On this episode of Makers of Minnesota, I interview Jessica Berglin, the founder of Flicker and Fizz. This candle-making company specializes in vintage glassware candles and cocktail pairings. Jessica shares her journey from hosting themed birthday parties to creating a successful business with the help of her passion for creative entrepreneurship. Listeners will learn about the different types of vintage glassware Jessica collects and her techniques for creating seasonal scents and cocktail pairings. Tune in to hear about how Flicker and Fizz is revolutionizing the candle industry with their unique products.
SHOW TRANSCRIPT FOLLOWS:
Hello, everybody, and welcome to the Makers of Minnesota podcast, where we talk to cool people doing cool things. I first ran across Jess Berglin when I was at a festival outside side of Able Brewing, and right away I noticed these cool vintage glasses, and they were filled with different types of candles. And I was quick to discover that Flicker and Fizz is not only a candle maker but a fellow cocktail lover. Welcome to the program.
Jessica Berglin [00:00:46]:
Thank you. Thank you for having me. It’s great to be here.
Yeah. Jess, this is a really cute and clever idea. So tell me how you got started.
Jessica Berglin [00:00:55]:
Yeah, so I think I have to start with my love of vintage glassware. I have been shopping for it, sourcing it, obsessing over it for years. And I joke with a lot of my friends because every time I go thrifting or antiquing, I’m like, I found these. Do you like them? Do you want them? I just need a reason to buy it, just because it satisfies this thing inside of me, for sure. And for myself, I usually buy it for theme parties that I throw, so I’m always looking for really unique glasses to fit the theme that I want to entertain around. And then I kind of realized that they could become these really cool candle vessels and that the cocktail pairing side of it really creates this neat, kind of at home curated experience for people to enjoy. And it’s kind of my way of bundling this passion for theme parties into a concise gift, I guess, for lack of better term.
You sound pretty fun, so let’s just start there. What kind of themed parties are you having and why? Just for fun.
Jessica Berglin [00:02:17]:
So every year on my birthday, I throw myself a wild themed birthday bash. So my birthday is February 1, and the only reason that that is important is that there is nothing else to look forward to in Minnesota, that time of year, it’s like holidays are over, new Year’s is coming, gone. You’re a month into your New Year’s resolution, nights are long, and you just need a reason to get out and gather in a fun and creative way. And it’s something let’s see, how many years have I been doing this now? 13, I think. Okay, yeah, I just turned 37 this year, and I think I started with my either 23rd or 24th birthday. And, yeah, it’s just all of my friends now have just become gung ho over kind of picking out their ensembles, and none of them even dress up for Halloween. It’s like, no, we don’t do Halloween, but Jess’s birthday, we’ll go all out.
Is it always like, a vintage theme?
Jessica Berglin [00:03:28]:
Not necessarily. So this past year, I called it my art party, so everyone had to dress up as, like, a famous work of art or artist or something along those lines. For the glassware side of it, I had all these little vignettes and then the themed drinks to go with them. A lot of them were champagne based, so I kind of had done all my really cute turn of the century etched coops and colored ones. I actually these, like, blue, iridescent ones. Oh, yeah. Kind of really cool. So, yeah, I love that it kind of just runs the gamut of whatever I can find and however I can bring life to it.
Okay, so you buy this vintage glass, and then you make a candle, and you pair it with a cocktail. So is the candle smelling like the cocktail?
Jessica Berglin [00:04:29]:
Jessica Berglin [00:04:31]:
No. So I like to tell people that the pairing is more so meant to create a certain vibe or ambiance versus, like, this is an old fashioned candle. It smells like you’re old fashioned. That’s not really my goal.
You’re not Yankee Candle?
Jessica Berglin [00:04:47]:
No, we’re not Yankee Candle, but it’s like, okay. I like to have, when I’m drinking an old fashioned or Manhattan, what’s the vibe that I want to set for fiery? Just, like, chill and just warm. So like ambery cinnamon? Yes, exactly. They’re meant to kind of go with one another, not smell and or taste like one another.
