Candlemaking company Flores Lane burned a bright light during a dark and difficult time
Let it glow.
- Written byTanya Monaghan
- Photographed byLauren Pressey
I affectionately call Trish Baden the candlestick-maker. Trish’s bubbly personality and quirky sense of humor shine through her social media posts, and when you meet her in person you just can’t help but fall in love with her.
Lauren Pressey and I arrived to photograph Trish in her element, “pouring” candles in her apartment. She bounced out to greet us at the door and led us into the building and through the door of her home. Freshly popped popcorn rested invitingly on the table, music videos were streaming on the television, and one of her wonderfully scented candles was burning.
“This is where the magic happens,” says Trish welcoming us into the back room. We felt as though we were entering another dimension of time—walking into a magician’s secret room. The rustic shelves are filled to the edges with all sorts of relics, crystals, candles, tools and a couple iconic photos of old-school hip-hop artists, of whom Trish is a huge fan.
I stood in that room for close to an hour and saw something different every time I looked up. It is a feast for the eyes.
“I had created an affordable luxury item that no one had ever done before. It was so simple.”
Trish is one of three girls born and raised by a single mom in a rural town just outside Cincinnati, Ohio. She describes her mother as a very strong woman who found herself divorced with three young children in the Midwest during the ‘90s. She decided to get her master’s degree in education so she could provide for them. She did this by working a full-time job and going to school at night, all while raising three daughters.
Her mother also somehow found the time to be their volleyball coach and Girl Scout leader. Trish looks back and doesn’t understand how she did it, because she always seemed to be there for them in all they did. Trish grew up with an incredible female role model whom she watched juggle everything effortlessly.
“She normalized being a bad-ass!” she says. “That’s why when I achieve something, I just keep going. I feel like nothing I achieve is ever going to be as amazing as what she has done.”
Trish and her sisters all have a very crafty side, which her mother has always encouraged. Trish considers herself the least creative of the lot though. It’s ironic that now both of her sisters who grew up painting are registered nurses, while she is the candlemaker.
Trish studied English literature and interactive media. Her goal was to write online via digital and social media forums. She got her first job in Madison, Wisconsin, but unfortunately got Lyme disease a couple months later from a tick bite on the side of her head.
She initially thought it was something as minor as an infected ingrown hair but started to develop a sore throat and then had a full-blown fever. She had no insurance, so for eight months she was back and forth to the ER trying to address 58 “unrelated symptoms” before finally getting a spinal tap and an accurate diagnosis.
More extremely bad luck followed when what was supposed to be a routine procedure to make a port for the antibiotic IV treatment turned into an absolute nightmare. The surgeon mistakenly cut her lung open and collapsed it. When he tried to anesthetize the other side, he mistakenly poked a needle in her other lung. Trish woke up from surgery with two collapsed lungs.
The way she explains this mistake is that the surgeon did not take into account her height (Trish is very tall), which means that her lungs are actually positioned above her clavicles. The most frustrating part was that Trish wasn’t even well enough to file a claim for malpractice because there was a 90-day time clause to file. She ended up being in intensive care for six days.
True to form, her mom came immediately to her bedside. Trish sent her home once she was lucid enough because she knew she had to work. Trish had to be on an IV for eight hours a day for two years. Her everyday life was turned upside down.
Work became increasingly difficult, and her workplace at the time was not supportive. Some of her colleagues complained that her IV was making people feel uncomfortable. Trish soon left that job to find a friendlier work environment.
How could she continue to work while dealing with this debilitating disease? “Honestly, I just wanted to feel normal,” she shares. “Showing up somewhere and having something to do was what got me through it.”
After some time her doctor suggested that Trish move to California to join a program that could better treat her. A woman working with the FDA on experimental treatments using ozone therapy—an oxygen treatment—led the program. Six months later at the prompting of her doctor, Trish decided to make the move. She found a place in L.A. on Craigslist, put in her notice, sold everything she had and left for California.
Despite appropriate treatment, some people living with this debilitating disease develop joint pains, memory problems and feel tired and severely fatigued for long periods of time. But she landed in L.A. with new hope and quickly got a job at Emser Tile close to where she lived.
She loved the work environment and, unlike her previous jobs, felt appreciated and supported. She worked directly with the owners of the company and in turn learned so much about supply chain management, which helped her immensely in the success of her own business.
Flores Lane was born to literally create light during a dark time in her life. Trish found that burning candles while she was sick soothed her. The downside was that she was spending a lot of money on them. So she figured she would take a candlemaking class to learn something useful and hopefully also make some friends. Trish giggles because she found herself the youngest in this class by at least 30 years.
She started making candles on her own and sending them to friends. She would work at Emser Tile by day and make candles by night, even though she wasn’t feeling that great. She eventually opened an Etsy shop, sold at the Melrose Trading Post and opened an LLC.
“When you are raised by someone so strong and capable, you can’t help but emulate that.”
She was selling her candles in Mason jars with handwritten labels. When they began selling out at the Melrose Trading Post, she realized she was onto something. She also feels personally responsible for the price inflation of Mason jars at Target. She jokes, “I had created an affordable luxury item that no one had ever done before. It was so simple.”
Having moved to a completely new place, Trish often found herself describing L.A. to people from out of town. Her wheels began turning.
“What if I made scents that replicated my memories or how I think it smells?” she thought. “Beverly Hills smells like hydrangeas and roses, like what you would find in a powder room on Rodeo Drive. Manhattan Beach smells like magnolia and reminds me of a lunch party that you would see on Pinterest, with a long wooden table with big flowers on it. Hermosa Beach is hibiscus and gives the feeling of warmth because the city itself is so small and intimate. Downtown L.A. is different—it’s tobacco and bayleaf, and in my head I have this picture of a man covered in grease working in an abandoned building. Redondo Beach is orange with a little bit of brown sugar; it warms up well and is vibrant and fresh. Palos Verdes is similar to Manhattan Beach but has hints of iris, which reminds me of a Kate Spade perfume I am obsessed with. I just feel like Kate Spade would have lived in Palos Verdes.”
All of Trish’s candles are made with soy wax and are named and scented according to a city or feeling. The branding is clean and simple and displays the city center’s longitude and latitude marks. The name Flores Lane comes from the name of the street where she lives and makes her candles.
Her ubiquitous candles are now found across the nation, with hopes of expanding internationally soon. Trish also does custom candles for clients for company brands, events or weddings. She may branch out into body oils next, but for now she is working on her candles full-time.
No one hustles as much as Trish does, all while managing a disease that has compromised her immune system. Her inner strength and positive outlook are amazing and inspiring. When I mention this to her, she humbly attributes all of her drive to her mother by saying, “When you are raised by someone so strong and capable, you can’t help but emulate that.”