Matthew Malin and Andrew Goetz are the cofounders of Malin + Goetz, a modern apothecary that creates luxury skincare and fragrance products for ecologically and design-conscious individuals. Matthew brings his expansive background as a cosmetic buyer and his management experience to the brand while Andrew’s expertise in design can be seen from various aspects of his life, down to his house containing a collection of books and their equally impressive shelving. On this episode of ‘Vibe Check,’ host Jian DeLeon chats with Malin + Goetz on balancing work and leisure as well as the proper way to use scented candles.
After sharing their recent quarantine reads, Jian and Andrew evaluate the journey of Barneys beginning with the department store’s move to Uptown Manhattan (2:37).
The below interview is a transcribed version of ‘Vibe Check.’ It has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Andrew Goetz: In my mind, the real demise of Barneys is when they abandon 18th Street for Uptown. And it went from being this very unique, specialty retailer to just being a department store for lots of rich people. And, even though they got fancy architects, everything has lost all its kookiness and weirdness and it became very manufactured after that. And when it was downtown, it was a hodgepodge of different things, but that’s what made it so New York and so special. And Madison Avenue sort of was like the first nail in the coffin in my book.
Jian DeLeon: I feel like a lot of other stores and independent shops are pretty much, they’re finding ways to stay focused and stay engaged. I got to ask about this idea of community that you talked about on the blog about throwing dinner parties and things like that.
AG: I think every change is an opportunity for somebody else. Nothing is stagnant. Everything always changes. So I think now we’re in a hyper speed at a very sort of unknown climate for change and we don’t know what’s going to happen. So that’s, I think, scary. But if everything changes, there’s an opportunity for somebody to do something really innovative and different and seize the moment. So there’s always a silver lining and there’s always opportunity.
Matthew, Andrew, and their dog Mr. Greenberg have been living upstate in Hudson, New York, allocating their time between gardening, landscaping, and cooking. The cast emphasize the importance of keeping a routine filled with small pleasures from grooming to reading Maureen Dowd’s interview with Larry David alongside a full page Supreme ad in the Sunday New York Times (8:28). Most importantly, Andrew and Matthew speak to the need for pressure to stay productive, but not to the point of insanity.
With the weather turning chilly in certain parts of the country and everyone staying in, Malin + Goetz share tips on getting the most out of scented candles (13:50). Andrew loves a good ceremonial flair and the sulfur touch of a match, and he notes the importance of trimming wicks. Often, candles should burn no more than three to four hours, and it’s usually time to call it quits when there’s a quarter of an inch of wax left. Otherwise, you risk an explosion when the wick’s metal plate gets overheated against the glass container (15:10).
Matthew Malin: We also use a very high content of perfume oil in all of our candles and there’s a blend of wax, vegetable, bees, soy, and so it holds scent very well. That’s it’s whole point, and you don’t necessarily have to burn a candle to have your room be fragrant. But if you are going to burn, all you really need to do is heat up the oil on the surface and then allow the fragrance itself to disperse. You can burn a candle for a longer period of time than an hour or two, but if the surface is all hot and liquidy, you’re probably good with like 30 minutes and it’ll probably continue to scent the room for a long period of time.
JD: And when can you relight it?
AG: You should wait for the wax to re-harden. If it’s still very liquefied, it’s probably time to choose another candle.
JD: And then you guys mentioned wick trimming, which I suck at. I never know if it’s like I’m supposed to cut it till it’s white or just like the top half, or…
AG: Yeah. If you don’t trim your wick, it causes the candle to smoke a lot and you’re not burning the wax to the intensity of heat that actually makes it very efficient and you end up burning just smoke. You don’t have to be completely obsessive about it, but it’s a really easy thing. Right before you light your candle, cut off the old used part of the wick, which is not good anyway. And just trim it a little bit.
MM: You’ll see we use a cotton wick so it burns much smoother and it’s less toxic. None of it’s toxic, but it’s better for the environment. It’s better for your breathing. But you’ll notice that when, if you reuse the wick a few times and you haven’t trimmed it, it’ll start to split and open up and sort of look like a little flower. You absolutely should trim it at that point because you’re not going to burn it cleanly.
JD: And then am I doing it wrong if I blow out the candle?
MM: No, I don’t think you’re doing it wrong. I mean, you could wet your fingers and then pinch it out. Which the one good thing about that, aside from getting hot wax on something, is that you stop her from sitting or smoking when it’s been blown out. So you’re putting less smoke into the air and you’re allowing the scent to diffuse more cleanly.
JD: Plus that way you just look like a bit more of a badass.
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