Chatting with our CEO Hope Margala

Tyler Conroy: Hello Facebook fans and welcome to our Facebook Live with our CEO Hope Margala. I am Tyler from our social media team and today we are joined by our CEO Hope. Thanks so much for coming on Facebook with us this morning.

Hope Margala: Sure, Tyler! For you, of course!

Tyler: Thank you. So before we hop into questions from fans, I wanted you to just tell our fans a little bit about yourself.

Hope Margala: Okay great. Well first of all I'd like to start with good morning, afternoon, and evening I guess, based on where in the world you're watching from—or maybe you'll be watching later. So, I don't want to spend too much time talking about myself because I really do want to talk about Yankee Candle and answer a lot of the questions that I saw that the fans had written in. But I will start with, I'm originally from Ohio, a Midwestern girl at heart, but I have been here in South Deerfield—that's where Yankee Candle is, which is in western Massachusetts, for the last seven years. We're about 40 minutes north of Springfield and if you are in the area or do you want to come up and see us, we are —right down the street, we have a ninety-thousand foot flagship store, which is an amazing experience—

Tyler: One of my favorite places in the world!

Hope Margala: Oh, it's great, right? And I actually think when my friends and family come to visit me from Ohio, they’re really not coming to visit me, I think they're actually coming to see the store.

Tyler: Same!

Hope Margala: Yeah, it's true, right? But would love for you to stop by and see us, it would be great, so.

I do want to, before we jump in and start on the questions, I do want to talk about a couple things about our fall collection, and then my new favorite thing at Yankee Candle. Is that okay?

Tyler: Yeah, absolutely.

Hope Margala: ‘Cuz I'm not really sure how this goes, right. It’s the first time I've done it. OK! I’m a little nervous. But I want to start with fall. So our fall fragrances just launched a couple weeks ago. And the new favorite I bought [illegible]. The new favorite is Honey Clementine. So. If you haven't tried Honey Clementine, it is great. It is a crisp orange fragrance with just like a little dip a honey on it, so it gets just a little bit of sweetness, and, you know we love all of our fragrances, they’re kind of like our kids. We like some more than others. And often we have a lot of debates. Because some people like more foodie fragrances, some people like more fresh fragrances. This is a fragrance just about everybody in our office agrees on. Our head of finance next door, Lisa. Always loves the food fragrances. Not my favorite. But this one we both agree on and love. I have this one in my kitchen right now in a ScentPlug, and also in our new reeds. And it just smells amazing. I absolutely love it.

Tyler: Can I smell it?

Hope Margala: Yeah! (Like you haven’t smelled it!)

Tyler: Ooh, I love it! I know, I smell them all.

Hope Margala: Yeah, it's hard not to.

Tyler: I know. I feel like I can't look at a candle without like having to smell it.

Hope Margala: Yeah, you kind of do. Yeah. Oh, and have you seen the new label?

Tyler: I have! So, there's been some exciting new changes that have been happening at Yankee Candle lately, including a new look on the jars. Do you want to tell our fans kind of a little bit about the process behind that new look?

Hope Margala: Yeah, so you know, we've spent a lot of time talking to our customers. And we talked to them around the U.S. We talked to them in our stores. Oh, by the way, shout out to all of our stores. We talked to them in all of our stores, we talked to them in, sometimes, in some focus group settings, we talked to them all the time. And one of the things that we heard from a wide variety of people is they were saying that we wanted to update the candle a little bit, make it fit more in my home decor. A little bit more home decor friendly. So we did a lot of versions, and talked to a lot of customers, and we came up with the new look and the new logo. And, you know, well, I've heard mixed reviews. Um, what I would tell you is, you know, change is always hard. And in the beginning, the first time I saw it, I was like, Oh, this is different, but I have to tell you, now that I've been looking at it for over a year and a half—’cuz that's how long it takes to do these kind of things—I've fallen in love with it.

Tyler: I’m obsessed with it. I love the way it looks in my home. It fits in more with kind of my décor, and my style is a very clean and simple look.

Hope Margala: Yeah, it really is. And it looks pretty. The other thing is um, the new labels, for some people who don't like a label look, although I do, but don't like label—they are removable. So that's great too.

Tyler: Well that’s great to know.

Hope Margala: Perfect. It really is.

Tyler: And you have something else that you want to talk to us about, your favorite thing at Yankee Candle.

