Q&A with Loren Lewin, Founder of Companion Candles

This post is part of our interview series where we interview Chisos portfolio company founders.

Today, we're talking with Loren Lewin, Founder of award-winning pet-friendly candle startup, Companion Candles.

Companion Candles is disrupting the almost $3B candle industry with their line of high-quality, toxin-free, pet-friendly candles. They truly care about the safety and wellbeing of your pets, and a portion of the profits from every candle sold goes directly to animal welfare organizations.

The industry is taking notice. Companion Candles just won KeHe's Trendfinder search, and was featured as one of the top-three women-owned brands to watch by the TODAY Show!

Get to know Companion Candles founder Loren Lewin.

  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Do you have a favorite book, movie, or podcast? Atomic Habits by James Clear
  • What song are you playing on repeat these days? Anti-Hero by Taylor Swift (who isn't??)
  • What three words or phrases would your friends use to describe you? Determined, bubbly, kind.

What problem does your business solve?

Companion Candles was created out of a love for animals and a frustration with the unregulated candle industry that is bad for you and worse for your pet. Most candles are made with petroleum, paraffins, phthalates and other harmful chemicals. Not only are these ingredients toxic when burned, they're also terrible for the environment.

So, we set out to make a completely clean candle line, with a portion of proceeds going directly to animal welfare organizations across the nation. A candle from Companion Candles is free from 250+ toxins that are bad for you, and worse for your pet.

What impact are you working to create?

I was determined to create a candle that was safe for my dog Mylo, and the 235M other people in the US that have a pet under their roof. In my research, I found out that the American Lung Association warns against burning paraffin candles, which are very harmful to pets. Guess what? The majority of candles sold in the US contain paraffin.

Our competitors have candles that use paraffin wax, are filled with unhealthy toxins to mask pet odor, are made in China, use zinc wicks, and many more harmful ingredients! The $2.8B U.S. candle market is completely unregulated. This made me determined to create a line of candles that are not only safe for you and your pets, but also give back. For every clean, cruelty-free candle purchased, we donate $1 to animal rescue organizations across the country to give back to the animals that have given us so much.

Interested in learning more? Here's a one-pager.

What is your long-term vision for your company?

We will iterate into Companion and Company, the eco-friendly home goods line that your pet approves of.

What was the moment when you knew, "I'm ready to take the plunge and pursue my idea?"

I could not find anything on the market in the candle category that were truly non-toxic to humans and pets.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known when starting your own business?

It's okay to ask for help!

How do you think about success and failure as a founder?

Every startup will experience failure in some form, whether that isn't getting a deal or investor you wanted, supply chain issues, etc. Success is pushing through those setbacks.

What is one moment from your founder journey that you're particularly proud of?

I'm proud of how I don't take "no" personally (and have even turned a few into "yes"!)

Did you receive any advice along the way that would be meaningful to share with other founders?

Overnight successes don't happen overnight.

How did funding from Chisos Capital help you grow?

Chisos has not only helped us with funding, but invaluable connections that have helped grow the business!

Connect with Loren on Instagram, and follow Companion Candles on Instagram and their website.