Meet the Maker: Jenifer Green of Greentree Home Candle

The Greentree Home Candle studio is located in Treadwell, New York, in the foothills of the Western Catskill Mountains. Jenifer Green, the brand's Co-Founder and Creative Director is passionate about sculpture, creativity, beekeeping and her team of equally passionate creatives. She is a keen business woman who together with her husband, Don Green, has built Greentree Home and Greentree Home Candle slowly, sustainably, authentically and creatively over more than 20 years. 

It's no secret how much we adore our Greentree Home Candles. From subtle and simple Everyday and Square Tapers to more sculptural styles of Twist and Rope Tapers and of course our Josee Pillars, there is something inherently artistic and sensual about each of their pieces. Not only are they wondrous to the eye, but their beeswax omits the most subtle and gorgeous smell and lends such a beautiful feeling to the candles in the hand. We're thrilled then to have launched three new colourways in tapers, two new colourways in pillars and of course, a gorgeous new shape in our Monkey, all exclusively available through Love After Love. 

In celebration of our expanded offering, I sat down with Jenifer to discover her story and the story of Greentree Home Candle. Lovers? Meet, Jenifer! xx Jessie

Jenifer, tell us the story of you…Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like?

My childhood was spent in rural central NY state. As far back as I can remember I have loved art. My mother was an artist and encouraged my brother, sister and I with endless afternoons filled with homemade kitchen clay, noodle necklaces and collages. Being creative was a given in my family, part of our DNA. When we went to the beach, we spent entire days making elaborate sandcastles equipped with driftwood bunkers, shell towers and deep moats. An attitude was established, that making art and being creative was expressed every day in many ways.

Who/What was your first great love? What does love look like to you?

I know it may sound corny, but my husband was my first great love. We met in art school and became inseparable.  To me, Love looks like a beautiful bundle of exciting energy, with a soft core of comfort, and trueness.

Tell us the story of Greentree Home Candle...

After graduating from college, I realized it would be tough making a living as a painter, so together, with my furniture-making husband Don Green, we founded Greentree Home, with the intention to produce designs in furniture and accessories that were innovative and individually crafted. For 20 years, we produced an outstanding collection that is centered on timeless design and fine craftsmanship. In 2006, we saw a big increase in candle sales; the decision was made to brand Greentree Home Candle.

Why beeswax?

Beeswax is the ultimate material for candle making. It burns beautifully and slowly, it is pure, wholesome, hypoallergenic and a renewable resource. It also lends itself to the small-scale studio because we are able work with its natural properties that can vary in color and consistency from batch to batch.

Can you tell us a bit about your team and your studio? What is the typical pathway to working in candle-making. Is there such a thing?

Greentree Home Candle is made up of a handful of talented individuals, each representing an essential component of the business. From pouring and finishing to packing and shipping, we work together to design and produce beautiful designs. Our staff comes from all walks of life and backgrounds…cooks, a marketing, a schoolteacher. All are creative and dedicated.  I feel incredibly fortunate to have such talented and driven collaborators. The studio/ shop is in Treadwell, NY, a tiny hamlet in the foothills of the western Catskill mountains.

Can you tell us a little about your home in the Catskills? 

We have lived in the Catskills for 30 years. We moved from the city of Philadelphia looking for an economical solution to space in terms of housing, studio space and land. We also wanted to start a family and loved the idea of a small community. We lived in a small village for 25 years and just recently moved to a very rural setting which we love. The area is beautiful, but the winters are challenging with freezing temps and gray skies. The natural environment inspires me to travel and seek warmer climate in the winter.

Why is it important to you to design and make in America?

I feel that small businesses are the true backbone of our country. It is a tradition that has been challenged by competition, industry, and technology. As makers we have the role to bring our ideas to life. We design and produce to grow our business, make a living but also to express ourselves as individuals. It is important to me to use local vendors and beeswax harvested in the US. It promotes other small businesses and reduces freight cost and our carbon footprint.

We are fascinated by bees - from their integral role in pollination to their social and organisational behaviours. We know that you keep bees as well as use their wax! What kind of bees do you keep and when did you first become involved with beekeeping? 

I am a novice beekeeper. I am starting my 4th year with bees. My bee yard has grown from 1 colony to 7.  I began because I wanted to learn about bees and promote the species. We use beeswax and I felt it was only right to know more about the material and the amazing creatures that produce it. I thought keeping bees would give me the 1st hand experience and it has. Bees are an advanced species. They are organized, resourceful, highly productive and above all loyal to their queen. I keep Italian Honeybees.  We do not use the wax from our hives. We do harvest a small amount of honey in the fall.

How long does it take to make one Josee Pillar or one pair of twist tapers from start to finish? Could you speak to the process involved from concept to completion?

We make candles in color batches. For example, when we pour grey, we set up all the molds and pour one color. This can go on for days depending on the quantity in a color. We pour light to dark. One Josee Pillar takes 3-4 hours to cure once it is poured. A twist taper will be cured in 30 minutes. Once out of the mold the candles cool for 1 day before they are wrapped and boxed.

From where do you draw inspiration for your colour palette and your shapes?

Our palette started with a small selection of muted tones- terra cotta, sage, natural. Over the years we have added to the selection. Inspirations from nature, requests, travel.

One of the aspects that drew us to your magnificent brand was the way in which your candles are at once practical but also so sculptural and sensual. How do you achieve this balance?

I hand select objects that appeal to my aesthetic value and inspire a sense of personal significance. I feel a great deal of my passion for sculptural objects comes from the vast collections my grandparents had in their homes. Treasure troves of Asian art, old dolls, porcelain, shells, silver, and antique furniture is just a sliver of the assortment. Today, I am absolutely enchanted by vintage vessels, textured glass bottles and sculpted heads. The bottle candles were inspired and hand cast from my mother’s anthology of vintage bottles. I think of our candles as sculptural renderings in wax because they are objects that evoke beauty and serenity with graceful sophistication. The collections represent objects that inspire us, make us feel nostalgic and, sometimes, just make us smile.

We not only enjoy candles for the light, but sometimes as sculptural designs in beeswax. We set out to design candles that evoke a sense of comfort and beauty.

What is your favourite way to use candlelight?

I love to burn candles on the dining table, in our windows, on a coffee table and when we entertain outside.

Once a room or a table is lit, what are your other favourite ways to create atmosphere in a space?

I love to use vintage holders. I also love to incorporate handmade accessories as well as vintage found objects.

How do you re-charge your creativity or ensure that it is preserved when also dealing with more mundane aspects of running a business?

Running a business has not become mundane for me, personally. Yes, there is a great deal of day-to-day business, but my mind is always turning with new ideas, design, and colors. In addition, we have a great team of individuals, and they contribute so much to the health and growth of the business. It is ever changing and evolving.

What is next for Greentree Home Candle in 2022?

Big news, my daughter, Jess, is joining the team as Director of Sales for Greentree Home Candle. I will transition to Marketing and will remain Creative Director.  We have a few new designs planned to launch in the fall. 

We always like to ask our guests to leave us with the name of their favourite book or a favourite line from a poem or song. Could you share yours with us? OR perhaps a favourite artist of yours?

Quote: “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."

Song:"Blackbird" The Beatles

Artist: Picasso

You can shop Greentree Home Candle here.

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