Hope Margala: Oh my gosh. Okay, well, I do. So this is like my new obsession, everybody, like, gets obsessed with something—I am obsessed with our personalized candles. So, um. I think I mentioned I was from Ohio, so this is actually a picture of my family when we were on vacation a couple years ago, on the beach, but—you know what, our Personalized Candles, we launched them last fall, and what it is—it's so simple, you just go to Yankee and you pick your favorite candle shape, either the straight sided jar or the apothecary jar, either of them; and then you pick your fragrance, and then you upload a picture and type in some words. And it's really that simple, and it's done. And, honestly, obsessed is putting it mildly. Just got back from a family trip and, so—for my family out there, there are candles on the way to you right now that I just finished doing the other night, with some photos from holiday. So, they're great, they're perfect birthday gift, perfect gift to commemorate occasion, whether it's a graduation, a wedding, a birth—they're just amazing. And look, I look at them myself, I should be showing them to you. Do you see, I'm not very good at this just yet! But: they are amazing.

Tyler: I'm obsessed with Personalized. I literally Personalize for everything. A ton of my friends just graduated college, and I sent them all Personalized Candles. One of my friend released a song on iTunes, so I put the, kind of, the cover art on the candle, and gave it to him as a gift. So you can really use them for anything.

Hope Margala: Yeah, it really is. Um. I gotta quit doing it because people are getting way too many candles in my family. But—

Tyler: People know, getting a gift from Hope, it's going to be a Personalized Candle! You have another new fall favorite.

Hope Margala: Oh my gosh. I started telling everybody about it, I picked it up by accident, but: Crisp Fall Night. So this fragrance is amazing. It is a little like woodlandy, woodsy; a little bit of lavender, but then it has a little bit of a cologne feel and, ah, [sniffs candle] okay. Sorry, I have to do it.

Tyler: Fans have been calling it the new boyfriend candle. For those you have been following us, a couple—about a year ago, we had a trend called the boyfriend candle, and someone on Tumblr called Mountain Lodge our boyfriend candle. But recently we've been getting a lot of Tweets and comments that this one is the new competitor for the boyfriend candle.

Hope Margala: Really! That's not a bad thing to be. So, for you girls looking for boyfriends, right here! Um, so there's a bunch of other fall fragrance, the Candied Pecans fragrance, um, super sweet, kind of food-like fragrance, a couple—Autumn Gathering, it's a fresh fragrance also great, but— I would just encourage you all to check them out, because they're amazing. So. But can we get to some questions, because there are some questions that I really want to talk about.

Tyler: Perfect. So earlier this week we posted, and we asked you all to kind of send us in your questions so that we can have Hope be prepared, and answer some of your questions. And there were a lot of questions in particular on one theme that you wanted to address to the fans this morning.

Hope Margala: Absolutely. So, by far and away, the number one question you had was about fragrance. And you asked about it in a bunch of different ways, and I'm going to try to address as many of those as I can. Questions like, your fragrances aren't as strong as they used to be, your fragrances don't fill the room like they used to. Other questions about, you know, your fragrances aren't all the same intensity, was one of them. Another question that I read was about, are your candles fragranced all the way through, because, you know, I heard someone say they may not be. So, I'm going to try to answer all of these, but, before I do, I'm going to ask all of you a favor along the way. So, I just want you to be ready for that, and I hope you'll help me because I can't do anything to change anything, or make anything better at Yankee Candle, if I can't have your help. So, is that okay, if I ask a favor?

Tyler: Absolutely, ask away.

Hope Margala: All right. Okay. So, I'm going to take it from the top. I'm going to start with, your candles aren't as fragranced they used to be. Super straightforward. So, here's what I can tell you. I mentioned when we started that I have been here since 2009, and it no time since 2009 have we ever taken fragrance out of our candle. We've not taken the percent of fragrance we load, we have not taken the quality of fragrance we load out of our candle. and I know that to be fact and that is absolutely true. But what I can tell you is, even though I know that's true, if what you sense and what you feel are our fragrances aren't as strong as they used to be, I want to know about it. And here's what I'm going to ask you to do. This is when the favor comes in.

Tyler: Okay. Listen everybody.

Hope Margala: Okay. What I need you to do is, I need you to email me which fragrances, and it's really important it goes on email, because we're going to try to record this in a really orderly way. I need you to email which fragrances you feel are not as strong as they used to be, and I need you to email those to, we listen—w. e. listen—at Yankee Candle dot com. What I'm going to do with those is I'm going to ask the product development team and the quality team to get together and evaluate those fragrances. We have some old samples back, and take a look at them, because when we look at fragrances, we look for a combination of great fragrance and clean burn, and we want to make sure all those fragrances still have all of those properties. so again, one more time, because this is really important to me, it's we listen at Yankee Candle dot com. And all you have to do—you don't even have to tell me what your name is if you don't want to, but you can—is just, you know, blah blah blah, fragrance. And then we will compile that list together, and we'll start looking at them. Sound like a plan, Tyler?

