The Story Behind My Eeveelution Scented Candle Collection

The Story Behind My Eeveelution Scented Candle Collection

Pokemon as a phenomenon hardly needs an introduction. Generations of people have grown up with and fallen in love with these strange, wonderful, and often adorable little creatures. I grew up watching Ash Ketchum take on the Indigo League in the Pokemon anime series in the late 90s, and I finally got to catch some Pokemon of my own when I received my first game in the franchise, Sapphire Version, for the Game Boy Advanced for Christmas in 2003.

Since then, Pokemon is the highest grossing multimedia franchise in the world, and as of the time of writing (Spring of 2024) and there exist a staggering 1,025 distinct species of Pokemon, many with alternate forms and iterations. Everyone has their favorite (mine is Vulpix,) however it is fair to say that some are more widely beloved than others. One such group of ever-popular Pokemon are the Eeveelutions, the family of creatures associated with the soft and cuddly Pokemon with infinite potential known as Eevee.

There's really literally no limit to the kinds of items you might find adorned with the likeness of Eevee and its evolutions. They are a staple subject of many fanartists' work, because they are so widely known and appealing; at any given Anime/Nerd Convention you are bound to find merchandise both official and fanmade themed around this colorful family of nine vaguely mammalian-looking mascots.

I am hardly the first person to conceive of basing a line of scented candles off of the Eeveelutions and I will certainly not be the last. But what I have managed to create with my candle collection has brought me a satisfying amount of success and has been embraced by many. 

In this blog post I am going to talk about the Behind the Scenes of how the collection came to be. If you want to just cut to the chase, you can check out the shop listing for the Eeveelution Candle Collection. If you're here for story-time, then read on.

Conceptualizing themed scents for 9 different creatures takes some doing and was something I pondered for a very long time. Even more complicated still is realizing those scent concepts by locating appropriate fragrance oils and testing blends and ratios. This was my first big project as a candlemaker. The idea to create scent candles themed after the Eeveelutions occurred to me very early on in my candle making career, but the Summer of 2020 is when I began development in earnest.

Its safe to say that the scent concepts for all 9 Eeveelutions were mostly inspired simply by each creature's color scheme, which are themselves representative of the Pokemon's elemental typing. There were definite guidelines and parameters as to what each scent concept could be--after all it really wouldn't do to pair the likes of fancy pastel Sylveon with a scent that was decidedly green, like bamboo or aloe.

And at the same time some of these concepts were deceptively difficult to nail down. What does pinky-purple psychic energy smell like? Other artists have created products that pair the Eeveelutions with scents before, and I did have a look at what other people were doing as I developed my own ideas. But the fun thing about it is that everyone's offerings are a little different, and I wanted my set of scents to be unique to me. Here is how I arrived at each of my concepts. 

Eevee - Pokedex Guide - IGN

When you look at Eevee its very easy to picture it as a fluffy little loaf of freshly baked bread. That or perhaps a cappuccino with an extra dollop of milk foam. There's lots of delicious smelling things that Eevee's gentle color pallet are evocative of. I figured that the Eevee candle might be the one that most people would be interested to purchase, so I wanted to make the scent as approachable as possible. As soon as the pun "Eeveenilla" occurred to me, my mind was made up.  

Obtaining Vaporeon in Pokemon GO

The aquatic Vaporeon already offered up a challenge; what do you do with a concept as broad as "water-type." Vaporeon is another one of my favorite Pokemon and it was the first Eeveelution I ever trained in one of the video games. I evolved my Eevee in Leaf Green Version into one and named it Mermaid (kind of on the nose, but hey, I was like 9.) Mermaids were on my mind as I picked out a fragrance, I chose to go with something more on the feminine side and incorporate a floral as well as general watery notes. The final formula incorporates notes of orchid blossoms as well as sea salt and dew for a delicate misty floral. 

