The sight of soot creeping up the walls near candles Lisa Clark burned in her house inspired her to learn how to make a better candle, and ultimately start a brand new business.
“One day I came home and after doing just a little basic research, I made a candle,” Clark remembers. “It was terrible.”
But Clark’s father, who owned retail stores, was excited about the idea of launching a line of scented candles, so the pair pressed on, with Lisa doing the research on making the product and her father handling the business end. Today, that experiment has become Candleberry Candles, a successful company out of Frankfort.
“It’s a lot more difficult to make a candle than one would think,” says Clark. “It’s not just fragrance and wax. We choose to use more natural ingredients. The candle is kind of a cross between a vegetable base and a paraffin base, but we use a really high-grade wax and a really high-grade fragrance so that when the consumer burns it, they’re going to get a super clean burn. If you keep [the wick] trimmed, it’s going to be one of the most soot-free candles that you’ll ever burn.”
Clark is now the company’s fragrance designer. She finds inspiration in memories and experiences, and sometimes in unexpected places.
“I remember one time we were at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival probably 12 years ago, and [my husband] said, ‘I smell something that smells just amazing,’” Clark recalls. “We kept following it around and ended up at a stand where they were making bourbon roasted pecans.”
Clark said it took five years to recreate that scent perfectly in candle form.
Candleberry’s most popular candle is Hot Maple Toddy, which carries 4,000 to 5,000 square feet in an open area. The secret behind the powerful fragrance is well guarded, but Clark says that Candleberry’s mixture of ingredients is impossible to duplicate.
“I don’t know if I ever thought we’d ever be to the point we are now where we’re sold all over the world,” says Clark. “I don’t know if I even felt like we would be outside of Kentucky. But we just work so hard to make the best product out there. People talk about putting love in food but that’s absolutely what we put in candles. We’re so passionate about it because we are candle lovers ourselves.”
This segment is part of Kentucky Life episode #2407, which originally aired on November 18, 2018. Watch the full episode.