As the founder of Darling, working with hundreds of brands throughout the years with our magazine, I’ve grown to love brands and love founders. It’s hard to start a company, tell a story and gain momentum. This is why I’ve started a new series called Darling’s Favorite Things where I will be highlighting five of my favorite brands each month. I’ll admit, I love shopping, so I’m excited to bring you quality, unique items that are worth the investment for the long haul and also make great gifts!
Whether it’s fashion, interior design or beauty products, I’ve got you covered. Check out my five favorite brands for February below!
Favor: The Story Behind the Brand
Favor caught my eye because the company is inspired by artists who tell the stories behind their craft, shedding light on how and why they create. The brand is built on the fundamental belief that handmade, sustainably-sourced pieces from artisans are well worth the wait.
Quality takes priority at Favor. They keep the bar raised high when it comes to the products they carry with an emphasis on beauty and design. One of their fundamental values is that surrounding yourself with meaningful objects is almost as important as surrounding yourself with meaningful people. Cheers to that!
Favor’s Tahquitz Candle is a great find for many reasons, one of which is that it is made from 100% natural soy wax. Tahquitz is one of three limited-edition candles dreamt up by Whitney Port as part of the Favor x Whitney Port collection. Each candle, named for a place close to Whitney’s heart, is hand-poured by MacMaddies in a handmade, custom ceramic vessel by ZZIEE Ceramics.
I love the candle’s unique smell with top notes of teakwood, citrus and sea salt; middle notes of cedar, plum and leather; and a base of sandalwood, amber and patchouli. This harmonious blend leaves a lasting aroma in every room of the house. The candle’s round, cylindrical container has a rounded bottom and is glazed in a glossy peach color, with the interior glazed in a soft matte white. The sandy, speckled clay for Tahquitz gets its appearance from flecks of iron.
Favor IG: @infavorof
VANNA: The Story Behind the Brand
After years of dreaming, the vision for VANNA came to life in 2019 after the creator, Anna, moved to the United States from Yerevan to follow her American dream. At just 26 years old, her story is impressive. Always appreciating subtle beauty and noticing the unique but often overlooked details, Anna was moved to create a watch brand that embodied that spirit. While living in Los Angeles and constantly surrounded by so much beauty and diversity, she was inspired to represent that through watches with unique DNA.
VANNA provides unique, luxe designs. Created with unmatched quality and attention to detail, but by selling DTC, Anna is able to keep affordable prices—all under $200! Considering that every model is completely unique and designed from the ground up, the price point is quite a steal.
VANNA’s five collections, which have names like “Eclipse” and “Nebula,” are available in three different metals—rose gold, yellow gold and stainless steel—and a variety of dial options, including natural stones like Malachite, Marble, Tiger’s Eye, Mother of Pearl and more.
VANNA is one of my favorite watch companies because they offer high end designs at affordable prices. My top pick is this Nebula Malachite model pictured here. The asymmetric case of the Nebula was inspired by gas clouds in space, which are devoid of specific shape or form. I love how the malachite dial beautifully contrasts the polished gold bracelet. This water-resistant watch is a true showstopper with its unique shape and the luxurious green color of the malachite stone.
VANNA IG: @vanna
I’M 4 LOVE: The Story Behind the Brand
I’M 4 LOVE Founder, Lydia Smith, believes that makeup is a celebration of beauty. Her mother, a former professional model, taught her the importance of keeping makeup simple. Under her mother’s beauty savvy, Lydia also learned one important core value—that the foundation of beauty is love.
After three years of working as a registered nurse, Lydia found a mentor in the beauty industry and came up with the idea for I’M 4 LOVE, a beauty brand that offers products focused on love and self-care. Launching this year, it couldn’t be more timely due to the difficult landscape our world has endured. Lydia states that, “Even though makeup is ‘nonessential,’ I hope that the brand accentuates what is essential: love and charity.”
Lydia’s long-term goal is to create the I’M 4 LOVE Foundation, which will support organizations that demonstrate love in one of four areas: healthcare, education, community improvement and emotional well-being. The heart of the brand continues to beat strong as more people are drawn to its message of love.
I love the versatility of the True Lips Moisturizing Stick. It’s everything that you need in a lip product—whether worn alone or with your favorite lip color. The sheer and glossy formula melts into your lips, giving them a subtle golden shine as it moisturizes, conditions and plumps.
My favorite part is that the formula is cruelty-free, meaning that no animal testing was used in any phase of production, and its 100% vegan! This moisturizer truly allows the natural beauty of your lips to be on full display.
I’M 4 LOVE IG: @im4lv
cabi: The Story Behind the Brand
A line on cabi’s website has always really struck me. “We come together for a common purpose: developing a culture centered on women helping women, serving rather than selling, collaborating rather than competing and transforming not transacting.” These comparisons remind me of the Darling Mission!
In 2001, clothing designer Carol Anderson and management consultant Kimberly Inskeep came together to form a unique fashion business model, marrying the need for women to have focus, help and guidance when shopping with the growing need for women to have more flexible careers amidst the growing demands of life. Now, cabi is a thriving business, helping women all across the U.S., Canada and the U.K. become trained cabi Stylists who nurture deep relationships through enriching and fun “cabi experiences.” Being a stylist or attending a cabi styling experience (in person or virtually) is a chance to grow in how you see yourself, your body and your relationship with fashion as a positive tool.
I also admire how cabi has The Heart of cabi Foundation, which is dedicated to providing entrepreneurial opportunities for women in developing countries in collaboration with Opportunity International, as well as donating clothing to women in vulnerable life transitions, including disaster relief. As each cabi stylist starts her business, they fund a small business loan for a woman entrepreneur in a developing country, making them “Sister Entrepreneurs.”
I am loving cabi’s Scenic Cardigan with cable knit detailing. With a unique periwinkle color, this topper has an easy body shape that won’t restrict your movement and has cute blouson sleeves to elevate your look!
cabi IG: @cabiclothing
beek: The Story Behind the Brand
I’ve always believed that it’s better to buy quality over quantity, and beek aligns with this philosophy. I love that they create gorgeous, easy and timeless styles that get better with age and collect memories along the way. Made from soft tanned leathers, paired with a signature molded arch, their shoes are some of the most comfortable, timeless and simply beautiful leather footwear in the market.
Tired of disposable, cheap products, long-time friends Birgit Klett and Kenna Florie established beek in 2015 after leaving the corporate world on a quest to create shoes that they wanted to wear and couldn’t find. Their hand-made luxury leather footwear fills a “comfort meets beauty” hole in the market, and the brand is now sold in more than 50 boutiques nationwide and has been spotted on celebrities like Julia Roberts, Naomi Watts, Margot Robbie and Emma Roberts.
Last but not least, for every pair of beek shoes sold, they donate the equivalent of five meals for a child in need through The Second Harvest Food Bank.
The PHOEBE is one of my favorite styles with the almond shaped, feminine toe character. Available in three colors, these easy and timeless slide-in mules will be your go-to year round. Whether you’re working from home, running errands or even just walking the dog, this cute shoe with its signature arch support will keep you in comfort and style all day long! Made of soft, supple vegetable-tanned leather (upper and lining) with a rubber outsole and leather insole with molded leather arch and two fun rose gold metal studs inside the shoe, they are simply chic and fun!
beek IG: @beekbytwobirds
Lead image via Darling