Spanish teacher, husband, father and now candle maker, James Campbell

James Campbell

Today we speak to James Campbell of retailer and candle maker, We Took To The Woods.

Born and raised in Normal, Illinois, my parents afforded my two brothers and me so many unique opportunities growing up.  From taking long, cross-country trips to learning a musical instrument to enjoying many different sports our experiences with the world were always growing and expanding.  I never got too serious about any one thing until realizing how serious I thought about language.  Now, I spend most of my year teaching high school Spanish – something that is challenging and something that I love doing.  My wife, Mary, and I live in Greenville, South Carolina where we are raising our now six-year-old son.

A few years ago (well, in 2011) my wife and her family, along with a family friend, opened a retail store in Greenville called We Took To The Woods.  This seemed like a cool experiment to everyone at first – a pop-up shop that we would sell some items out of for a few months – but it has been open ever since.  During the second year we decided to start pouring candles for our store.  This was done out of a friend’s kitchen for a season until we started getting orders from other stores.

We love to work with different scents and come up with interesting names like Gumboots for Winter, Meet Me in the Meadow, Good Day Colonel, Shut the Blinds, etc.  We like to think that our candles stir memories. Scent is powerful in that way.  We hand-pour, hand-label, and hand-package all of our candles in Greenville.  We do this ourselves because we really want it to be done with a specific sensibility – a sensibility that our homes, our store, and our candles are all aligned with.

As for my personal style:

Jeans:  Imogene & Willie, Barton Slim or RRLs

Shirts:  We Took To The Woods new line of shirts

Pants:  Save Khaki

Suits:  Ralph Lauren

Shoes:  Right now, a lot of Spanish espadrilles

Accessories:  Jack Walker sterling and leather bracelet

Outerwear:  Vintage Army Jacket

Favorite Cologne:  No cologne, just a great bar of soap from and some beard oil

Your favorite App: Can I list my favorite books instead?  Papillon (Charriere), Island of the World (O’Brien), For Whom the Bell Tolls (Hemingway)

Favorite piece of technology:  a Moleskine journal and waxed canvas pipe roll

Next tech purchase: A Faber-Castell Pen