Brittany Furnari, 26, and Cristian Abbriancati, 26, have known each other for more than 14 years. They both hail from Hauppauge, Long Island, where they met in a middle school math and have been best friends since. They dreamt of moving to New York City and staying in the city after graduating from college—which they did. Their friendship stayed strong throughout all those years and on a boozy Halloween night in 2019, the two friends were playfully brainstorming business ideas. One contender? A $2 pizza slice and $2 beer drag bar. Ultimately the two ended up settling on the synesthesia-inspired candle business, which came to be known as, Nose Best Candles.
Nose Best Candles would not have been possible without the pandemic. Furnari, who worked in event planning and hospitality, and Abbriancati who worked in the fitness industry, both stopped working during the peak of the pandemic. While many people turned to baking, the two friends began to experiment with candle making.
“We taught ourselves how to make the candles with YouTube videos. So, we’re YouTube academy goers,” Furnari says.
There was lots of trial and error involved.
“We had a serious issue with sinkholes. There was too much oil. We used soy wax and if you use too much oil, it’s yellow. So we were like, okay we’re doing something wrong,” she recalls.
Abbriancati remembers their first batch of candles being very bad, but they kept on trying.
“We never really sat down and had a branding class or took a manufacturing class, we just started doing,” he says.
Soon, they got better at candle making and began making candles they could actually sell.
However, they came across a big obstacle: how would they sell scented candles when everyone was wearing masks?
“It is funny that we created a candle business during the pandemic where nobody can smell the candles that we had to launch online. People were quite literally losing their sense of smell and taste [due to Covid],” Furnari says. “It was a scary time, but I feel like the candles were our way of coping with all this.
Fortunately, Furnari and Abbriancati kept pursuing their business and they were able to successfully make their first batch of candles: Morning Wood, a cedar-wood coffee candle; Pool Boy, a watermelon-mint candle; Sandy Cheeks, which has an ocean breeze scent; and lavender-sage scented Big Spoon. On July 10, 2020, they officially launched their website, and within one hour they were sold out of the 144 candles they had made.
In December 2021 they opened a storefront in Brooklyn, where customers can buy many candles and diffusers which are not yet available online. You can also find items from neighboring small businesses, likes vintage clothes from The Cool Table and jewelry from Prince Peacock. They hope their store shows the eclecticness of the brands they support.
“[It’s as] if your grandmother was a club kid in the sixties, and she’s just like super fashion-forward and this is her closet,” Abbriancati says.
Despite living through the pandemic, where smells and ambiance were only limited to what was in your home, people who bought the synesthesia-inspired candles can enjoy what Furnari calls, “a party in a jar.”
Each candle has a curated Spotify playlist made by Furnari and Abbriancati, along with a cocktail recipe for you to make and enjoy as you burn your candle. This combination of sound, taste and smell is meant to tingle all of your senses. Their most popular candle, “Mountain Daddy” is oakmoss and rosemary scented and comes with a rock ‘n’ roll-inspired playlist and includes a recipe for an Old Fashioned.
Nose Best Candles also found success through Tik Tok, which allowed them to reach customers all over the country. blew up on Tik Tok, and customers from all over the country were able to enjoy them. Ari Bounas, 30, is one customer who found them through Tik Tok.
“I found Nose Best Candles on TikTok,” says Ari Bounas, 30. “I believe it was Abbriancati doing a ‘what your favorite candle scent says about you’ video. I went on their website to check out their products and the rest is history,” she says. “The level of thoughtfulness and creativity they put into their products is unmatched — at least from candle companies I’ve seen.”
Furnari and Abbriancati are excited to see their business flourish. They have both since quit their jobs to pursue Nose Best full time. They hope to use the storefront for candle-making-cocktail-drinking classes come summer.
You can support Nose Best Candles by following them on Instagram and Tik Tok. Make sure to check out its website to see the newest releases and products. You will also be able to find their stall at the Queens Night Market when it opens to the general public on May 7.
Show this article when you buy in person at Nose Best Candles’ storefront located at 96 Knickerbocker Ave. Unit 111 in Brooklyn to get 10% off your purchase.