Candles and associated products bring light into our lives
By George Piper
The ambience and aroma of candles brighten the mood of any room. Whether a soothing flame dancing atop a wick rooted in flame or a decorative piece of waxen art as a table centerpiece, candles spark something primal in all of us. In the cold winter nights, they’re a source of warmth and comfort.
Fortunately the Hoosier state has plentiful options for candles. Here is a small sampling of locally made candle creations that will speak to our personality and preferences year-round. You can find them on shelves and online.
UNPLUG SOY CANDLES
Just because a wine bottle is empty doesn’t mean it has no use. In 2015 that type of thinking led Jennifer and Joe Sturgill of Fishers to cut open the bottles, pour soy candles into them and create something unique, beautiful and fragrant.
The joy of candle-making isn’t limited to just the workers at Unplug Soy Candles. They want others to experience it for themselves.
“We have open pouring three days a week and offer over 75 unique vessels for customers to select from,” says Jessica Matson, sales and marketing manager for the company, adding that private pouring parties can accommodate groups of eight or more. Unplug Soy Candles’ consumer reach expanded from a few farmers markets initially to its flagship store as well as in other stores throughout the United States. You can find Unplug Soy Candles at its retail shop, 12550 Promise Creek Lane, Suite 108, in Fishers, in boutiques around the country and at unplugsoycandles.com.
After seven years of selling other brands and varieties of candles in their small gift and home decor shop in Dayton, Traci and Jamie Bratton decided it was time to create their own line of soy candles in 2009. The Hoosier Candle Co.’s origins go beyond candles, though. The decision to make soy candles is based on Traci’s deep roots in a multigenerational farming family.
“Spending my summers on my grandparents’ farm made it an easy decision to do my best to support Midwestern farmers,” she says. “And much of our wax is, indeed, created from soybeans grown right here in Indiana.”
At first, Hoosier Candle products served as a means to restock the shelves of their Tippecanoe County store. The company’s reach has since extended to other small retailers around the country. Layered candles are its specialty, specifically the Baker’s Dozen, which features 13 scents in one candle.
The Brattons make their soy candles in small batches to ensure quality and strive to use American-based products in their designs. “We like to say we’re made in the USA from the ground up,” says Traci. The Hoosier Candle Co. makes its retail home at 731 South St., Dayton; its online home is hoosiercandlecompany.com.
FRESH BAKERY CANDLES
Cassandra Stone ordered a bakery-style candle from an eBay dealer in 2005. The product, though, looked terrible and spurred her to sit down in her Indianapolis kitchen and try her hand in the wax arts. “After many attempts, I was able to manipulate the wax by mixing several types to create realistic, dessert-style candles,” she says.
Friends and family members became the first beneficiaries of Stone’s craft. She later expanded her reach to gift and hobby shows. “People were intrigued by how realistic they looked and smelled,” she says. The products, indeed, look good enough to eat, making them ideal as a dining room table centerpiece or a theater prop.
Wholesale efforts to a few gift stores grew to a web-based business that now has a home with a national following on Etsy and a small kiosk that opened in the fall at Castleton Square Mall.
Working elbow-deep in wax in a building behind her Indianapolis home, Stone is not alone in making Fresh Bakery Candles a success. A few employees help create, pack and ship products, with plans to move into a larger facility to accommodate continued growth. You’ll find Fresh Bakery’s lovely but inedible products online at freshbakerycandles.com.
MIDDLE DAVIDS ARTISAN CANDLES
At just 2 years old, Dan Catlin helped his father, David, stir wax to make candles as gifts for family and friends for the holidays. It’s a passion that continued into adulthood when the father-son duo founded Middle Davids Artisan Candles in 2002.
The Franklin-based store is more than waxen delights. Middle Davids provides a sale outlet for more than 50 artists with a range of products from jewelry and pottery to quilts and paintings.
“We make our candles here in Franklin,” says Tauria Catlin, Dan’s spouse, noting that they use locally farmed soy wax. “Over 40% of our art comes from artists in Indiana as well.”
The Catlins are veterans of the U.S. armed forces, and their business ownership is a somewhat unique combination as both a disabled veteran- and a female veteran-owned company. However, they’ve extended their devotion to service beyond their country’s military. They assist groups with fundraising for a variety of causes.
They also protect the environment, taking back used candle jars, thus keeping the containers out of landfills while also giving customers an in-store credit for each one returned. You’ll find Middle Davids at its brick-and-mortar location at 100 S. Jackson St., Franklin, or online at middledavids.com.