I still get asked quite a lot about how Cremate came to be, so I thought why not slap up a quick run through of the conception of Cremate.
I started my creative journey around the age of 15/16. I began interning for a fashion label House of Billiam. I then moved on to clothsurgeon® around a year later, whom I worked with on and off for the best part of 3 and a bit years. During this time I worked in fashion retail and later studied fashion illustration at the London College of Fashion, whilst also interning for a fashion pr company and milliner. I was all about internships. I figured if I did as many as I could as early as I could, I would soak up all this knowledge and use it to my advantage earlier than most. Easier said than done haha. I kinda just ended up being known for interning. I decided to slow down on the interning towards the end of university. I began assisting Nicholas Daley as I revered his work and knew there were values he could teach me that I would need going forward to help fill in the gaps. I went on to work with Kyra TV whilst still in uni on a number of projects and still do to this day. Once I graduated I left fashion retail and did a short stint at a merch company directing visuals and being gaslit (if you know you know). Following on from this I spent a few months freelance; producing content for brands, shooting some music videos and fashion films. I decided to return to fashion retail for stability’s sake and ended up heading the visuals/marketing for the store I was at until Cremate was born.
Whilst working at the aforementioned store in 2019 I was feeling pretty uninspired and battling a crazy sleeping pattern. One night whilst I was up really late and going down one of my usual internet rabbit holes (I always find myself pretty curious about what goes into certain everyday objects and how things are made), I was burning some incense and decided to google what it takes to make it. After a long dive into google and r/incense I felt I had enough of a grasp to conceive a basic scent, ordered the bits needed to do so and got to work.
I found the former mentioned first scent quite appealing so I took it to my retail job to burn. It immediately received praise from my colleagues who were also good friends so I didn't think too much of it still haha. However, many of the customers we had in that day also complimented the smell in the store. At this point I realised there might be something there but still didn't plan to pursue it as a business, or even anything more than a quick vanity project. The final push that did get me to that stage was I had friends working at a Carhartt store around the corner that frequently burn Kuumba incense. Whilst one of these friends had been passing through on a lunchtime visit, she asked if she could take a few to burn in Carhartt. I of course agreed and I kid you not, from that point for around a good few days after I had customers from Carhartt coming to my store looking to purchase the incense everyday. I only had 20 loose cones in my pocket haha, so I told them to give me four weeks just so I can get some form of packaging together and launch a shitty site. The rest is history.
Since then I have just let evolve and do its own thing. I noticed that the brand concept is me - It’s an amalgamation of all the things I’m interested in, all the things I respect and many of my idiosyncrasies. I think that’s what intrigues people about the brand a lot; those who know me well respect it because they see the genuine expressions and ideals that I carry mirrored within it and for those that don’t know me at all but come across the brand appreciate it as they also recognise the humanity within it in some capacity.
I love passing on information and knowledge - and if there's anything I can pass on given my still at the beginning of my journey, I'd say take the leap. Fear and doubt are always mentioned when people talk about starting their own thing and that's normal, but it shouldn't stop you from doing what you want to. Also, making sure you're working to a great standard on the level you are on - you shouldn't try to be overly ambitious straight off the mark, it's better to execute a smaller idea really well than a really big one not so well. I think the worst thing you can do is force something in any capacity, but a gentle nudge every now and then is healthy.
Thanks for reading,