Tyler: Sounds like a plan! And I'll post all the information on our Facebook page for everybody to see. So you, you can all let us know what fragrances.

Hope Margala: Great thanks. Okay, I'm gonna keep going because there are a lot of fragrance questions and I want to get to them. The next one was um, all of your fragrances aren't as intense. Some of them are lighter and some of them are softer. And that is absolutely the case. Just like I told you before, that Lisa and I very rarely agree on the type of fragrance, she likes sweet, I like fresh. Intensity is another thing we focus on, and we want to do that, on purpose. We want to have some more subtle fragrances, some more softer fragrances, and then we'd like to have some bolder, more intense fragrances. So fragrances kind of do run the gamut some intentionally or softer and subtle, and some are bolder and a little stronger. I saw a great comment from somebody on Facebook, and I wish I would remember their name and I don't, so I apologize to whoever you were, because this was a great idea. And the idea was, to think about looking at them and kind of rating them like coffee like light roast medium roast and dark roast. Yeah and so if the product development teams are listening I think that's a good idea. And I think we should think about something like that. It may not be exactly like that. But I think that was really a great suggestion, and something we should take a look at to start, to try to help steer people to bolder fragrances. There are a couple that are so bold like I can't even use ‘em. But, you know, I think there it's important to have a range, is what's really important.

Tyler: Agreed.

Hope Margala: One last thing on fragrance that I want to talk about, because this is the one that, like, ‘urgh!’ drives me crazy, and it's the—well actually didn't get as a question it was more of a, it was more of a question because they had heard it. They didn't express it. And it was, Are your candles fragranced all the way through? And I am so passionate about this one, because there are other candle companies, and I would never name anybody else, but they don't fragrance their candles all the way through. There are a lot of folks that take a candle and just top it with a heavier fragrance, or have a core that's not as fragranced—that is not how we do it at Yankee Candle. And there's a video, actually, that we've shot of the plant and and Tyler I would love for you to post that on Facebook if you can—

Tyler: Absolutely, I can post that.

Hope Margala: —it's a video that shows how we mix our fragrance into our wax, and then how little time we leave our fragrance open, so it goes right into the candle, the wax blend and the fragrance. So, it is all the way through and we can show you even our candle being filled which would be another great video to show, of it being filled, and it is the same wax at the very bottom of the jar, of the middle of the jar, and the top of the jar. So you get the same fragrance all the way through and um, you can tell like that one is, I'm really passionate about, because when I go to the plant, and, like, I try to go there as much as possible and I don't go there enough so, again, also, shout out to the folks at the plant, because they're amazing. Our candles all are made right here down the street, just like a mile and a half away from our office, and they do a great job in doing it. And they are just as passionate about the candles and the fragrances as we are here at the office.

Tyler: I love going to the plant because you can just smell everything that's going on in there, and there's so many candles being made. I feel like, it's like our Willie Wonka, almost. You step in and it's this whole new world.

Hope Margala: It really is. Although, it's tough when you come out, you smell like the plant, right—

Tyler: For like two days, I feel like.

Hope Margala: Did I ever tell you about the time I went to get Indian food, like, after I was at the plant, and I went right there and I walked in, and they said, “Someone smells like Yankee Candle!” It was a little embarrassing.

Tyler: You were like “er, ah, it’s me.”

Hope Margala: “It’s me!” Kind of embarrassing.

Tyler: So, we also have some fans on Instagram that have a question. So ‘autumn 365 days of holiday’ from Instagram wanted to know, ‘Will all the Halloween collection be released at once on August 27, or will more Halloween items be released throughout the season?’

Hope Margala: So, they will all be released on August 27, all together, at once; and I did snag a sample of the candle. Again the, you know, the products development team’s like walking in their office going, ‘where, where's my sample?’

Tyler: ‘Where’d everything go?’

Hope Margala: But I did grab one, and what I grabbed was our newest fragrance, and this is called Forbidden Apple. Kind of a crisp, granny smith apple, in this incredible jar. So a little bit of glow. I think it comes in a different—

Tyler: Yes, we also have it in Pillar.

Hope Margala: Oh look, I have a sample! So, it also comes in a pillar candle, and—sorry, this is what we do. We smell every candle that we open.

Tyler: I love this, it’s green for—

Hope Margala: But, it's great. This is, this will be out there along with, I believe, 10 new Boney Bunch items.

