Burning a scented candle is an effortless way to create a cozy, luxurious, or tranquil mood in any home. Ember + Element a local candle company, owned and operated by Laura and John Rutkowski who dream up scents that are inspired by their lives and experiences in Savannah and the Lowcountry. The sense of smell is tied closely with our memories. They want their candles to help trigger those memories to take you to your favorite places, favorite times, favorite experiences.  When you spark up Cinnamon Bun, maybe you sit back and the aroma quickly takes you back to a Christmas morning, with cinnamon rolls baking in the oven; or Georgia Sweet Peach Tea reminds you of sitting on a porch with your family on a summer afternoon.

The Rutkowski’s made Savannah their home about 6 years ago and produce their candles right here on Whitemarsh Island. Laura, the creative soul behind Ember + Element, develops the look and feel for the brand and John, a former chef loves the intricacies of mixing fragrances and waxes to develop unique and pleasant aromas. If you weren’t already taken with the elegant packaging or the reminiscent scents they also use non-toxic fragrance oils. Just like the things we eat and drink, what we breath in becomes a part of us.  It is so important to be mindful of that and they are proud to be able to offer home fragrances that are safe to keep burning around you and your family everyday.

You can get your Ember + Element candle by checking out the website, and also keep reading for more locations to purchase a candle in-store and fill your home with a homey aromatic backdrop. Ember + Element will be revealing their new Christmas/Winter seasonal scents just in time to add some holiday cheer into your home and provide you with the perfect gift for others.


Tell us a little about your line and why it is important to have non-toxic and clean burning oils?

Our candles are designed in a beautiful and sensible minimalist style, to add beauty visually and aromatically. Our “Vintage Vessels” are selected for their beauty, and they add a touch more dramatic flair to the environment they are added to.  Using non-toxic fragrance oils has always been a priority for us because, just like the things we eat and drink, what we breath in becomes a part of us. It is so important to be mindful of that and we are proud to be able to offer home fragrances that are safe to keep burning around you and your family everyday. We keep our fragrance line purposefully small, because we want each offering to have a purpose and an impact, but as we expand our offerings we want to dive further into the world of essential oils and aromatherapy to further that connection between our products and the consumer.

What is your favorite candle and why?

It honestly can change daily, but definitely changes with the seasons. Right now we are burning Sweater Weather and Forsyth in Fall nonstop in our house.  It really can be tough to choose though because so many of the candles have deeper significant meanings to us because they have been inspired by our lives in Savannah. Pecan Waffle was inspired by a breakfast with Laura, her mother, and brother at The Breakfast Club on Tybee. Savannah Garden Party was inspired by an afternoon in friend’s yard sharing mimosas next to their flower garden. Mountain Retreat perfectly captures the smell in the air and the feeling when we visit Laura’s mother at her home in South Carolina.

What is your best seller?

Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil is our number one selling fragrance. The name really draws people in when they see it and can instantly connect it with Savannah. The fragrance is a really intoxicating blend and has a nice play of sweet notes and spiced notes that really work well with the Good & Evil name.

How can people purchase your products?

Our website is running 24/7 and we are currently offering free delivery for Savannah residents, including Pooler and the Islands (deliveries typically made on Tuesdays and Thursdays). You can find our products at Milan Day Spa on Broughton St. and at Marsh & Co on Wilmington Island. Of course we will also be doing plenty of local events and pop-up markets including the Marsh & Co Holiday Market (St. Andrews School 11/13), Christmas Made in the South (Convention Center 11/19-11/21), and Home for the Howlidays (Humane Society of Greater Savannah 12/18).

What do you love about Savannah?        

The people and the energy. It is such a welcoming and loving community here, and it offers the attractions, events, and nightlife of a bigger city, but has the charm and laid back vibe of a smaller town. Living on the islands, we really feel the best of both worlds being right outside a vibrant downtown setting and just a few minutes down the road from a chill beach community on Tybee.

What makes you feel accomplished?

Being able to give back to the charities and non profits that we partner with at Ember + Element. When we made the decision to start selling our candles, in the middle of a pandemic, we knew that we had to use this opportunity to help improve our communities.

If you only had one night to spend in Savannah what would you do?

Peregrin at The Perry Lane means so much to us because it is where we got engaged, so we would definitely have a cocktail there and look out over the city. Walk down along River street, wander into a few shops, wait for some live music to draw us into one of the many cool bars. Have a delicious dinner at Vic’s on the River.  And we would finish off the day with some late night mini golf with our friends at Bogey’s out on Wilmington Island. We tend to get a little too competitive and make some fun bets with our friends on the outcome of the round.