It all started with Game of Thrones.
In early 2015, when Zietz saw that her friend Zack Bolotin of Porchlight Coffee and Records had posted that he had started to make candles, she was intrigued, and asked him to teach her the craft in exchange for the unlimited use of her HBO Go account. Just six months later, she had her official business license, and was making and selling candles under the name The Dank Crystal, with a logo designed by Bolotin to boot.
Every Dank Crystal candle contains a small purified crystal embedded within, which can be removed after the candle has melted. Zietz melts the wax for every candle on her stove at home, using soy wax and scents that she purchases from the University District shop Zenith. Just recently she invested in her first wax melter, which she describes as a major game-changer. She plays music while making her candles so that each one can soak in positive energy. “I believe in the power of music,” she says. (Curious readers should check out the playlist of “Dank Vibes” Zietz put together for Seattle Weekly readers on Spotify.)
Perhaps appropriate for a candlemaker, Zietz has a warm, effulgent presence, with a glow in her eyes when she talks about her love for Seattle’s music community. By day she works in publicity at Sub Pop, a job she dreamt of and worked toward since moving to town 13 years ago. A “connector” by vocation, Zietz is excited to now find herself a part of Seattle’s network of makers: “I feel like I’ve been part of the music community for a long time now, so to be able to see a different community and be welcomed in that has been really awesome.” She’s a member of Seattle Made, a collective of local producers, and will be showcasing her wares at the upcoming Renegade Craft Fair, December 17–18 at Magnuson Park.
Zietz draws inspiration directly from her love of nature and the Pacific Northwest with fragrance names like Golden Garden, Cascadia, and In the Pines. As evidenced by the name of her company, she’s also inspired by weed culture. Dank Crystal candles are perfect for covering up other dank scents, she says.
And they frequently find their way into the hands of the many talented musicians in her orbit. “I really like the idea of a candle-sponsored band!” she says with a laugh, counting METZ, Protomartyr, and King Tuff among her roster of official “Dank Crystal-sponsored” artists. Besides being available at many local boutiques and online at dankcrystal.com, her offerings can be purchased at the Sub Pop store at SeaTac International Airport, which has brought her fan mail from visitors from locations as far-flung as Japan and Australia. With wide-eyed awe, she describes how flabbergasted she is whenever someone finds and likes her products. “When someone sends me an e-mail and says, ‘I just found your candles, they smell so good!’, that to me is like the equivalent of someone telling a band, ‘Thank you so much for making this record,’ ” she says. “That’s so cool to me.”