Meet Folks

publishedabout 1 month ago
11 min read

In partnership with Tamarack Resort

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The story of Folks is one of love, loss, slowing down & dreaming big.

Folks is a new shop and candle studio at 2418 W Main Street. It’s in the West End of downtown Boise, right next door to Good Times Bagels. The small shop in the front offers a selection of clean skincare and makeup products, vintage clothing, and pure beeswax candles, which are handmade just steps away in the adjacent workspace.

Dani and Whitney are the owners of Folks, and partners in life, love, and candle making. Much like the candles they create together, their new space is simple, grounding, and naturally beautiful. You can immediately sense the time, care, and intention that has gone into every detail. Folks is a place where you want to stay awhile, the kind of space that you leave feeling a bit better than when you entered.

Shop in the front

Enter Folks and step inside the small shop space. It’s minimal and warm, despite having concrete floors and walls and a black ceiling. There’s soft touches everywhere – a wavy, cream-colored mirror, tiny plants placed here and there, big windows with natural light.

“We left everything raw because it goes with what we’re trying to convey. What’s really important to us is the inclusivity of gender neutral things – being a queer couple ourselves,” said Dani. “It doesn’t feel super feminine in here. I don’t want men or people who present male to come in here and be put off and think it's not a space for them. That was the point in the design for us, it’s really neutral.”

There’s only a few dozen products on display. On one side you’ll find a big wood and metal shelf holding Folk + Lore candles – the pure beeswax candles that Dani and Whitney make together. There’s short fat candles and tall skinny candles. Some twist, others stand solid. Almost all of their candles are freestanding, with one new exception – a small batch of tall candles in glass containers covered in doodles by a local artist and friend. There’s a few clay candle holders and small pots handmade by local artists. Nearby, there’s a small rack of vintage clothing, curated by No New Vintage, that is refreshed monthly.

On the opposite wall is a selection of skincare and makeup products, spread across similar shelving and a beautiful, minimal table. All of shelving and tables in the space were handmade by Whitney.

“This side is kind of my love child, being an esthetician,” said Dani. “These are all really cool products that I chose because I stand behind the values of the brand.”

All of the products Dani has brought in are from brands that are queer-owned, women-owned, family-owned, and/or Pacific Islander-owned. None of the products are sold on Amazon, or in Sephora or Ulta. And all of the products are made from an herbalist or holistic estheticians or makeup artists. Everything is gender neutral, meaning none of the products are overly masculine or feminine in scent or look. There’s makeup, perfume, body wash, lotions, and oils.

The shop is small and perfectly balanced; the space oozes intention. The time and care that has gone into the products and the furniture on which it is displayed is obvious. The simplicity creates clarity.

A single wall separates the shop from the studio space. There’s two entryways between the two rooms, neither of which have doors. There’s a checkout space in the center of the wall, cut in an arch shape.

“The arch has a deeper, special meaning for me because it was the very first shaped candle we made. And that’s still one of our best sellers. It feels like an homage to that,” said Dani.

Studio in the back

It’s not everyday that you walk into a shop and get a peek at where the magic happens, but that is exactly what you can expect at Folks.

The studio space is 3 times the size of the shop. They’ve organized each station of their candle making process along one wall. There’s the wicking station, where they can cut specific wick lengths for each candle.

The pouring station is next – it’s a large flat surface with shelving below. This is primarily what Whitney does. She lays out molds, which form the shaped and pillar candles, places the wick, then pours hot wax into each mold and leaves them to cure.

Dani’s station is the hand dipping station. There’s a big pot on a warmer with a drying rack next to it. Dani melts down wax and fills the pot all the way to the top. She starts with a wick, cuts it to the size of the candle she wants to make, and then dips it over and over and over to form layer upon layer of the candle. It starts out tiny and becomes whatever size she wants. Usually she makes them to fit into a standard sized candle holder, which is about 20 to 30 dips. She makes tall straight candles, wavy candles, and dual flame candles. She’s also started making little party candles in both a natural color and in rainbow colors by using vegetable powder. Once a candle is the size she wants, she hangs it on the drying rack to cure.

The beeswax station is in between the pouring and the dipping stations. There’s a giant pot on a small table and big blocks of solid beeswax below it. Dani and Whitney get all of their beeswax from Whitney’s family friends’, who have a third-generation apiary in Southeast Idaho, near Rexburg. They receive hundreds of pounds of beeswax blocks from them. Usually when they get it there’s still some debris from the hive in the blocks, so this station is where they filter it again before turning it into candles.

This specific beeswax is one of the things that sets Folk + Lore candles apart from other candlemakers (which are known as chandlers).

Beeswax is a byproduct of bees, it’s created from a wax producing gland located in the abdomen of the bee. The color of the wax begins white and odorless, and over time it becomes a golden color from the honey, pollen, and nectar. It is used for honey storage and to protect the hive. The beekeepers scrape the frames into a big barrel and the beeswax floats to the top, then they take the wax and pour it into a big block mold, and send the blocks over to Dani and Whitney.

This apiary has thousands of hives that have been cared for by three generations of the same family. Their wax has a distinct smell – sweet and earthy – and a deep golden color. Every time Dani and Whitney travel, they seek out other beeswax chandlers just to meet and support them. And in all their travels, they have never seen candles that have the same color or smell as Folk + Lore candles. Dani believes this is due to the age and location of the hives. It’s one of many things that make Folk + Lore candles one of a kind.

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A flicker & a flame

Candles are at the heart of Dani and Whitney’s story. While they specialize in pure beeswax candles, that didn’t come into the picture until 2020. Dani started making soy candles around 2016, mostly out of curiosity.

“I’ve always been attracted to candles, so I just wanted to try making my own,” she said.

