Meet Steph! | Stamford Moms

Jennifer Zarine Photography

How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
I have one daughter – she’s 2.5 going on 13!

What do you love about living in Stamford?
I’m from Austin, Texas where the four seasons are hot, hotter, way too hot, and a one-week cool front in January. What I love most about Stamford, aside from the sense of community, is that we can finally enjoy four seasons and spend so much time outside throughout the year!

What’s your favorite restaurant and/or place to shop in Stamford?
My favorite restaurant has got to be FreshCo. It was the first place we tried when we moved here over two years ago, and the owner, Fafar, instantly made us feel like family. Since then, her special weekend Persian menu has become a tradition for our family, with my daughter running in for a big hug each time we come to pick it up.

Kouzina, a Greek kitchen, is our go-to for authentic gyros (fries inside!), assyrtiko wines, and reminiscing about our honeymoon in Greece .

Tell us about Laurel & Vine Candle.
Laurel & Vine is my passion project. I hand craft what I call slow luxury, eco-friendly candles and use the proceeds to support communities and causes that are close to my heart – things like carbon offsets, the American Ballet Theatre Crisis Relief Fund, and the Arbor Day Foundation to name a few. I put extensive research, testing, and time into every step from sourcing materials to shipping out orders, to reduce the full value chain environmental impact and ensure ethical standards. For example, we only use wax made of soy and organic coconut waxes – no hidden paraffin or palm – and source 100% recycled and recyclable packaging for shipping.

Kaitlyn Casso Creations

Where did you get the idea for the business?
I first had the idea to start Laurel & Vine when I discovered that the “clean” candles in my home included ingredients I wasn’t fond of, like petroleum-based paraffin, plastic heavy processes, and phthalates. After a disappointing search for sophisticated eco-friendly candles that didn’t contain those ingredients, I decided to make them myself! I started with the values I hold close to home – the environment, the health of my family, and supporting communities in crisis — and built on very conscious and sustainable crafting and processes that give back. You’ll never fine phthalates, paraffin, or plastic in our products or packaging, and every single purchase sends funds directly to impact organizations.

Your candles are “eco-luxe” tell us a little about that and how they help to support a healthy planet.
I love little luxuries, and I believe we can indulge while still honoring the health of our homes and our planet. Laurel & Vine candles are the epitome of a little luxury – a substantial, easily repurposed vessel filled with the creamiest wax and blended with modern fragrances that transform your space. What makes Laurel & Vine candles unique is that this little luxury is crafted in extremely small, carbon neutral batches, ensuring the highest quality and sustainability of every single candle. We go even further and commit proceeds from each candle to carbon offsets and impact organizations.

What is your favorite candle scent?
Such an impossible decision! I love to use fragrance to set intention – do I need an energy boost? How do I want to feel? — But I can sat that Studio is delicate and so balanced that it’s become a home office staple for me during the work from home new normal. One that I equally love and reach for is Revival, which is an upcoming fragrance that’s a custom, grounding blend of lavender, sage, and palo santo.

How do you juggle work and mommyhood?
This is a dream, right?! Right now, it’s a constant juggle between my “day job” in clean energy venture capital, starting my own business, being a mommy, wife, friend and trying to keep something left over to be an individual. I rarely get it right, but when I do it’s because I’ve managed to understand my priorities, share them with my husband and teammate, and put everything I need to do in the context of what matters most. Something has to give — I’m going to drop something – but if I know what matters most, then I can accept the things that just don’t happen and I can be really happy with the things that do.

What’s the best piece f advice you’ve gotten from another mom?
Savor the hard moments because they become the cherished moments. Now, do I always have the capacity to do that in the moment?…

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