February 7, 2022

Pretty (useless)

Do you like pretty things?

I do. So when I was entrusted to write for a client who sells pretty candles, I was so excited to dive in.

Usually, before I start writing for any brand, I like to read about their industry. I hunt for interesting articles, books, and information that might spark ideas for content. Once, I even spent an afternoon reading about Korean skincare — on a work day. That’s how fun copywriting can be! But anyways, going back to the bougie parfumée thing (sorry, I easily get distracted! #shinyobjectsyndrome).

I stumbled upon this then free book called The Chemical History of a Candle. And an excerpt struck me and got me wishing I could highlight it in 12 different colors. The author Michael Faraday writes,

“All, however, that is fine and beautiful is not useful. These fluted candles, pretty as they are, are bad candles; they are bad because of their external shape…
I hope you will now see that the perfection of a process — that is, its utility — is the better point of beauty about it. It is not the best looking thing, but the best acting thing, which is the most advantageous to us.”

As much as I value aesthetics, I also recognize that purpose matters.

If you haven’t heard Daya’s pop song Sit Still, Look Pretty, please blast it out after reading this. Sometimes I play it on repeat to remind myself that I’m not here strive for superficial beauty but to live a meaningful, love-filled life. There is immense beauty in becoming a vessel of kindness, in creating an impact and a legacy that outlives you.

Describing one of the candles with elegant form and elaborate design, Faraday pens, “This good-looking candle is a bad burning one.”

I don’t know about you, but I wanna be more than that.

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