20 Questions: Chrissy Fichtl
Everyone loves a great scent—especially Chrissy Fichtl. Fichtl founded soap and candle company Apotheke in 2011 and opened its first factory the next year in her beloved Brooklyn. In 2021, Apotheke opened a new factory and its first flagship store. We caught up with Fichtl to find out what she’s reading, what brands inspire her and why Brooklyn holds a special place in her heart.
1. What are you reading?
I am rereading How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It’s a classic!
2. What’s your favorite way to give?
Donating to local nonprofits whenever we can. One of our longtime partners is the Red Hook Art Project, a nonprofit which provides visual art, music and academic help to the kids in our community.
3. Your favorite city?
4. What do you love about it?
Red Hook, Brooklyn is where our candles are made, it’s where my kids were born—simply, it’s home. And if you want to find a moment of peace and quiet in Brooklyn, walking along the pier is where it’s at.
5. How many days a year do you travel?
These days, not many. But we try to go on family weekend trips upstate as often as we can!
6. Do you fly private or commercial?
Honestly? Driving. I will get on a plane if I have to, but I’m not a fan of flying.
7. Other than a phone or computer, what do you never travel without?
Hand sanitizer and snacks for my kids.
8. What other companies/brands inspire you?
I know it is a bit out of our fragrance scope, but I love Shake Shack. I think they do a phenomenal job of growth and still staying authentic, sustainable, fun and feeling “small” to me. Their innovations and creative space are always pushing boundaries, and that’s something I would love to see for us as we grow.
9. The most difficult part of being a founder?
When I started my own company, one of the aspects of being a founder that I relished was getting to make my own decisions. This part is a gift, but also a curse. There’s no one to tell you if what you’re deciding is right or wrong, and there’s pressure when others are relying on you.
10. How Does Apotheke invest in itself?
Within Apotheke, I think diversity is key. We not only focus on D2C, but we also focus on wholesale, restaurant programs, private label, collaborations, influencer relationships and any other creative way we can communicate and be creative.
11. What advice would you give to a younger you?
Trust the process.
12. Drink of choice?
Can’t live without my morning coffee. And I’m currently obsessing over espresso martinis.
13. Favorite artwork?
Love Matt Schwartz’s work from She Hit Pause. I have a large print of “Candy Store” in our living room. Brings me back to my days managing a surf shop in Sag Harbor, N.Y.
14. What does “worth beyond wealth” mean to you?
Balance. When you can enjoy life in all areas between success, kids, my husband, friends, personal time, that is priceless to me.
15. Favorite movie?
Can I say movies? I’m a massive fan of all movies from the ‘80s and am currently on rotation with Back to the Future, Gremlins and Karate Kid. (Can you tell I have two kids?)
16. What scent always reminds you of home?
17. What keeps you awake at night?
What keeps me physically awake: my four-year-old, who refuses to sleep without me. What keeps me mentally awake: pesky late-night emails and constantly thinking about what’s the best move for my business.
18. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
Dreaming, doing and learning new things comes easy to me, but when it comes to managing people, there has been a learning curve. My family and their lives are fluid with Apotheke, so I have had to remind myself not to take things too personally when it comes to our employees. I really cherish each person we hire, but I also am beginning to understand the impact of boundaries, communication and expectations within a healthy company.
19. What do you deny yourself?
Time off. That was too easy for me to say actually, and I know that it is something I have to start allowing myself to have.
20. How would you like to be remembered?
I want to be known as someone who cares, who still knows how to have fun and who works hard. It’s a constant balance I am trying to achieve and can be super hard on myself about, but if my family, friends and employees know me as those three things, I’m happy.