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Questions with a Maker: Ranger Station Supply Co.

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We're excited to introduce you to one of our ultimate brand crushes, Ranger Station Supply Co.. We asked them a couple questions and this is what they had to say. 

What is your name?

Steve Soderholm

What do you make?

Candles!

At Ranger Station, we pour candles into what will later become your favorite cocktail glass, a sturdy keepsake and customization inspired by our appreciation for a well-served drink. Our goal is to provide you with a high-quality candle that can transport you to an outdoor retreat in the confines of your daily life. Each candle is hand-poured and is inevitably alluring in any room it's lit. And although we perfect our scents with the nose of a modern gentleman in mind, our candles have a way of captivating the most tasteful of women as well. 

 

Tell us about a day in the life of you!

I am definitely a morning person and usually get up around 6:30. I love slow mornings and always spend way more time than is necessary on making coffee. I wouldn’t get through the day without it. Coffee in hand, I study my bible, meditate, and journal until about 7:30 which is when I like to start my work day.

Once the work day starts, no two days are the same. I previously hand-poured all of the candles, but we recently brought on the greatest human (Andrew) as a production manager. He is an invaluable addition to our company.

With Andrew handling much of the candle pouring, I am able to focus on just about everything else. I do a lot of brand development, scent development, emails, and sales. My whole family is in sales and I have an uncanny appreciation for it. I love reaching out to potential retailers and I get really excited talking about our product and setting up relationships with other companies.

 

What’s unique about your process?

When I started Ranger Station, I knew that I wanted to make candles, but there were already a bunch of companies out there making great candles. So I set out to be different. The first idea I had was to make candles that were geared toward gentleman. Quick side note: we quickly discovered what I like to call the boyfriend jean effect. There are a lot of companies out there making floral, citrusy, sugary scented candles for women, but not many making more manly scents. The boyfriend jean effect is that women love mens stuff! Our outdoorsy, manly scents have had huge success with both men and women. I would almost say that women have overtaken men in purchasing.

All that being said, we knew we wanted to make sophisticated scents for ladies and gentleman, but we still needed to go one step further. It doesn't make sense to have to throw away your candle jar every time you finish a candle — it just seemed like such a waste to me. So I started thinking about what could be used as a candle vessel that ladies and gentleman would be proud to use afterwards. I landed on the idea of using whiskey glasses because the men and woman who appreciate our sophisticated scents most likely appreciate a well-served cocktail. I then decided to engrave the bottom of each of our whiskey glasses with our ranger hat symbol to make them unique and streamlined. It makes whiskey sipping a more personal experience.

 

If a candle fragrance described your personality, what would it be and why?

Oh man… that is a tough one. People always ask me what my favorite candle we have developed is and I always say that I love all my children the same! While I do love everything we have done, our Leather + Pine candle is super special to me and probably fits my personality the best.

It is the first candle I even experimented with and when I launched Ranger Station, it was the only candle I had on our website. Not sure what I was thinking launching a company with literally just one product, but people latched onto it right away and candles quickly went from being my side gig to my full-time gig.

The pine scent notes of our Leather + Pine candle really speak to my desire to be in the boundary waters of northern MN as much as I can. I have spent a large amount of time there growing up fishing, canoeing, camping, and snowmobiling. The leather scent notes make me think of working with my grandfather. He always had a project for us to be working on, and he was always in leather boots, leather gloves and the like.

What images, people, places and things inspire you?

The Boundary Waters of Northern MN have probably been my biggest inspiration. If you have not yet had a chance to go, you must. It is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful parts of our country. The fresh air coming off of lake superior mixed with the abundant wildlife always puts me at peace.

I also pull a lot of inspiration from the people in our hometown of Nashville. There is an amazing community here that is full of creatives who are going against the conventional ways of making a living. The best cure for exhaustion or feeling overwhelmed is to talk with people who are pursuing their dreams no matter the cost. It is a beautiful thing to see.

Lastly, music inspires me. I might be a bit cliche to say, but that is what originally brought me to Nashville. I am a drummer and was playing full time until Ranger Station took off. When I need a release, I will often drive backroads out of the city and just listen to music. I highly recommend it.

 

Where do you live? What is your favorite thing about your surroundings?

I live in Nashville and I love just about everything about it. Music is what initially brought me here, but the people are what made me stay. It is definitely a transplant city. It is rare to meet someone who was born and raised here, and I absolutely love how eclectic that makes Nashville. There are so many kinds of people doing so many kinds of things, and that always gets me super excited!

I love the geography of my location. We have some of the best state and national parks as well as lakes and rivers to enjoy within a few hours reach. One of my favorite places to go is the Great Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee.

Nashville also has one of the best growing food and drink scenes. As you may have gathered from the fact that our candles are in cocktail glasses, I have a huge appreciate for a well made drink.

Share one thing about being a maker that might surprise people.

I think the biggest surprise for me when I started as a maker was how lonely it can be. When you start something all by yourself, it is extremely important to surround yourself with others who are doing the same. Create a community of makers so that you have people who are in it with you — people to give you moral support.

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