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April 25, 2016

Celebrating 45 Years of Candle Making

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April 2016
This coming June 1 will mark a milestone in Candlewic's history as it will be our 45th year in business. In the spirit of full disclosure, I should note that, since Candlewic began as a family-owned business in the basement of a residential home, the exact date has always been sketchy within a couple of months. However, all of the documents we can locate indicate that it was within this time period that we began selling candles, followed by candle supplies.
For those not familiar with our history, we are a family-owned-and-operated company now in its second generation of management. We are very proud of our history and encourage you to read our "About Us" section on our website. From our modest beginning, we now employee approximately 40 full-time and temporary employees throughout the course of a year.

We would like to thank all of our customers who have made our business the success it has been for the past 45 years, and we look forward to continuing to serve you in the future.

The coming months are when colleges and high schools end their academic years, and people enjoy reminiscing about the past, so we think it may be appropriate that we follow that theme for this edition of The En-Light-ener.

You would think after 45 years that the industry would have changed dramatically. In some cases that is true, but, in many respects, the art of making a good candle has not changed all that much. While the equipment for the larger candle companies has become much more automated, many companies are still pouring candles with the same techniques that existed 45 years ago. The basics of candle making today remain unchanged. You still need to melt wax, add color, add fragrance, select a wick and pour the product into a mold, container or other vessel.

Some areas that have changed dramatically over the years are the types of ingredients that go into candles and the introduction of some new waxes. Back in 1971, most candle makers chose from two-to-three different types of waxes. They generally would go with a 131 ⁰F melting-point wax for votives and 141 ⁰F melting-point wax for pillars and tapers. For specialty candles, they may have used beeswax. Candle makers would then formulate their own special recipes, which normally involved stearic acid, micro or other polyethylene.

In today's candle-making world, you have to offer greater choices of waxes. We at Candlewic now offer more than 30 different types of waxes to make candles. Each wax has a special property and is designed for a specific application. These waxes range from your basic paraffin to more complex formulations that have soy or other additives to improve the performance of the wax.
Without a doubt, the most dramatic change we have seen in the candle industry is the emergence of specialty fragrances. One of the first fragrance lists developed at Candlewic had about 35 different fragrances, and customers had a difficult time selecting from those. In general, it was a basic line of fragrances such as vanilla, cinnamon, apple, spice and peach. Currently, our fragrance line offers more than 350 different scents, and we continually look to add more. Back then, with most fragrances, you would have a very good idea of what to expect based on the name alone; strawberry was a kind of strawberry. Today, you can find more ambiguous, more complex fragrances – such as "Spa", or "Amber Romance" – that you cannot truly envision or appreciate unless you actually try them.

Molds
used to make pillar candles have changed slightly over the years, but many of the materials used for pillar candles when Candlewic began are still in use today. Tin was very popular, plastic was great for unique shapes, aluminum was emerging, and acrylic was frequently used. In 1974, our founder, William R. Binder, II, received a patent for a two-piece mold using acrylic with a bottom piece that could slide off to help with the removal of the candle. Now, new materials such as polycarbonate and other less expensive materials allow for greater choices.

The accessories used to make candles also have improved. Many years ago, candle makers would use Popsicle® sticks and pencils to keep wicks centered. Now, a bow tie is a must-have for anyone pouring container candles. A bow tie allows a wick to remain centered in almost any size glass container and even allows you to space two wicks evenly in the jar.

Another significant improvement in the industry involves an increased understanding among candle makers of the importance of using the proper size wick for their candles. As candle makers use more fragrance in their candles, there is an increased likelihood the candle will smoke. Back in the early 1970s, most people used one of several different wicks for all of their applications. In today's world, there are more than 200 kinds of wicks from which to choose, and more candle makers know that wicks should be chosen based on a candle's diameter as well as the type of wax and fragrance/color combination used in the candle. As a result, today's consumers do not need to see "mushrooming" and smoking wicks.

One area that technology has definitely changed in our industry involves how orders are placed, processed and shipped. When Candlewic began its operation, all orders were received by telephone and were hand written. The person handling shipping then prepared the order and recorded the shipment by hand in a UPS log book that was complete with carbon paper. Now, orders can be placed online any time of day or night, processed, and tracked within hours. Customers also can receive answers to their questions quickly and provide instant feedback such as the comment we just received on Facebook:
Technology also allows us to provide more resources, faster, to our customers. You can view educational content on our website and also request to receive The En-Light-ener, our free monthly newsletter, by e-mail. You also have access to all of our back issues through our website. Candle makers can read about everything related to their specific applications. Information about new products, industry trends and the latest candle making news are always just a few key strokes away.

And, if you're not sure how to use a product or kit, check out our videos.
 
We are extremely excited as we start our 46th year of business and truly look forward to celebrating 50 YEARS before we know it. We can't wait to write about the exciting changes that are happening by then. Who knows? Maybe drones will be dropping off your wax!
CHANDLER'S CORNER
Hi. I'm Chandler.
Hi! I'm Chandler! I can help you learn how to make candles. I have spent a lot of time around waxes and would like to offer my general suggestions or comments on the various waxes that are available. These are just some general observations and are by no means intended to imply that other waxes are wrong for the application. One of the truly unique features of candle making is that every candle maker has his or her own proprietary blend.
Chandler's wax choices for containers:
The CBL-125 is without doubt the easiest of the container wax blends. This "low shrinkage" wax is a blend that will produce container candles that have a creamy look and are capable of holding a large amount of scent. For a mottled container candle, I would highly recommend the 2530H. For a straight paraffin wax, the CF is the best with about one half to one percent Vybar 260.
For pillars/votives: For natural wax container candles: For natural wax pillar candles:
The CBL-141 is one of the best waxes on the market. For mottled pillars, nothing is better than the 4045H. Soy 125 is the most cost effective soy, and it is capable of holding up to about an eight percent scent load when poured at the proper temperature. For natural wax pillar candles, I recommend the Crystallizing Votive/Pillar Palm wax.
 
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We hope you enjoyed this issue of the En-Light-ener. Thank you for your continued interest and support. Our goal is to make this newsletter as entertaining and educational as possible. Let us know if you have any ideas on how we can improve.
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Candlewic Company
3765 Old Easton Road | Doylestown, PA 18901 | 800-368-3352
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