>I recently read an article posted by, Kayla Fioravanti, owner of Essential Wholesale about the fact that the “green” economy is flourishing in these difficult times. This is not surprising with global warming awareness, the dependence on petroleum products and such.
This new “green” trend is quite interesting to me since I became interested in green many years ago. I originally became acquainted with candle wax made out of soybean oil way back in 2001. At the time I was working for a small candle and soapmaking shop in Everett, Washington. My extensive craft background included everything from florals to oil painting, however I had had no exposure to soap or candle making. With great patience my mentor taught me about fragrance oils, essential oils, soap making and candles. Over time I assisted her with manufacturing products and assisted her during classes. I must admit that I enjoyed the experience immensely, however I didn’t have a true passion for either activity until we obtained a sample of some natural soy wax. Can this natural and eco-friendly product really make candles that smell fantastic? It cleans up with soap and water? It’s environmentally friendly?
Luckily I was put in charge of testing the new wax and from my first experiment with soy wax I was completely hooked. The more research I did the more I loved it. I had always loved fragranced candles, however never really thought about what the wax was made of. As a person that has had allergies all of her life it was very exciting to find a product that produced almost no soot as well as burning for a longer time than regular wax. On the flip side it was disappointing to find out that regular candles were made out of paraffin which is in the chemical family: petroleum hydrocarbon. The wax emits carbon monoxide and one or more known carcinogens according to EPA studies.
I quickly removed all “regular” candles from our home and only used the candles that I made from natural soy wax. My family and friends all fell in love with these unique, eco-friendly candles. I was booked every weekend selling my candles at farmer’s markets, craft shows and eventually full time on the Internet. Running your own business is difficult enough, but our work was made even more difficult because NO ONE had ever heard of soy wax or eco-friendly candles. Getting people to just try them for the first time was extremely difficult especially when they heard the words “soy” and “healthy”. I will never forget the funny scrunched-up faces that people would make when they said, “Soy? it’s made out of soy? yuck, I’m not smelling that!” We ended up being quite successful but needless to say, we were a bit before the new “green” trend.
In 2004, due to a serious family illness, we closed our soy candle manufacturing business and got ‘real’ jobs. After working in a cubicle for 5 years, with no windows in the place, I knew it was time to do something I loved again, instead of hated. It wasn’t easy being green in the early 2000’s but this time around I have found that healthy candles are everywhere! Suppliers are more numerous and the majority of consumers are aware of the benefits of soy candles. It is exciting to be able to start over because we have learned many good and bad things from our previous venture; however this time around we are going truly green. We are really taking our time getting set up for business. We are finding eco-friendly packaging, shipping, office supplies and labels. Our goal is to run Sally Lee Candles as earth friendly as possible from top to bottom. We are looking forward to joining all the other trendy “green” companies in 2009.
Sometimes we get sidetracked in life and it is an amazing thing when everything comes back to the way it should be.
It’s not easy being green…but well worth the effort.