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This Dallas Company Makes Candles That Smell Like Your Favorite Celebrities

What if you could see Matthew McConaughey’s iconic Wolf of Wall Street scene where he bangs his chest in the chair right next to you? How would that look? How would that actually smell?

Bailey Briggs and Danielle Hawthorne, Dallas-based entertainment reporters turned outfitters, guessed well. They believe there would be hints of mahogany and teak, hints of whiskey cask and hints of hash. In January, the couple officially launched DYST Candle, a line of locally made candles scented with your favorite stars like McConaughey, Michael B. Jordan and Margot Robbie.

Before the pandemic, Briggs and Hawthorne worked together as hosts for a local entertainment show, covering upcoming movies and junkets, and interviewing various celebrities. Then COVID-19 hit our shores and paralyzed the entertainment industry. The couple knew they needed to expand their income stream, but they wanted movies to stay involved somehow.

DYST Candle founders Bailey Briggs (left) and Danielle Hawthorne.
Megan Weber

Actually, they wanted to restore the feeling of going to the cinema. Then Briggs had an idea. What if they made candles that smelled like the actors in the movies themselves? “Can you imagine Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson right next to you?”

Hawthorne, a lifelong movie buff and devoted candle lover, was all in. “We clicked on it right away,” she says.

They spent the next year developing their candle line. Briggs and Hawthorne researched competitors, found production partners to cast their candles in Dallas, and brainstormed with celebrities. “Who shall we make a candle with?” they wondered. Eventually, they settled on seven to start the company: McConaughey, Jordan, Robbie and Johnson, plus Jennifer Anniston, Harry Styles and Zendaya.

The gimmick of DYST is that as entertainment reporters, Briggs and Hawthorne have met a ton of celebrities. (“We smell them, so you don’t have to,” says Briggs.)

Obviously, not every candle has the same aroma as its namesake.

Instead, they researched the celebrity’s background — where they’re from, what they’re interested in, and what issues are important to them, says Hawthorne. The Rock has its own small-batch tequila company, so its candle smells like tequila, citrus, and, uh, “manly musk.”

Of course, some candles actually smell like the celebs themselves. McConaughey is known for smelling quite fragrant, says Briggs. “It’s just earthy.” So they picked these flavors of teak, hash, and whiskey. In addition, they work with a perfumer to mimic the scent of Kevin Hart’s favorite perfume.

They also have seasonal and genre related candles. “I love our RomCom candle,” which has notes of orchid, merlot, vanilla, chestnut, and chocolate, says Hawthorne. It’s “Valentine’s Day in a Candle”. There’s a chai-scented Christmas candle that Hawthorne says burns all year round. “She would eat the candle if she could,” says Briggs.

Each candle costs $34. DYST uses up to five different scents in each candle, cotton wicks, and coconut wax, although they’re also experimenting with new waxes. Each candle burns 80 hours. “When you light it up, it fills the room,” says Hawthorne.

pictureThe McConaughey candle, inspired by Texas actor Matthew McConaughey, has sold out twice since the DYST Candle launched earlier this year.
Courtesy of DYST Candle

Briggs and Hawthorne, who also produce an entertainment show called Did You See That (DYST), plan to release candles based on the celebrity’s upcoming films. The Pattinson launched just before The Batman, helmed by Robert Pattinson, premiered earlier this year.

In honor of the Elvis biopic, which premiered on June 24, they’re launching an Austin Butler-style candle. The Reese will start when actress/producer Reese Witherspoon’s film Where the Crawdads Sing comes out in July. More candles are in the works for Brad Pitt and George Clooney. They delve into the genre with horror and achieve their original goal of getting you into a theater: cinema popcorn.

Once they’ve turned up around town, many people stop to smell their favorite stars, they say. “Do they really set that up?” you ask. The McConaughey has already sold out twice. They plan to sell wholesale to stores soon as well.

And while only Briggs and Hawthorne are leading DYST at the moment, they’re grateful they’ve been able to rotate amid the pandemic. According to Briggs, they’re “just two girls fulfilling a dream.”

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Catherine Wendlandt

Catherine Wendlandt

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Catherine Wendlandt is the online editor for D Magazine’s Living and Home and Garden blogs, where she features all…

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