Got it. Okay. That’s great. So you have different versions. How many of these do you have so far?
Jessica Berglin [00:05:29]:
So right now, for spring and summer, I have five main ones that I’m doing, and I just debuted a new one this year, and then I have some year round ones too, that kind of can sort of transcend season and be sort of popular year round. But yeah, for summer and spring, seasonal, I have a couple of really great bright citrusy ones that are paired with so actually, the candle is called citrus fig. And then the cocktail pairing that I have for that is a basil fig smash. So it’s basically bourbon with basil leaves and fig jam that you muddle with lime juice. Then you top it with ginger beer. So it’s a great patio party kind of drink. And same with the candle scent. It feels like summer to me.
Were you a mixologist, or how do you come up with this cocktail part?
Jessica Berglin [00:06:37]:
It honestly stems from just how much entertaining I do and wanting a reason to do this cocktail or this cocktail. And I have a couple in my back pocket that I’ve been like, all right, I really want to do this cocktail. When do I want to do it? What kind of scent do I want to build around it? And it’s like I have to have everything aligned in my head to be gung ho about it.
So you have your website flicker and Fizz, and then I know you do pop up markets. Are you also in retail locations?
Jessica Berglin [00:07:15]:
Yeah, so I’m just starting to get into retail locations. I am the resident candle maker at Oleo Vintage in Northeast Minneapolis, and then I have a couple of retail partners where I’ve done some private label sort of stuff for them all. In the vintage glassware, I have these really cool big decorative pieces versus the cocktail glassware type stuff that I do for them. I’m sort of building my arsenal of retail partnerships right now.
Is this full time work for you? And were you an artist before, or tell me about that.
Jessica Berglin [00:07:56]:
Yeah, I’ve always been a creative it’s not a full time thing, so I’m hoping I can build it up to that point. But, yeah, I’ve always had a creative side, and my dad was a high school art teacher for years and years, and so I think, yeah, that side of me has always been present, and I knew I wanted to be a creative entrepreneur for a long time. Like, that stirring was within me, and I just didn’t know what it was going to be until I had this hair brain scheme for Flicker and Fizz. And honestly, as soon as lightning struck, I had it all pulled together in, like, ten minutes because it was just like, yes, this is what it needs to be. And it was like I was just waiting for that moment and that lightning to strike, and it kind of has just fallen into place since then.
So the lightning strikes and then did you have money set aside or how did you fund your business initially, and is it cash and carry as you go?
Jessica Berglin [00:09:02]:
Yes, I’ve just kind of bootstrapped from the beginning and just doing what I can and moving things forward.
You do a lot of shows. Have you had shows that have been like, a bust or that you didn’t get the value out of them and have any advice for makers that how do you choose what to do?
Jessica Berglin [00:09:24]:
Right? It’s honestly a lot of trial and error, and I’ve been really fortunate to make a lot of friends with fellow vendors and just building a network of support to ask, like, hey, I’m thinking about doing this event. Have you done it, would you recommend doing it again? That kind of thing. And just being able to have those open and honest conversations with my colleagues has been invaluable. Really?
What percentage of your business is between Thanksgiving and New Year’s?
Jessica Berglin [00:10:03]:
Oh, my gosh. Probably a quarter of it.
Oh, I would have thought it would be more.
Jessica Berglin [00:10:10]:
Yeah. I mean, that is my bread and butter time of year, and so this is my I’m only entering into my second full time year of having the full gauge of seasons, but, yeah, I’d say in the realm of, like, 25% to 40%.
So if you have your full time work or your job, like, your paying job, and then this is we’ll call this, like, you’re on your way to being more than a hobby job. You work every day during the high season?
Jessica Berglin [00:10:47]:
Yes, pretty much from end of September through the end of the year. I am not available.
Hustle, hustle, hustle.
