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Meet Claire Ellis of Malibu Apothecary in Beverly Hills

Today we’d like to introduce you to Claire Ellis.

Claire, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Before I even knew what I wanted to do when I grew up, I knew I wanted to travel. I remember asking my father when I was little, “which jobs can you travel?” He replied, “journalist.” So from ages seven to ten, I thought that what was I wanted to do. That is until our creative writing course in fourth grade, where I realized writing wasn’t my best skill. Fortunately, this dream would not die there as I had my first opportunity to live overseas in college through a study abroad program. In an effort to justify my plan to up and move to the South of France, as someone who had only un petit knowledge of French, I created an excel spreadsheet that would outline the cost differences to my parents. For the first time, the cost of private school would work in my favor, and in two months’ time, I would be living in Nice, France, with my new host family.

My seven months spent living on the Côte d’Azur allowed me to explore 13 different countries over Europe, opening my eyes to a world of cultures, experiences, tastes, sights, and scents. I would later find myself traveling across continents from a five week solo exploration of to delivering water filters in the backroads of Kenya, riding camels in Dubai, or snorkeling around the Caribbean, unlike my bank account, my thirst for travel grew..

During and after graduating from Southern Methodist University in the Cox School of Business with degrees in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, I worked in a variety of marketing and PR roles for entertainment companies such as the Dallas Stars Hockey Club, Fortune 100 media conglomerates like Universal Pictures and Sony Pictures, and tech startups Slingshot Health and ACTV8me.

Based on the science that scent is the strongest trigger of memory, I started pouring candles as a hobby in my Southern California apartment. Here, I discovered the toxicity and unethical standards prevalent throughout the candle industry. Ultimately, this inspired the foundation of Malibu Apothecary, my vacation-inspired, mission-based candle company. With each scent inspired after coastal places I have traveled, these fragrances aim to capture the essence of these exotic locales through their notes and names.

Further fueled by my passion for clean, non-toxic living, Malibu Apothecary donates 20% of our online candle sales to coastal conversation and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Today, you can find our scented candles in over 35 stores globally with partners such as Fred Segal, Southern Living Magazine Stores, Hilton, Kimpton, Cayman Islands Board of Tourism, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and Heal The Bay.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Upon starting Malibu Apothecary, I did not plan to make it a full-time venture; It was merely a hobby I was hoping to fund. Driven by my perfectionism, every small detail soon required copious amounts of my time. Whether it was coding a website, designing packaging, curating scents, knocking on retailers’ doors, or sourcing suppliers, it became evident that this passion would be something that I would need to devote both time and capital resources too. Balancing a demanding job in the start-up space while taking weekends to travel for a long-distance relationship, it became difficult also to run a business as a one-woman show. Everything became a decision: seeing friends, making dinner, calling my significant other, going to an event, or fulfilling 100 candle orders in my studio apartment. This experience taught me excellent time and priority management – a skill I am still perfecting.

Please tell us about Malibu Apothecary.
Malibu Apothecary is a luxury vacation-inspired candle company with a mission to create cleaner candles for a cleaner Earth by donating 20% of our online sales to coastal conservation and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Unlike 95% of candles sold on the market today, we never use gasoline byproducts, i.e., paraffin wax, that comes in the form of black sludge on the bottom of an oil barrel. This wax is whitened with bleach 10x stronger than our household bleach and is toxic when burned. Malibu Apothecary uses only natural coconut and soy wax, cotton wicks, and essential oil-infused fragrances. Each coastal candle takes inspiration from my travels to capture the essence of vacation through fragrance. From Malibu, Montauk, and the Mediterranean, a beach is only a burn away.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Used more bubble wrap – shipping glass is tough!


  • Iridescent Pink Candle | 8oz – $43
  • Mini Matte Black Candle | 4oz – $25
  • Matte Black Candle | 8oz – $43
  • High Gloss Classic Candle | 8oz – $43
  • Custom Candle | 8oz – $53

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