Tyler: 10 new Boney Bunch. It's our ninth year of Boney Bunch this year, we have 10 new pieces, and on August 25 we're going to be doing an exclusive Facebook Live. We're going to reveal them all to you before the 27th.

Hope Margala: Yeah. They would not let me. I truly am not exaggerating when I tried to sneak a Boney Bunch out of the Accessory Product Development office and they would not give it to me.

Tyler: They're hard to get!

Hope Margala: But there's one I like, I'll tell you which one it is later, but. You know what, have you seen the wine candles?

Tyler: I have! I'm obsessed! So now we have wine candles, we have them here.

Hope Margala: Okay, so these are wine candles, you know what's really great about them, they are really actually pairings that go with wine. So the one I'm holding is Spiced Honey & Oak, and I think it's meant to go with Chianti. Actually, I think it'll go with any red wine, but it's amazing.

Tyler: Yeah, I have Fig & Black Currant.

Hope Margala: And you now, what we've heard is, people like to use candles on their dining, but they want a fragrance that goes with the food, and the experience. So some of them are contrast some of the food, and these fragrances were really designed to go with food and also go with the wine pairing. So it's really, they’re…

Tyler: It’s sniff, sip, and slice. Cheers.

Hope Margala: God this is so, you are so corny, I can’t stand it. “Sniff, sip, and slice.”

Tyler: I love it. So, holiday is coming up, and Jennifer from Facebook wanted to know, ‘What will be the new trends for holiday this year?’

Hope Margala: Okay, so for holiday this year, so um, it is all about bold. It's about bold patterns, bold designs, it's kind of a, you know, it's all about party. It's like a holiday party. And when you think about it, you know, the bright reds, you know, high energy kind of greens, bold plaids, you know, black and whites, and there's a whole lot of things. And we're, what we did when we were doing the fragrance work for holiday, is make sure that we had fragrances that really fit into that. So one of my favorite ones, I brought along with me, shock.

Tyler: Which, no one has seen this fragrance yet. This is an exclusive. Hope is about to reveal one of the new holiday collections.

Hope Margala: This is called Bubbly Pomegranate. And again: it is great. It has just, like, a kind of, what do I want to say? Like, just an effervescent quality at the top note? It is just amazing. Here, have you smelled that lately?

Tyler: No I haven't.

Hope Margala: I love it.

Tyler: Ooh, it's very berry.

Hope Margala: Yeah, very, very berry.

Tyler: Yeah, very berry. I love that.

Hope Margala: Lisa will love it.

Tyler: Yeah, that’s totally a Lisa fragrance.

Hope Margala: It is a Lisa fragrance. Absolutely. So those will be great. We also have a couple others I brought—again, not supposed to be showing anybody, but um: All is Bright, another great fragrance, very fresh, and then a crisp, citrusy smell. It's great. And then also, the last one I'll show today is called Christmas Thyme. And it is a nice thyme kind of scent, and in a beautiful new green for us. So, a lot of great holiday fragrances. Okay, sorry, am I talking too much?

Tyler: So I’m actually gonna dive in live. I'm gonna take that phone there, and dive in live, to answer some questions.

Hope Margala: You know, while Tyler is doing that, I'll tell you a couple other things. I got a question from somebody that I read, I think it was this morning, which was, they tried to get Balsam & Cedar, and was that going away. That is my favorite holiday fragrance. So the truth is, it's not going away. And as long as I'm at Yankee Candle, I don't pull much rank, but it actually is our best holiday fragrance, just so you know, but that fragrance won't go away. It's one of our truest and it's one of the ones that sells the best for us. So whoever that was, again, I'm sorry, I don't remember your name, but Balsam & Cedar will be back this holiday, and probably shipping sometime soon to stores, actually.

Tyler: Yes. Okay. So, we're going to take some questions from you guys live right now. Megan wants to know,

Hope Margala: What is your all-time favorite scent, not just holiday or seasonal?

Hope Margala: Okay. So, people always ask me this, like when I meet people like on an airplane, and ‘what do you do?’ And I say I work for Yankee Candle. They always say, ‘What's your favorite fragrance?’ And like I said earlier, it's hard because they're kind of like your kids, you love them all. I have, I'm going to do my, like, 30-second: My favorite year-round fragrance is Soft Blanket. Oh my gosh, it is just so beautiful. And it's just very fresh. And it just, I can't even describe it. I love it so. So that's like, if I if you made me only have one year round, but then. This is how it rolls. So in spring, I kind of start with some of the florals, I have Lavender Vanilla, Lemon Lavender, kinda go into lilac-y, you know, around Mother's Day, my mom—one of my mom's favorite fragrances, so I always kind of bring that around Mother's Day. And then I am ready for the beach, so I go right to Sun and Sand after that.

