Emma Tringali and Jake Smisloff met at Purchase College more than a decade ago—and have tried to find creative ways to work together ever since. In school that meant playing in a band, but after graduation, when Jake started working as a photographer and Emma as an executive assistant, there were fewer opportunities to collaborate. “We wanted a work/family balance, so I started thinking of ways to make that happen,” says Emma, who fortuitously came upon the book “Possum Living,” about a woman who became a NASA scientist despite her unusual upbringing. “The author and her dad had a candle making studio, which gave me an idea.”
That was in 2016. After scouring Reddit for candle-making recipes, Emma and Jake began experimenting with different aromas and types of wax. When Emma landed on a scent she liked, Jake figured out how to replicate it. They named their candle collection Cave Glow, a reference to simpler times, and began selling them at farmers markets across the Hudson Valley and at design shows near their Brooklyn neighborhood.
The candles—which come in 14 different scents—are crafted with responsibly sourced soy wax and cotton wicks. Demand skyrocketed, especially during the pandemic when they added a line of tapers that come in a dozen different colors. In 2021, the couple, who moved to Accord, leased a space at 25 Broadway in Kingston that serves as both a studio and storefront. In addition to candles, Cave Glow is working on a line of home products like bath bombs, room sprays, and salts.
What makes their scented candles stand out, says the couple, is the intention poured into every jar. “Our scents are based on our lives and stories,” says Emma, who counts Deeply Rooted (violet, leather, sandalwood, vetiver) as her favorite. It was inspired by the couple’s backyard plants, and that feeling that March and April bring, “when you have to push yourself to remember that spring is coming.” There’s also a line dedicated to Valley landmarks like Celestial Catskills (Jake’s favorite) and Woodstock Winterlude. If you can’t get to the store, you can order candles on Cave Glow’s website—or find them at Solstad House in Beacon, Grow in Newburgh, Paper Trail in Rhinebeck, and Maverick Road in Woodstock. “We have so many ideas we want to execute,” says Jake, who hopes to sell local ceramics in the future. “My grandfather likes to say that we put ‘the sizzle on the steak.’ There are a million candle makers out there, but we’ve found a way to make a living at it.”
There are a million candle makers out there, but we’ve found a way to make a living at it.