BURNING HOT

BY JEFF HAMPTON | PHOTOGRAPHY BY HOLGER OBENAUS

Don’t let the word “candles” fool you. Namdar Décor is more than just candles, and Brad Namdar is no slow burn. Namdar is on fire with ideas for what designers and their clients want and new ways to produce and market them.

“We’re just so, so busy. Really busy, but it’s a good busy,” he says.

Namdar launched his Namdar Décor lines of decorative candles and diffusers in December 2016, and less than two years later he is selling his products in more than 46 states and seven countries. And, in the middle of that, he opened House of Namdar, which is turning the art world on its head with a unique marketing strategy.

The pace has been fast, with Namdar opening a modest 1,200-square-foot office/production facility in January 2017 and moving across the street to 8,500 square feet in September. A walk through the facility reveals dozens of projects in various stages—from experimentation and development to production, packaging and shipping.

Namdar is propelled by boundless energy and a fearless belief that anything is possible and worth trying. He began experimenting with candle making to de-stress from classes at SMU. Stress must have been high because over the next few years he made 500 candles and decided to try to sell them.

“I realized there was a niche in the market because you never really see decorative candles for home décor,” he says.

His breakthrough came when he took samples to In-Detail at the World Trade Center. He was really just seeking advice, but they signed him on the spot.

“They have some of the top-of-the-line labels in the country,” Namdar says. “It was a big deal because shelf space is competitive and limited.”

Today, Namdar’s decorative products can be found in 160 retailers, ranging from drugstores and mom-and-pop shops to high-end boutiques and upscale department stores. He also markets his products through hospital gift shops, private designers, corporate gifts and private labels.

“I have vendors that are very cool that work with me. They helped us get started because they believed in me,” he says.

House of Namdar—a decorative art and photography business— was another accidental start-up. Namdar tried his hand at abstract art to de-stress—this time from law school on top of the candle business. He took some paintings to the Atlanta market as a backdrop for his candle display and sold them all. He came home, painted more, and when designers wanted them, his House of Namdar was born. He brought other painters on board, including a mysterious artist known only as Omnibus and internationally regarded Anita Lewis.

“She’s my pride and jewel. She gave us street cred,” he says.

But what makes House of Namdar unique is its marketing twist. Namdar says: “We have the ability now not only to mass manufacture pieces, but you can pick if you want it on canvas, acrylic, glass or brushed metal, or some different size or dimension.”

Namdar says he owes a lot to his three full-time employees, including a college buddy and one of his former high school students.

“These guys, without them, I would not even be able to operate, because they also invest their time, energy, jobs even,” he says.

Also in the mix are Namdar’s academic degrees, which encompass journalism, philosophy, dispute resolution, conflict management and law—and his full-time jobs as a high school teacher and college soccer coach—which have provided strong foundations for marketing, team building, strategizing and negotiating.

Namdar says the time for his business is right because while retail has gone down some, travel and décor are on the rise with consumers who want decorative products they can connect with. With that in mind, there’s no telling what he will be working on in another year.

“We have some exciting things coming out. I can’t say too much about it, but it’s going to be amazing,” he says.

Jeff Hampton is a freelance writer based in Garland, Texas. Find out more at jeffhamptonwriter.com.