Eevee of the day: Jolteon | Anime Amino

It was pretty obvious to me right out the gate that Jolteon ought to be lemon-something. Its yellow. Nuff said. But whereas one could pivot and take the white of Jolteon's scruff and imagine something like a lemon chiffon cake, with notes of sugar and whipped cream, it was clear to me that the most important aspect of "lemon" to incorporate here was the zesty, zingy quality of the fruit itself, to evoke the energy and "jolt" of this critter's electric typing. There's hardly anything complicated about it, Jolteon's scent concept is simply pure lemon.
13 Facts About Flareon -

Flareon and its fire-typing were also deceptively tricky. One might imagine something smokey and burning to pair with a fire-type, and this was the direction I took at first. I discovered a scent modeled after Dragon's Blood resin and got myself a bottle of fragrance oil to try. However upon receiving it I discovered that dragon's blood is not quite the smoky, spiced fragrance that I was expecting, but rather the sweetish heady scent of incense, which is what it is. It was not what I was picturing for my Flareon concept, and is a scent that I would describe as "cloying." However, I have a friend who really likes it so I did end up making candles out of it. I dunno, dragon's blood isn't for me, personally. My backup concept for Flareon was cinnamon, since it is an appealing spice that very readily evokes "warmth." I played around with using just cinnamon on its own but eventually I settled on an apple cinnamon combo because the formula I came up with as such was just so scrumptious.

100+ Best Espeon Nickname Ideas: The Ultimate List – FandomSpot

Espeon was the scent concept that took me the longest to finalize. Espeon has a handful of unique themes to play with. It is a psychic-type pokemon, based vaguely on a Sphinx cat. Its body is a pale mauve and its eyes are piercing purple. It is the "dawn" Pokemon (to Umbreon's "dusk.") Where do we go with this? Something evocative of pink or purple? Something associated with Egypt (like the Sphynx?) Something evocative of sunlight? Espeon is well known for using battle moves like "Psybeam," "Confusion," and "Future Sight."

I experimented with wandering down the avenue of a "hypnotic floral" scent, since most purple or pink things one might associate with certain fragrances are flowers. Something heady and mesmerizing. I really wanted to incorporate lavender in this way but in my wax tests lavender just wasn't cutting it by itself. I ended up combining the element of black violet flowers and saffron. The latter is most appropriate since the residence of the Psychic-type Gym Leader in the first video game, Sabrina was Saffron City (though Espeon did not yet exist in the first generation of Pokemon, but Sabrina has gone on to incorporate an Espeon into many of her teams throughout the rest of the series.)  

Its easy to think of Umbreon and Espeon as masculine and feminine counterparts to each other, though these species can be either sex. I did lean into the "masculine" genre of fragrance in order to find my concept for Umbreon. Something dusky but sporty, to fit with Umbreon's ebon svelte frame. One of the fragrances I gained great success with early on in my candlemaking career is one called Black Sea, a sort of misty yet murky scent combining a base of dark musk with a hint of sweet sandalwood and oceanic accord. When I sell this fragrance I style it as Midnight Waters and it is one of my most popular candle scents. Umbreon of course has very little to do with water or the sea, but the fragrance is very evocative of a nocturnal theme. The scent's popularity and its ease to work with caused me to give it to my Umbreon candle. 
The next Pokemon lends itself pretty heavily to a specific genre of fragrance: Leafeon, the grass-type "Verdant Pokemon." Clearly this scent concept should have something to do with plants, but especially in the world of scents there was really no shortage of options. Leafeon and Glaceon actually competed for the same scent in my early concept stage. A very readily apparent scent concept for Leafeon was mint, and in fact the leaves that decorate Leafeon's ears and tail kind of look like mint leaves. But if I pinned mint to Leafeon, I wasn't quite sure what to do with Glaceon, who's fragrance should radiate chill and cold to go with its icy theme. A concept that was also readily available to Glaceon was peppermint, which, in gum or candy, kind of has a chilling effect on the mouth (not to mention is occasional association with Christmas, a holiday that many people experience accompanied with snow.) Or consider something like mint ice cream.

