Featured designer: Karen Klein

Re-launching her candle line after a six year hiatus, (child raising) Karen Klein is delighted to be back at it!

Karen Klein had always had a passion for Italy; from fashion to wine, the food…. the Italian culture was alluring. It is out of that passion for Italy …and for candles, that her elegant and decorative candle line was born.

 “We started the line back in 2002,” Karen says. “I came out of apparel manufacturing- I used to buy fabric and do production for companies such as BCBG, Max studios and Guess?. In 1997, I was in Italy, visiting my fabric mills and I ended up meeting my American husband while on a train from Venice to Florence.” Much to the delight of her father, who wondered why it took a trip to Italy to meet her future husband, they were married in Santa Barbara, (The Italy of the US) several years later.

Residing together in LA, the couple came upon an idea for a business; “I used to have a lot of candles that would tunnel and not look that lovely sitting out, so my husband and I decided to start our own manufacturing company that incorporated our passion for the warmth and luxury of Italy.”

She had spent time in the past roaming the Italian Hill country….picking figs and flowers and berries on Tuscan farms, delighting in the aromas of these regions and that is from where the inspiration for her candle scents came.Both feminine and masculine, simple, yet refined they allow you to sensually explore the Italian countryside. Scents like Sicilian lemongrass, abundant in sweet citrus or Bellini (a legend from Harry’s Bar in Venice) with its scents reminiscent of sparkling crisp champagne and rich sun ripened peach puree. 

“For our signature candle line, we import paper from Italy and wrap it around an 11 oz. glass.  As they burn, they pick up the gold’s that are indicative of the Florentine papers, glowing and illuminating against themselves- they are a truly beautiful sight, creating a warm and evocative glow, not unlike stained glass.” Karen continues, “We originally found Rossi through an LA distributor that had just a few choices.  We grew the company to the extent that we could go to Rossi direct.  So, we started working with the San Fran rep, Kimberley Young.  She is great.  She knows that I like to have swatch books because I will often do private label deals.  For example, we worked with the LA County Museum of Art that tied in with an Italian exhibit they were showing.  The candles did so well, we sourced “French” Rossi Papers for a French exhibit.  We also did a deal with PajamaGram where we found a paper that had teal to benefit ovarian cancer. “

“Over the years, I have been approached by, and I did, source other Italian mills.  Yet, none are nearly as luscious as Rossi.  Their level of sophistication and luxury is so evident in their papers…  They are rich looking and really epitomize the Italian feel.  They are beautiful– truly a piece of artwork themselves.  It definitely is what sells the candles (the fact they smell good is an added bonus! LOL). “

Karen and her family now live in Santa Barbara… “This is the closest to Italy I could find!” she says.


Karen Klein products have been featured in Oprah magazine, Redbook, In Style, Lucky and more… www.karenkleinlife.com


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