Case Studies
4 minute read

The real way to turn off ...?

Published on
August 31, 2023
Assel Beglinova
Co-founder & CEO @ Paperstack.


Can you name something that symbolizes celebration, signifies romance, soothes the senses, lights-up ceremonies, creates a relaxing atmosphere, accents the style of home decor and was the main source of light for over 5000 years? Before you go very deep into your thinking, let us save you some time, it’s a candle. What has started as a smelly and messy source of light has now become something bigger than just nicely shaped wax. Candles have brought people together and formed communities to create a relaxing atmosphere and add a sense of warmth into everyday life. They are well known to calm the mind, improve moods, stimulate memory and support a restful sleep. There are endless benefits to a candle, but it was something else that made Antonina think “Hmm…That’s a Fantastic Idea!”

Who would have thought that seeing a ‘can seaming machine’ for the first time would spark up an idea, let alone a business. However, that is exactly what happened to Antonina when she visited a tea shop/factory in Portland.

What started as a thought- “Hmm, how cool is that?”, turned into a few “how cool is that” briefing session and eventually CandleWTF (“Wow, That’s Fantastic”) was born with a simple but brilliant idea to have wax candles in cans. From start to finish, Antonina dove into the creative and operational process to get her idea off the ground, but she always knew this is not just about candles. Dealing with daily life, providing for her daughter, and being under pressure of building her new idea…. Antonina had to become a master of turning off unwanted stress, or as she calls it, BS.

“Daring, different, and decidedly free from bs – that’s what we (and our candles) are all about!”

Antonina Vaganova

Mission and Vision

Question: Can you give us some tips on turning BS off in your life?

Answer: Most of our candles have messages to help people turn off the unwanted noise and help them turn into their true self. But as for some actionable insights here is what serves me well:

  • Light up a candle and sit in silence with your thoughts for 5 minutes
  • Don’t take life very seriously all the time, we are all just humans
  • Turning off your phone 1 hr before bed is life changing
  • Let go of whatever holds you back and focus on your goals

Proudly handmade in Ontario, Canada, and distributed world-wide. Antonina puts all her energy and effort into building a community of like-minded “turn off BS” people and makes sure that every spark of her fiery passion and dedication for excellence is put into her work on WTF. And that is the exact reason we, at Paperstack, love supporting brands like Antonina’s.

Question: What drives you to keep building WTF?

Answer: Believing that I can bring light, joy, and make someone’s day better with my Wow, That’s Fantastic Candles, that is all that matters. Candles are also my way of expressing and exploring my rich creativity which I never discovered before.

We met Antonina back in late 2020 and almost immediately had a great connection and strong understanding of her goals and ambitions. After spending some time with her, we sincerely wanted her brand and her message to expand and reach more people. Building such a business from scratch required energy, patience, and capital. Antonina was very good at the first two, however,  having limited funds to invest in her business slowed down how fast she could accelerate her growth. She had just planned and designed a new product line, but it always seemed that now is not the right time to launch it.

Question: If you had a magic wand that can turn WTF brand into anything that you desire, what would it be?

Answer: Big quirky lifestyle brand that is not limited to candles. WTF will help people express and explore themselves as well as be their supportive and fun friend that can turn that BS off at any time.

Our Contribution

It is inspiring to imagine the future and growth of the idea, but it often seems far away or unreachable. In Antonina’s case, we had absolutely zero doubt that she would reach her goals with or without Paperstack. But after seeing how hard she works for her community and her ideas, we just thought: “Why not accelerate the future?”

Question: How did Paperstack impact WTF?

Answer: You made my life easier and I felt like I have someone who supports me. Also with the extra funds I got from Paperstack we will be launching new products and expanding our business. So exciting!


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