Glaceon & Leafeon AMV | What's My Name (Thanks for 700+ subs ❤) - YouTube

In the end I ended up giving the mint concept to Glaceon, because a fragrance oil I had experience working with was a blended peppermint and eucaplyptus scent that just had too much of a frosty affect to work for Leafeon. The candle name, "Aurora Mint" is a reference to an iconic ice-type move called Aurora Beam (which Glaceon... can't learn... shhh don't worry about it [it can learn Aurora Veil by TM in Gen 7!])

So back to the drawing board for Leafeon. During this whole process I was being mindful of fragrances I'd already worked with because trying to discover and test all new fragrance oils for 9 concepts was just overwhelming. So I debated 2 different fragrance oils I had used before for Leafeon: one had the salacious name of "Exotic Hemp and Cannabis," though it honestly just kind of smelled like patchouli. The other, oakmoss and amber, I'd sought out on the recommendation of the artist who I commissioned for the art that appears on the Eeveenilla label. The Hemp and Cannabis scent soon fell away because among other things, I couldn't think of a way to market it that wasn't just "this candle is meant to smell like WEED!" (that's a different candle concept, and one I might be able to bring to you soon...) But besides that, the oakmoss fragrance was just so delightfully earthy, but then also connected to Leafeon's in-game evolution method of needing to level up and Eevee in an area near a Mossy Rock in order for it to take its verdant form. That's precisely the reason the Leafeon candle is called Mossy Glen.

Kindergarten Chaos! | Pokémon TV

And last but not least, the fairy-type superstar Sylveon. I automatically knew that I wanted Sylveon's fragrance to be something dessert-y and sweet. I mainly had two choices: cotton Candy or Strawberry. After a trial with a cotton candy themed fragrance oil didn't turn out the way I wanted it to I turned my eyes to strawberrry desserts, and in particular I really wanted a strawberry cheesecake scent. It took some doing to find one that I liked, but all in all, Sylveon came together much quicker than many of the other concepts.

The full rollout of this project was the work of almost 2 years. Eeveenilla launched on Etsy in November of 2020 with Vaporeon, Jolteon and Flareon arriving in Spring of 2021 and the rest that following Holiday Season. The pre-production work stretched back long before the original etsy launch. For a long time I was stuck on the label design. I am an artist myself and I felt obligated to create every part of this project myself. But my ADHD (which at that time was in the midst of getting freshly diagnosed for the first time) along with my perfectionism and a bought of artist block was dogging the project and causing it to stall for months. Finally I decided that I needed to give myself permission to hire out that portion of the project or I was never going to realize it.

In the Summer of 2020 I commissioned an artist I knew named Awen (they do not have a social media presence associated with their artwork) for the chibi Eevee art used on the label as well as the label design itself. This proved to be the helping hand I needed to push the first part of the project over the finish line.

After a successful Etsy rollout I turned to making the rest of the series. Awen was not available for further projects, so the art for the remaining labels was commissioned from Meir Rayne of Cloverbun Studios. Meir is a good friend and mentor to me and did an excellent job mimicking the style precedent set by Awen and making each eeveelution cute and polished. We even had a fun time hanging out on his twitch channel where he streamed his art process working on them.

And the rest is history. The Eeveelution candles have been a hit. They have enjoyed being among the top search results (sometimes, the top result) on etsy for pokemon candles and related searches for more than a year now. They are a smash hit when I bring them when I table at anime conventions with a small circle of folks who remember buying them from me at previous cons and want to buy again.

I have dipped a toe in designing other fandom themed candles after these, including statement candles based on the Legend of Zelda's Lon Lon Milk and Flask items from Dark Souls and Bloodborne. There is has been, for a long time now, a possible Vampire the Masquerade candle project looming on the horizon. But that's talk for another blog post...

Now you have a glimpse of all that went into my Eeveelution Candle Series. Over 2 years of planning and production, much consideration and tinkering, resource wrangling and commissioning to bring 9 whole candle concepts into fruition.  

If you've read this far thank you for your interest and letting me share my creative process with you.
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