Tyler: I love Sun and Sand.

Hope Margala: Oh, I know. And I know there are a lot of Pink Sands people, and Pink Sands is great, but it's not Sun and Sand, that's all I'm saying. So then I go into Sun and Sand, and then, after that, there's kind of for me a lull, and that's where Honey Clementine fits in so well for me, because, you know in August, like, I just came back from the beach, so I'm ready for something. but I'm not ready for fall yet. So Honey Clementine works there, right into Autumn Wreath. And then, you guys just heard, Balsam & Cedar. It's the best.

Tyler: Perfect. We have another question, from Kareena. She says, “Hi! I'm absolutely loving this. I would love to know, what does Hope’s morning routine look like? How does she prepare for a productive day?

Hope Margala: That’s a little scary. Um. Okay. So I get up. I try to work out, but that would be a lie on most days. But actually, my day starts pretty early. We have a pretty big European business. So shout out to the team, also, in Europe. And our office in Bristol and in Milan, and in France. Good to, hope all of you guys are watching. But I usually have a call first thing in the morning with our head of Europe, Melanie, and so I talk to her in the morning, and then on a couple days I'm up at five to talk to our head of Asia, Teresa, so, pretty early mornings and get some, get calls out of the way. And then I get in here and it just, every day is different. It just depends what the meetings are. Sometimes I'm in meetings with the brand and product team, sometimes with our retail stores folks—I've been in a meeting the past couple days with our retail stores teams, looking through our store portfolio, and that's been a lot of fun. And then, you know, sometimes finance meetings, supply chain meetings, I’m in a lot of meetings!

Tyler: Yeah, you're a hard person that meet with!

Hope Margala: Yeah, and I travel a ton. So out, you know, seeing stores, seeing customers, and then I'm seeing our teams in Europe and Asia.

Tyler: Perfect. We're gonna take one more question. Scott wants to know, what's been your favorite memory so far with Yankee Candle?

Hope Margala: Oh my gosh. There's so many .Um, oh, I have a recent one. You know this one. And actually, I'm probably going to embarrass Tyler on this one a little bit. So, um, I got an email, I'm going to make this up because I can't remember when it was, but let's call it, like, six months ago, right? And it was an email from a gentleman whose friend, he had a friend, whose wife had passed away, unfortunately. And his wife loved Yankee Candles. And so, I think this article was on some women's magazine online too, and what he and his daughters did is, they took all of her Yankee Candles and melted the wax down, and made a candle with all of the fragrances of Yankee Candle in it. And it was really heartwarming, and I was touched, and so I sent a note back to him, and I asked him what the fragrances were. And he told me and so we got the fragrances together and sent them off to him. So, but you know, just so he has another memory of his wife and then, I'll get choked up, because this really is pretty cool, because it tells you a lot about our company. And then about a month after I sent those, I got a note back from him telling me what kind of company I had the pleasure of working with, because it was great, you know, our office sent him some candles, but that wasn't the best part. One of our store managers send him a candle, and I believe, Mr. Tyler, you yourself sent him a candle, personalized candle.

Tyler: Yes, with a photo of his wife.

Hope Margala: Yep, with a photo of his wife, and it just was so touching, and, you know he sent me you note just thanking me and just telling me about the incredible and—I think one other person on there, and then this was—everybody did it on their own, it wasn't like they, the company did it, you know, people did this on their own, and paid for them on their own, and sent them, and I just thought that was amazing, and it just tells you the kind of company and the kind of people we work with, so. Bar none, that was probably my favorite memory.

Tyler: Well thank you so much for sharing that.

Hope Margala: Thank you for doing it, I really appreciate it.

Tyler: Oh, you’re welcome. It was a great moment.

Hope Margala: That’s what a great team does, right?

Tyler: Exactly. I think that's kind of the beauty of Yankee Candle is we're all so passionate about our fragrance, but we’re also passionate about our product, but even more so we're so passionate about the people that love the product, and the fragrances, as much as we do.

Hope Margala: So, don't forget—so, I know you're getting ready to sign off, but I don't want folks to forget, we do want to hear, so. Please, please:, email those [illegible] so we can get to work on it, as soon as we can.

Tyler: And thank you so much, Hope, for joining us today. Thank you all for tuning in. You can follow along with all of us, we're going to be doing a lot more Halloween reveals, we’ll have some holiday reveals coming up soon, so stay tuned to us on Facebook and if you're on Snapchat, Twitter, or Instagram we’re there at: The Yankee Candle. And, again, thank you Hope, and we will see you all soon.

Hope Margala: See ya!