Jessica Berglin [00:11:00]:
Yeah, it is.
How do you source your glass? Or are you just on the vintage finds and people now know how to look for you?
Jessica Berglin [00:11:09]:
Yeah, I source all over the place. Honestly, I thrift a lot of it antique malls, estate sales. And I have started getting people who find me at shows, and they’re like, I wish I would have known you exist, because we just cleaned out my grandmother’s, my mother’s, like, china cabinet if they have those family pieces. So I’m like, yeah, take my information. I’m happy to clear out all of these pieces because a lot of people just don’t know what to do with it. We don’t entertain with 16 piece glassware settings anymore.
Jessica Berglin [00:11:55]:
Sure, weird like you, but especially younger generations don’t have space for it either, but having a pair of two, that’s manageable.
So once the candle is burned out, do you help people figure out how to clean it out so that they can use the glassware and how do you advise them?
Jessica Berglin [00:12:18]:
Yeah, absolutely, because that’s my whole goal, is I want people to then enjoy the pair of glasses afterwards. Every set I have comes with a little stationary pack that includes the vintage information specific to those glasswares, the cocktail recipe, and then instructions on how to clean that out. So I’m not leaving anyone stranded. But basically what I recommend is crumple a piece of tin foil and line the bottom of a baking dish and then do a low temp oven around, like, 150 or so and just turn your candle upside down so it’ll drain out, and then you can wipe it clean after it cools down.
I love it. Okay, if I’m looking at your studio right now, is there one signature glass that you don’t have trouble finding that always is, like, your staple?
Jessica Berglin [00:13:19]:
Yes. Let me grab a couple.
Sure. So cute. I’m just looking at all of her great items in the background, all of her scents that she’s got. That was a glass that was in every ponderosa.
Jessica Berglin [00:13:46]:
Yeah. So this style so this is an amber version, but the line is called Park Lane. It’s by a company called Colony Glass. And I can usually find that pretty readily available in a wide spectrum of colors. So I have a lot of the amber ones right now that I’m gearing up for. Fall. Yes, fall type stuff. But I’ve done them in blue a lot. I’ve done clear ones as well, but I usually always have those. And then this one is Wexford by Anchor Hawking, which was when was this produced? I think they started in 1968 and discontinued around, like, 1998 or so. But I actually found someone’s this was a Facebook Marketplace find where I basically got someone’s grandmother’s entire collection. So I have I think I have, like, 24 in this is, like, the big wine glass. I have 24 of the small wine glass, 24 tumblers. Cute. Kind of the whole thing. And then the last one that I find pretty readily available is this is called Longshomp by a company called Crystal Diark. It’s a French I’m butchering that, but it’s a French company. This whole pattern started because it was made to be an affordable China for people who didn’t want or couldn’t afford the really fine stuff but wanted something upscale. So this was really a mass produced China starting in 1977 or so.
I feel like my mom has that whole set.
Jessica Berglin [00:15:44]:
Yeah, it was really common, and a lot of people so I have that in the wine glasses. I’ve got low balls of it. They make probably my favorite champagne coupe because it’s, like, really wide and has a really squat base that is just fantastic for not only drinking, but also it makes a great candle shape too.
Yes. I love it. All right, well, it has been a blast to get to know you. If I find glassware, I will text.
Jessica Berglin [00:16:12]:
You and be like, Absolutely.
I see this. Congratulations on finding something that’s not only, like, creative cool in my realm with the cocktails and the food pairings, but also that is a reusable situation. And you’re just bringing joy with the candle and then the joy of the glassware and then the joy of the potential of entertaining and what that looks like.
Jessica Berglin [00:16:35]:
I love it, right? Yeah. Thank you.
Super cute. Thanks for being with me today on Makers in Minnesota, Jeff.
Jessica Berglin [00:16:42]:
Absolutely. I appreciate it.
Yeah, we’ll talk soon. Bye.