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What's your secret question?

Not the one that you're dying to ask. I'm talking about the one that you are waiting to be asked!

Everyone has one. It's the question that, when uttered, stops the person in their tracks. Their ears perk. Their heart palpitates. Their pupils dilate. When they turn towards you, mouth open to begin their answer -- their eyes are alight with fire from within!

My secret question is, "Quinn, what is your favorite brand?"

He who asks this, unbeknownst to him, has just committed himself to 30 minutes of learning. :) (Great if you want to learn about brands and what makes an excellent one -- bit of a bummer if you were just casting about for casual small talk.)

My favorite brand is Diptyque. I'll explain everything -- first, the glorious product, and then the strong brand behind it.

In a sound bite, Diptyque is a French perfumer famous for its candles. They don't advertise, so people discover them through things like watching Stefano Pilati (of YSL) prep his studio for Anna Wintour's arrival with Diptyque's Baies candles… or reading that Victoria Beckham used 60 of their Figuier candles on the stairs to accent her Fall 2012 show at the New York Public Library.

THE CANDLES

I'm a candle enthusiast -- learned it from my mom. I love the fine fragrances, luxe heavy glass, romantic flames, and ambience that candles provide. (If it sounds a bit bougie, it is… 'bougie' is the French word for 'candle' (; ) But let's face it, candles as a category are a luxury -- they have little function, and high quality candles are usually $$$. What keeps us Diptyque fans so devoted?

1. Superior throw (the distance a scent travels). An unlit candle fills my office with fragrance, while a lit one downstairs easily reaches the second floor of our house.

2. Intoxicating scents. Diptyque offers 50 scents -- each singular, though as a collection it's cohesive because all Diptyque's candles are inspired by nature and memories of the founder's travels (lots of Greece and Vietnam representin' in particular!)

3. With a smart tap, Diptyque candles pop out of their jars. Now sniff the jar -- it's the Diptyque way to smell the scent of a candle!

4. The design of the votives inspires many an online tutorial for repurposing into flower bud vases or makeup brush holders. Note that the charming misaligned typography is not the same for all candles -- some letters are staggered, others are stacked, some rise in arcs -- design interpretations of each scent.

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THE BRAND

Even when the candle's good, you still don't fall in love with just anybody, am I right? Diptyque, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways… 4 reasons why I admire the Diptyque brand:

1. Brand Apostles. As I mentioned, Diptyque does not advertise. They don't need to because their customers sing their praises like, all the time (#meta). The brand is heavily associated with creatives and the fashion world -- see it photographed in blogs, included in magazine editor's picks, in the background of designers' homes… For fun, here are some cool cats & their favourite scents:

Karl Lagerfeld - Pomander
Pierre Herme - Feu de Bois
Catherine Denevue - L'Ombre Dans L'Eau
Manolo Blahnik - Tubereuse
Me - (hehe -- c'mon!) L'Ombre Dans L'Eau

2. Limited editions & accessories have real value. I HATE it when a brand hastily puts together some half-assed subpar "limited edition" package to meet holiday deadlines or worse, a keychain strap that has the no purpose other than to ride on the brand's name and increase sales by appx .0001%. Diptyque's accessory offerings are truly luxurious and useful -- even their candle lid, which I have to admit surprised me with its heft. The limited editions I have purchased -- Rose Duet (Valentine's 2013) and Joie (currently available) -- are a genuine pleasure to own.

3. Consistent identity. They translate the iconic black & white scheme, the typography, and the oval in many ways. Though there have been many new releases over the past few years, each has remained true to heritage: capturing some exotic nuance of travel abroad; always artsy; and the social media even continues to use French when appropriate.

4. Good business. Manzanita acquired Diptyque in 2005 -- and I admit I get a bit nervous whenever companies start pursuing profits, public offerings, and the like (#BMW). But Diptyque keeps it real. Diptyque defines who their audience is, and fills their niche. They value their customers by providing superior quality, and never succumb to vapid offerings. They, like Apple, shatter the price-volume demand curve by pricing at the top of the category, yet selling a lot! And finally -- they nurture their relationships with great customer service. I love my local Nordstrom's rep, because she is super knowledgeable about the brand, clearly proud of it, noted my favorite perfume scent, and even gifted me with a mini candle.

Conclusion: run, don't walk, people! Oh and also -- follow me on Bloglovin'! :D

What's your favorite brand? :)