She started making soy candles in glass containers and eventually started a small line called Beatwick Candles, which were inspired by the Beatnik generation. Her friend Brigette Nelson, owner of Garden City Projects and co-owner of Hideout, invited Dani to sell her candles in Garden City Project’s former storefront.

“Brigette was so sweet. She was like, let’s get them in here, I want candles in here. So she was the one who kind of gave me the motivation to get my candles out and actually sell them,” said Dani.

Dani brought a batch of her candles to Garden City Projects, and Brigette let her know she was having an art show that night. She suggested Dani set up her candles and hang around for the event, so she could answer any questions and sell some of her candles in person. Dani obliged and watched people come in and fill the space, small talking and mingling. Then Whitney walked in.

“We immediately made eye contact and I was like, magnetically drawn to her right away,” said Dani. They talked, a candle was bought (or maybe gifted, neither of them can remember), and sparks flew – eventually becoming the flame of love.

While Dani enjoyed the process of making candles, something wasn’t quite right.

“Soy wax was big at the time, but there has been controversy between sustainably sourcing and making soy candles, and that was just… it just wasn’t fully aligning with me. But I really liked making them,” said Dani.

Beeswax made its way into their lives at the best and the worst time.

In 2020, Whitney’s mom gifted them a block of beeswax from the family friend’s apiary in Eastern Idaho. Dani had never worked with beeswax before, but was immediately intrigued. She started researching beeswax and working with the block, learning the ancient utilitarian art of making beeswax candles. It was perfect timing in a way, as Dani wanted to keep making candles but did not want to keep using soy wax.

Around the same time, Dani’s mom passed away suddenly and tragically.

“At that point I had so much going on anxiety wise. I just didn't know what to do. And I think that getting that beeswax and creating those candles and having something that I could do… it was something that took my mind off of this terrible thing that had happened,” said Dani. “It was meditative, but therapeutic. And I just found that that was one of the only things that was keeping my mind occupied in a positive way.”

Making beeswax candles was something she could focus on simply. It’s a slow, repetitive process of dipping, lifting up, dipping, lifting up – over and over and over.

“So that was really the deeper layer of why I was even doing it. I had no intention to sell them. I had no intention to even put them out into the world. I just figured that making candles was like a season of my life or, you know, just a hobby that I wanted to do. And now it’s turned into this,“ said Dani, gesturing to her new workshop in Folks.

A labor of love

Whitney started encouraging Dani to sell her new candles again, but she wasn’t sure. At the time, they had a skate ramp in their garage and Dani’s candle dipping room was just off to the side. People would come over to skate and see Dani dipping her candles. They would ask her what she was making and if they could buy one. She started posting her candles on Instagram and gifting them to friends and people who came over to skate. The positive feedback started rolling in, along with requests for more. Dani realized that no one else in Boise was making hand-dipped taper candles from pure beeswax, so they decided to go all in and launched Folk + Lore.

Dani and Whitney bought a house and started making all of the Folk + Lore candles in their new garage. It worked for a while, but it was not a sustainable workspace.

In the summer, the garage was super hot. There is no windows and if they opened the garage door, all the bees would come inside to get to the wax. It also was taking way too long for the candles to cure in the heat. In the winter months, it was freezing in there. The candles get finicky in the cold and make little bubbles. When Whitney would pour the wax into the mold, it would immediately dry and create too many imperfections. Dani couldn’t wear gloves while she dipped, because she needed to feel the candle and the gloves would get caked in beeswax. They were left with ideal candle-making weather only a few months of the year, which is not ideal when you’re trying to grow a business.

“At that point, making candles felt like a chore. I didn’t feel inspired and I didn’t feel like the candles were being made with love,” said Dani. “So it was either we’re not going to do this anymore or we’re going to have to find a space.”

Dani and Whitney had just started to talk about finding a studio space when their friend Ashlee Irwin, who owns Good Times Bagels, called Dani and told her the space right next door had just opened up.

“When I first walked into the space I was like, this is tiny. But it’s perfect for what we have, because we only make this amount of stuff,” said Dani.

Opening a brick and mortar store is equal parts exciting and scary. There’s a significant amount of money, time and energy that a physical store requires, and Dani and Whitney both work full time – Folks is still their side project. Whitney is an MRI technician and Dani works in pet insurance Monday through Thursday. They have Folks open Friday through Sunday, and they make candles whenever they can.

“We have no days off. But this is gonna be worth it. I have so much fun in here,” said Dani with a smile. “It’s my goal to make this my full-time thing. For now my small, obtainable goal is three days a week at my regular job instead of four. And then I’ll have one day off.”

Dani and Whitney’s dreams and goals far outweigh the risks of having a physical store and studio. They are focused on paying rent, making candles, and enjoying every moment of the journey.

“Something that I think is special about candles is that they have the ability to set different moods. Candles put you in the present moment,” said Dani. She explained how you light a candle and notice the flame beginning to flicker. You have people over and gather for a lovely meal with candles on the table. Or you light a candle at the end of the night to wind down or while you are cooking dinner. All of those little moments are moments that you create for yourself and that put you in the present moment.

“I think that is also what this space hopes to be,” said Dani. “You come in here to buy a candle – that’s doing something good for yourself. Or you are giving that candle and the opportunity for those moments to somebody else. I mean, none of these products are going to change your life. But those little things, those little moments collectively enhance your life, right?”

You can visit Folks Friday through Sunday, 10am-4pm at 2418 W Main Street, Boise. You can also purchase their candles online at And when you get down to the end of your candle, bring the little bit of beeswax back to Folks so they can recycle it into a new candle.

Thanks for reading!

With love from Boise,


PS the podcast episode for this story will be out soon!


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