Here, Armstrong discusses her creative process, the inspiration behind her brand’s award-winning marble candle, and more.
Most brand founders have the mind of an innovator, the passion of a visionary, and the dedication of a leader. Blair Armstrong, founder of Gilded Body, can add another trait to the list: the heart of an artist. Her elegantly handcrafted candles and body care products not only upgrade the self-care experience, but resemble a piece of art. Marble, her medium of choice, represents everything she hopes each product exhibits: strength, luxury, and beauty.
“I want to impact how people look after themselves and encourage a balanced, enjoyable approach to body care,” says Armstrong. From the rich Supreme Body Balm to the chic Marble Candle—Coveteur’s Beauty All-Stars winner for “Scent Standout”—Gilded Body's offerings act as a guide to curating a spa-like experience in your home.
Ahead, Armstrong unpacks the brand’s early feats, what sets Gilded Body apart in the very crowded beauty industry, and how she keeps herself motivated.
What inspired you to launch Gilded Body in 2018?
“I really wanted to elevate body care. Doing a nice facial routine is important because it is how we present ourselves to the world, but body care is something that we do for ourselves. I feel rejuvenated after a solid, luxurious body routine. I am also a dermatologist physician’s assistant, which helps set my brand apart. I wanted to make products that I would feel good suggesting to my patients.”
What are some of the things that influenced you while creating the brand?
“My brand is inspired by my love of art, architecture, history, and travel. I am drawn to neoclassical sculpture and it was important to make something that was timeless. Marble to me signifies permanence, which is why it’s my material of choice. We are more likely to use things if they are beautiful. So to captivate my audience, I wanted to make something different and alluring. I take a double-duty approach when I formulate or make products. It is not enough just to look good–it also has to be effective.”
Were there any learning curves you experienced while developing the brand? Was it easier or harder than you expected?
“It was much harder than I expected it to be. There is a lot of trial and error. My first body brush looks very different from its current form. I believe in continuous personal and professional improvement, so I built the business with that idea in mind. I am always looking for how we can be better and deliver more [to the consumer].”
What about when specifically creating the marble candle? Was it the same type of experience?
“When we buy things, I believe that it is an opportunity to make a statement about who we are and what is important to us. I used to buy what was new and trendy. Then I had an epiphany and decided I wanted to fill my life and my space with things that matter and are important to me. My brand is the perfect marriage of form and function. I love candles and it is the perfect complement to a relaxing evening routine.”
Gilded Body's marble candle.
Photo: Courtesy of Gilded Body
How do you go about selecting the scents for each candle?
“The candles are refillable and any scent can be used in either of the marble variations. So you can get a vessel you like paired with a scent based on your mood or an occasion. There are seasonal scents as well. For example, the holiday collection was developed over the past few years when travel restrictions were in place and are designed to be escapism to classic holiday destinations.”
I love how the marble candles are refillable and the body brushes can be reused endlessly. Why is sustainability such an important aspect of your brand?
“I think it goes back to what I was saying earlier in that trends come and go, but classics are forever. It is important for the environment and it is an opportunity to make a statement about what is important to us with how we spend our money. We do not have infinite resources and it is important to use what we have wisely.”
How do you know when a product is ready to launch?
“Oh, I don’t. I have learned that perfection is not realistic. I think to myself, is this the very best that I can do with what is available to me? Is this excellent? Is this representative of who I am and what I want to build? If that answer is yes, then I send it out.”
It’s rare to see handcrafted products on the market nowadays. Why was this such an important element to include when developing your brand?
“I guess it is just who I am. Handcrafting allows me to be meticulous and see the details. Maybe I am an artist at heart. It is fulfilling to work with your hands. There is a sense of purpose and satisfaction and you can connect with the materials.”
Every piece is a little bit different that way.
“Yes! I pick all the marble slabs and it’s amazing to see them turned into something else. It is exciting to me when I have a relationship with my things. I don’t want to just shop to shop. Everything has its purpose. I evolved into curating my life and my home by choosing things that represent me.”
What type of impact do you hope Gilded Body has on the beauty industry? What are you hoping to achieve with the brand?
“I am [hoping] to make an impact on how people practice body care and to help them reimagine the experience. I want to make it as lauded and coveted as luxury face care. I want to open up the dialogue about how important taking care of ourselves is to our lives and our being. It is great to be known and to be recognized, but it’s also important to me to do good work. And I think my work is good. I don't intend for my brand to be a fad.”
Photo: Courtesy of Gilded Body
Gilded Body's marble candle.
Carrera White Marble Candle
“These are beautiful, hand-crafted products that feel high-end while still being affordable. I’m obsessed with the candles—not only do they smell amazing, but they’re a beautiful room accent that’ll improve any aesthetic. I wish I could keep this brand a secret!” —Nyakio Grieco, Co-Founder of Thirteen Lune