With the countdown to Christmas well underway now is the time to finalise those festive finishing touches around the house.
Filled with aromas like fir, cinnamon, mandarin and cloves, scented candles and diffusers provide the perfect atmosphere from the moment your guests walk through the door.
So, if you want your home to smell divine over the holidays, or need some help on which products to use, then who better to chat with than with the lovely Petra Martonova from SVAR:ØG.
Launched in February 2020, Bristol based homeware brand SVAR:ØG has quickly become a firm favourite with Nordic design and lifestyle fans across the UK and Europe, and with a selection of dedicated Christmas inspired candles, room mists, festive decorations and gifts available to order now, it’s over to Petra to tell us more:
Hi Petra, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me today. Can you please start by telling us a little about yourself and your background?
I get asked a lot about where I am from, people usually assume I am Swedish because of the brand’s name, but I was actually born in Slovakia.
From a young age I was passionate about the natural world, as well as art and crafts. Luckily my parents supported me in this direction as I come from quite a creative family. Following in my grandfather’s footsteps, I decided to specialise in photography and when I finished my studies at 21, decided to move to London for work, even though I could not speak any English.
You can argue whether I was too naive or too brave, but now over ten years later I have worked on so many incredible projects, specialising in product photography.
How did SVAR:ØG begin and what was the inspiration behind the brand?
To balance out the pressures of living in the big city I took up practicing yoga and reiki. As you would expect I was always burning lots of candles as well as using essential oils for aromatherapy, and it was during this time I challenged myself to make my own candle at home. Little did I realise where that would take me.
From the outset I knew I wanted to use only natural products, so researched as much as I could about the different types of waxes. In the end I chose soy wax, which is made from soybeans, it also gives a longer burn time, and doesn’t give off any nasty black soot when lit.
As my candle making progressed, creating one candle soon became my own candle line, but always with the view of including my experiences and memories in every product.
Has scent always played a big part in your life? Where and how do you get your ideas for each product from?
Absolutely. Scent is extremely powerful, it connects us to people, places, and experiences, it brings back memories, soothes our soul and stimulates our senses.
I always try to design products that I would buy and use myself, so in each one you will find a bit of me and what I like.
I get inspiration from literally anything, so there really is a SVAR:ØG scent to suit everybody, whether you like something clean and contemporary or something rich and nostalgic.
What are your top tips for making a home smell welcoming this winter?
Every home has its own unique smell. When my friends come over for a visit, they always tell me my home smells like me. I have to laugh because I don’t notice it anymore. However, there’s a couple of things I do to keep my home smell welcoming and cosy.
Firstly, for a quick boost I use an aromatherapy diffuser and a blend of essential oils depending on my mood. When I am stressed and need to unwind, I use lavender oil, when I need something to lift me up, I go for a citrus scent and when I feel a bit heavy headed, I go for peppermint oil. I also use a few drops of eucalyptus oil in my shower too. The hot steam combined with eucalyptus oil opens the sinuses and it’s a great way to boost your energy at the start of the day.
For a constant but subtle scent I have reed diffusers in every room of the house and then of course I light candles every night to make my home feel even cosier.
That said if you don’t have any candles or essential oils over the Christmas period my Dad used to place orange peel on all the radiators. The heat would diffuse the scent beautifully. The smell of orange and tangerine always reminds me of these precious times.
Finally, what are your plans for SVAR:ØG in the year ahead, what can we look forward to seeing. next?
I’ve been working on a number of new exciting scents that I’ll be launching at the start of next year, along with a little packaging tweak.
I’d also love for SVAR:ØG to grow into a broader online platform offering a range of authentic, minimalistic homewares. I am planning on bringing some new non-candle related products to the existing line and collaborating with other independent makers too.
There really is a lot of newness coming next year, so keep your eyes peeled!
Thank you so much to Petra for chatting with me. I personally love the SVAR:ØG Yule candle, and will be using its festive scent to fill my home with Christmas cheer throughout the holidays.
All photography courtesy of Petra Martonova.
Like this post? Then read my Christmas at home with Niki Brantmark from My Scandinavian Home.