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Exploring Life & Business with Samm Stangeland of Rock & Roll Candle Co.

Today we’d like to introduce you to Samm Stangeland.

Hi Samm, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
As long as I can remember, I have had a strong passion for music! Growing up and having a father, who was just as passionate about music as I was, I was always listening to it as much as I could and as soon as I was old enough, I would find my way to local shows and concerts. I loved all kinds: The Beatles and The Stones to Carole King and Linda Ronstadt to Nirvana and STP to Incubus and Jimmy Eat World and so on. I always knew I wanted to be in music but had no idea how I would get there. Fast-forward to post UCI, where I got my degree in Sociology (definitely not helping me get in the music biz – or so I thought), I was living the Newport Beach dream of cocktail waitressing, haha, and hanging out at the beach. Falling out of love with that complacent lifestyle, serendipitously a friend of mine offered me a day-player job working for Live Nation, which eventually turned into a career, helping produce some of the biggest concerts in LA and the world. I almost didn’t take the job because I couldn’t see the potential, but I am so glad I did and grateful for the opportunity!

After working in production for about six years, as well as helping book and manage DJ’s for corporate events (think Oscars, TIFF, Sundance afterparties), I had the idea of creating scent-named songs into candles. It took a long while to settle on a name, but once I landed on Rock & Roll Candle Co., I was full-steam ahead… until I had to go back to work, and by work, some weeks were 80-100 hours. Along the way, I also started working with Lady Gaga as her tour production coordinator and crew road manager. So, not much time to apply to R&RCCO.

That all changed in March 2020, as we all know and feel, everything shutdown and all three of my jobs halted. After the shock wore off, I decided it was now or never to truly apply myself to R&RCCo and I’m so grateful I had something to pour my energy into during this difficult time.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
NO! Absolutely not. For starters, I had no time to really dive in, so it took a solid three years before I really started even selling. Even then, I had no idea what I was doing and just learning on the fly. Fortunately, my jobs had taught me to be resourceful and I had some great friends who helped guide me along the way. I had never started a business before and I knew NOTHING about candles nor the industry. I can whole-heartedly say, creating a business is like starting over every single day, it’s emotional, it’s challenging, but you get to test yourself and what you’re made of and it is so gratifying when you get wins – even the smallest ones.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Rock & Roll Candle Co.?
We are handmade, hand-poured candles inspired by your favorite songs! Initially, we only had scents inspired by Classic Rock songs but are branching out into Country and will continue to segue into different genres of music. Rock and Roll Candle Co is female-owned and operated (that’s me) and we strive to be affordable, sustainable, eco-friendly, and just overall appeal to not only music lovers but to anyone who loves candles that smell good. But, for that music fan, we truly encourage them to put the record on while burning the candle for the ultimate experience!

As far as I know, we are the only company that connects songs and scents, which is hard to believe that it has never been done before but I’m happy that I get to embrace this journey.

We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
Ooof, resilience! I mean, it felt like the whole world was crashing down but you know what, life keeps going and you can take a crisis and turn it into an opportunity!


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