My name is Amanda Phythian but like to go by Mandy – with a “y” and not an “i”. Back in the day that use to be an issue. I’m not really sure how or when going by an “i” was cool. I’m an interior designer and crafter extraordinaire. I LOVE making and creating arts and crafts for my family and friends. I swear I can look at anything and figure out how to make it. I think that might have to do with my out of the box thinking. (I’m also really good at putting together Ikea furniture – not too many people can say that!) When I’m not destroying the house pulling out all my art and crafting supplies, I enjoy spending time with my hubby Drew, going to yard sales and eating ice cream! I hope you enjoy my story and learn something along the way.
When I was growing up – I wanted to be a pastry chef. I was always in the kitchen baking cakes and cookies. I did a couple of internships with some local chefs (I’m originally from Columbia, South Carolina and Yes, I’m a huge Gamecock Fan! Absolutely no Clemson fans in our family!) I even started selling some of my cakes for birthday parties. When it came time to start applying to colleges, my pastry chef dream came to an end. I found out how expensive culinary school was going to cost and realized there was no way I was ever going to pay those students loans back. I then decided I wasn’t going to eat myself to death cooking and baking all day and decided to go to art school to become a starving artist. In 2005 I started my fine arts degree at Winthrop University where I learned what living off Ramon noodles and being a starving artist was all about. Yes, my parents gave me money and I had additional money from my student loans to help pay for things, but the majority of that money didn’t go to partying. All of it went to art supplies! In 2009 I graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts with a concentration in Interior Design. It was very exciting to finally graduate, but I finished school at the worst time! This was just after the stock market crash, large companies included design firms were laying off huge number of employees and the housing market became a joke. Great – now what do I do?! I worked for a couple of design companies to get my start. I learned a lot along the way and met some amazing people. But I still feel like I’m not getting anywhere…
Southern Fragrances all started one day when I walked into my friend’s house. She was burning this amazing candle that smelled like Cabernet wine. I asked her where she got it from and how much she spent on it. I immediately thought to myself – “I can make that!” And I did! I started making candles just for myself to see how it would go. I started with three scents, “Fab Cab!” “Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice” and “Autumn is in the Air”. I didn’t really think much on selling them until my friends got a whiff of them. And that’s when things got rolling. I started entering myself in craft shows and selling them at Dollface Skin and Makeup Lounge.
That was a couple years ago and I’m still creating amazingly scented candles. Before I went to college, I worked for an attorney who always told me “If you want to make money, you have to work for yourself!” That advice has stuck with me for years and still applies to this day. Where do I see Southern Fragrances going from here? I’m working on creating a new blog and website to incorporate more of my design work and inspiration. My plan is to start a DIY design studio where guests can learn to make something new and meet others who have like interests. Think of a “wine and design” night at a friend’s house.
Where do I get my inspiration for my candle scents? Some scents are trial and error. You really don’t know how the candle is going to turn out until it’s finished and you test it out on your friends. I really enjoy making candles that fit my mood. Spring / Summer scents are full of florals and tropical fruits. Summer time drinks have been a good inspiration. Fall / Winter scents are all about being snuggly and cozy at home.
I make all candles in small batches to keep consistency across all fragrances. All candles have enough fragrance oils in them for you to smell them even if they’re not lit. I only use all natural soy wax. This natural material helps candles burn slower, cooler and cleaner than traditional wax candles and are an eco-friendly companion to mother earth!