In this series, Local Love, I will be sharing my conversations with local entrepreneurs in Denver, CO and surrounding areas. Each month, I will be featuring a local restaurant, business, or service that I personally love supporting. I hope you’ll take some time to check them out as well!
Vegan candles you can feel good about.
Today I want to introduce you to a unique little candle shop in the hip Berkeley neighborhood of Denver. They supply vegan candles that are clean burning, scented with quality essential oils, and best of all, the candles are made just for you!
Wooly Wax is a custom scented candle purveyor located on the corner of 44th and Tennyson St. in Denver. Wooly Wax is so much more than just a candle store, it’s an experience. The founder, Rachel Woolcot, is a 20+ year professional chef (she is the former Chef / Owner of Aix Restaurant in Denver) who takes her expertise with scents and tastes to CUSTOM design a scent for her customers based on a memory.
Wooly Wax candles are made from 100% natural soy wax which burns cleaner and longer than other types of wax. They are scented with essential oils and are free from parabens, sulfates, animal testing, and chemical dyes. And to top it all off, Wooly Wax candles are vegan! Now those are candles you can feel good about.
The magic of capturing memories in scents.
I first heard of Wooly Wax when my friend Jaime, from South on Broadway, asked me to photograph a collaboration she was doing with Rachel. Jaime was creating a custom scented candle for her blog, South on Broadway, which featured her favorite scents as well as her favorite candle shop. You can read more about the custom candle process on South on Broadway.
Nestled in a row of local artist studios off of 44th and Tennyson St, the Wooly Wax Studio is filled with natural wood shelves stacked beautifully with rows and rows of uniquely scented candles. A display on one side showcases cheeky cards created by a local artisan. Amidst the candles, there are other interesting products like Saddle Wax, and lip balms, and Stinker Mist. Along another wall there are bottles upon bottles of natural essential oils. And in the back corner is where the magic happens, Rachel’s workspace.
The whole process was so interesting. Rachel worked with Jaime to learn about her favorite scents, wafting a whole slew of little strips of scent testing papers for Jaime to try out. Then after picking a few that she liked, the real “mad science” work began. Rachel mixed and measured the perfect amounts of each essential oil creating the PERFECT blend for South on Broadway. It was such a personalized experience!
Jaime loved the process of making these candles so much that she’s giving away one of the candles on her Instagram! Follow @WoolyWaxCandles, @SouthonBroadway, and me (@rosemaryandryeblog) before March 20th, 2018 on Instagram for a chance to win!
Candles are so much more than just a scent.
I caught up with Rachel to learn more about how a passion for food and cooking resulted in a candle business and Jaime to learn more about how the hostess with the mostest uses candles in her home. Check out my interviews with them below.
As an experienced professional chef, what inspired you to start your own candle business?
I love this question because I can safely say I didn’t choose to start my own candle business, it choose me.
As for what inspired me? Being a chef most of my adult life, I’ve had the unique experience in developing my taste and scent senses on a daily basis. That kind of training over many, many years becomes like a sixth sense.
A few years back, I was cooking for a party and had the most remarkable experience using certain aromatic herbs and spices in a dish which immediately provoked memories of cooking in my previous restaurant. I became obsessively intrigued with the sense of smell and its correlation to memory and emotions. I wondered how I could capture those aromatics in a way other than cooking. At thus, the candle experience was launched.
How do you use your culinary experience in candle making?
Both taste and scent profiles are created by building base, middle and top notes. After 20+ years cooking as a professional chef, certain taste notes have become second nature to me. When exploring scent profiles, I noticed I had the same kind of intuition and confidence. At first, I would combine certain herb and spice oils I knew as a chef worked well together. Once I felt comfortable translating taste profiles into scent profiles, I started experimenting with new combinations.
What are your favorite candle scents to pair with food (and which foods would you pair them with)?
The first candle I ever produced was based on a dish I prepared for a party. I was making duck confit which required a dry cure for the duck legs before braising them. At my restaurant, I would use orange zest, juniper berry and black peppercorn as the cure. That combination is so aromatic and lovely, it would pair with so many things.
That said, I would probably go right to wine as an example! Muscadet? Alsace Gewurztraminer? Pinot Noir? Barolo? Bordeaux Supérieur?
What drew you to Wooly Wax Candles?
I actually found them through @manofattoshop on IG. I was initially drawn to the packaging and that [Wooly Wax]WW was a locally run small business.
How do you like to use candles in your home when you’re entertaining?
I burn candles in my home year round and I love how scent can transform the feel of a room. Usually I burn a scented candle in the living room to fill up our main rooms and then unscented for more ambiance around the house.
Are there certain scents that are your go to’s?
In the warmer months l like clean scents like fresh linen, citrus and lavender but in the cooler months I gravitate towards more cozy scents. My house has a strong aroma of leather, pine, spice and tobacco when it’s cold out.
As a mom, are there things you look out for when you pick out candles?
I have become much more conscious about the products I bring into my home since having kids. I like to buy local as often as possible but also like to look for soy based and scented candles that rely on essential oils versus fragrance.