Six Creative Cools Review Free People’s New Gardenia & Cedarwood Candle

Did you know “thinking outside of the box” is a candle-born phrase? Read. On…

Give it up for the caaaaaaaaaandle! You know the oft-overused phrase “think outside the box?” Yes, it’s one of those expressions that, within a meeting, could feel like low-hanging fruit for tired management. Still, the concept of expanding your mind, shirking norms, and developing new ideas is evercool — and forever attributed to a candle?!

In an experiment published over half a century ago called Duncker’s Candle Test, subjects were given a task — affix a candle to a wall and light it up without the wax dripping onto the table below. Their only supplies, aside from the aforementioned luminary, were a box of tacks and a book of matches. Those who couldn’t see past the obvious purpose of the objects were diagnosed with “functional fixedness.” Like, “oh hey, this gorgeous box exists just to keep these tacks organized.”

The few problem solvers who saw the box as a platform and tacked it to the wall with the candle standing inside were deemed “creative thinkers.” Researchers were so pumped about the findings that they used the same test decades later to see if there was a tie between living abroad and creative thinking (affectionately called “Living Outside The Box”), but that’s for another story — a travel story perhaps… It’s that latter group who sees what’s presented to them and turns the hand they’re dealt into a winning game — those are the cool people who inspired our scouting trip for IRL reviews of Free People’s newest Gardenia + Cedar Candle.

We’ve got artists, we’ve got founders, we’ve got stylists, we’ve got talent! And we’ll let them describe — in their own words, poems, and clever catch-phrases — what they’re picking up from the scent this natural soy and beeswax blend is throwing:


Tamara Johnson, artist and co-director of Sweet Pass Sculpture Park

“When I first opened it, I was excited about the scent — Gardenia & Cedarwood (like masculine and feminine!) so obviously it went straight to the bedroom. Knowing this is a quality candle and not a Glade, I wanted to make sure to optimize its life span.

Each night before bed, I light it up about an hour before I laid down and it turns my whole bedroom into a primed dream/relaxation zone. I’ll read or do phone time, enjoying the scent until I’m sleepy town — turn off the lights and blow out the candle. I like how the scent lingers in the room until I fall asleep.”

Alex Andrade, founder of Burnin’ for You Studio

“A white marble powder room in Rome in the 80’s. Candles burning, records playing and fresh cut flowers on a vanity.

Fresh, nostalgic, dreamy.

A stunning, classic floral with an edge.”

Andrew Gaeta, Celebrity Partnership Casting Director of Mayflower Entertainment

“So, I love the scent — it feels like an escape. Like something I would smell in my family’s Cape Cod cottage or a house in the Hamptons. (The font on the candle I even like, it reminds me of summer camp — also in Cape Cod — and I’m into ittttt.)

It makes me feel like I’m somewhere new, fancy, and relaxing. I will use it on weekend mornings, I think, to make my weekends feel like a little vacation.”

Elise Tresley, founder of mēle Nutrition

“It has a musky overarching aroma, but I’m also picking up on the fresh floral accents. It reminds me of the South of France! I’ve only been once, but now I’m determined to get back there! My grandmother used to have candles everywhere in her house, so they remind me of her — I love them! You can usually find one lit on my desk at my office while I work or on the kitchen table during dinner. Free People’s Gardenia & Cedarwood scent is this careful balance between feminine and masculine — there’s an elegance to it, but also an edge — perfect to light up before a night out with friends or a date with my husband.”

Betsy Oppenheimer, stylist

“This candle makes me want to lay down and close my eyes, but not sleep.

It makes me feel calm and comfortable.

I light it when I want to relax, take a bath, feel feminine and happy.”

Matthew Hamilton, founder of The Wedding Scanner

“Smells like a five-star hotel.”


Pictured is Tamara Johnson and Benny the Dog.


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This post makes me want to light a candle now! Especially since it’s fall and cosy now… ❤️✨

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog