to the Pacific Northwest, so my “dank” places tend to be a mix of both. Lake Serene, Rattle Snake Lake, Twin Falls, Sonic Boom, Wall of Sound and Light in the Attic’s Record stores are a few of my most coveted dank spots in the PNW.
How has your side business crossed over with your day job at Sub Pop?
Sub Pop has been incredibly supportive of me not only as an employee but as a small business owner, being one of my first vendors to carry The Dank Crystal in the Sub Pop Airport store at SeaTac International Airport. It’s pretty surreal to go through security and see something you’ve handmade available for sale. My co-workers, friends, and bands that I work with have all played a huge part in helping spread the word of The Dank Crystal too. Creating partnerships with bands on the roster such as King Tuff and Protomartyr on Hardly Art.
You have an Etsy store. Has that been working out for you? Are there places around town where you sell your candles as well?
Etsy has been a great resource to connect directly with consumers. What started off as an easy way to sell candles to my friends across the country and globe, has grown into consistent online orders from people across the country.
In addition to selling my candles via Etsy and the Sub Pop Airport Store, The Dank Crystal is available at Ghost Gallery in Capitol Hill, Bon Voyage Vintage in Pioneer Square, Schmancy Toys in downtown Seattle, Beats and Boho’s on Phinney Ridge and Harmony Society in Carlisle, PA. The Dank Crystal was also a part of Skymall and Rose Gold pop-up stores and were placed backstage at this year’s Sasquatch Music Festival.
Making candles with crystals in them is some witchy business. Do you feel like there’s some magic in your life?
As a stoner (yes, I’ll admit it) there’s magic in everything, that’s at least what Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle taught me, but I think life’s magic is what you put into it. I purify the crystals so you can infuse whatever intentions you want into the candles or just have a sweet memento once the candle is fully burned down. I’ll let you choose your own adventure.
How do you select what scents you make and what crystals you put into the candles?
It’s been a very organic process thus far, sniffing on a combination of scents until I’m happy with a combination and sourcing crystals from various vendors. I love when people describe what the smell reminds them of as each scent evokes a different memory or feeling.
Has running your own side business given you any insight into being a boss that you’d care to share?
Unfortunately, I don’t have much insight to share on being “a boss” but will say that It took me a while to be able to build up a “candle confidence” and promote my company in a healthy way without undermining what I was doing. For my day job, I’m a publicist so I’m constantly promoting and pushing other people’s art. It’s been a very interesting, personally challenging test to push myself out of my comfort level and promote myself. I tend to have a “BRING IT ON” outlook and thrive in the confines of self-discovery, so this has been a welcomed challenge.
What’s your favorite thing to do while burning a Dank Crystal candle?
Get stoned, listen to music, watch baseball, eat goldfish crackers, watch Broad City! Make the world your Dank Crystal.