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What is the name of your company? 

Modern & Magical 

When was the company founded? 

November 2020; a quarantine baby!

Tell us the story of how you brought your company to life.

Well, idle hands are the devil's workshop... so I put those hands to work! I spent the first few months of my quarantine / furlough watching YouTube and playing games on my phone and when that got old, I got crafty! It started with concrete catch-alls and bowls, which quickly turned into making planters, which -duh- became candles! I was hooked on the idea of turning something that people don't normally think of as pretty, concrete, and making it so people would want it all around their space. 

How did you feel after it launched? 

I felt excited, nervous and proud.  Excited for something that I felt that I had worked so long on to come to life. Nervous because what if no one bought anything that I poured so much of me into?! Proud because I loved my products so much and now so many more people were going to see them and love them too!

Where do you draw your design inspiration from? 

Once I got into candles (about 5 months after my initial launch), I knew people would love them. When I think of inspiration for the scents, I think of Mother Earth. I want to make sure that my scents are something you would find in nature, out on a walk in the woods, on a hike, or just the produce section of your local market!

Why was it important to you to create an “out and proud” LGBTQ+ company? 

I know it sounds cliche but representation matters! Queer people haven't had a seat at the table, let alone a voice in the room, for so long. We can change that. We are changing that. By supporting LGBTQ+ owned businesses you are saying that our voices matter and that we deserve a seat at the table. 

Was there a defining moment in your company’s history (so far) when you knew you created something special?

The launch of my candles brought me to tears. I launched them at a pop-up /maker's market type of event in March of 2021. I had teased the launch on my social media and said that they would be launching first at this event before they went live on the website. I had 77 candles made and I took them all to that event. At the end of the event, I had 7 candles left on my shelf. I remember packing up what was left of my inventory and being so overwhelmed at the possibilities that were laid out in front of me. I went home and started making more candle vessels that night!

What has been the reaction of customers to your brand?

My favorite in-person reactions are the second reactions. Right when they see the candle they say "this is nice'' or "this smells good" but a few minutes after they have the candles in their hands when I get the "these are so pretty, Ken" man, that's my favorite.  It just warms my heart and I am beaming with pride. 

Any special customer stories that you want to share? 

They are all so special but  any time that I get an order and they say "my friend told me about you..." That really means the world to me. 

At Fruitloots, we call all the amazing products that we find our “loot”. What's a favorite piece of “loot” you have created?

I know I have been talking a lot about my candles, but man, I am a slut for candles. They have to be my favorite item to date. It's something that I love to make and share but also to burn in my own space. Literally burning one right now! 

Tell us about the Fruitloots products that we have chosen. 

The Citrus Agave, Textured Tulip candle is fantastic! It has the perfect scent profile, it's a candle and she's pretty! What more could you want?! 

Where do you see your company in 10 years?

Oh, wow! Let's hope that there is a Modern & Magical candle burning wherever you are. That's the dream. 

If you could do a special collaboration with any person in the world, who would it be and why?

Dolly Parton! Okay, it's clearly a candle but the name of the candle: I Beg Your Parton. I haven't figured out the scent profile yet but there will be a base note of Aqua Net for sure!  

Any advice to queer entrepreneurs? 

Do it! Don't wait until you're ready, do it now and iron out the details afterward!

If you could throw a party, with an unlimited budget and you could invite anyone, tell us about the party and who would be there! 

I'm thinking it is going to be just some friends and family who have supported me in my life. And Kelly Clarkson! There will be food and drinks and singing! Kelly doesn't get any special treatment or anything. Like, if I wanna sing, it's my party so hand over the mic sis!  

Last question - If you could be any fruit, what would it be and why?

Grapes. I know what you are thinking "he just picked grapes because of the connection made in a gay man's mind between grapes and other things." Well, you're not wrong... but also think about wine! and OMG sangria!!! 


• • •

Photos courtesy of Ken Shrout & Modern & Magical 

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