WRITER | CANDIE CONAT
PHOTOS | WAX POETIC CANDLE BAR
It all started in 2014 when Jill Bromley-Sung was looking for a new team-building outing for employees at the business she managed in East Grand Rapids. She couldn’t find anything they hadn’t done before, so she invited them over to make candles. She purchased all the ingredients: jars, wax, wicks, scented oils. When her guests started randomly combining several scents, she silently thought, “Oh, that is going to be a strange-smelling candle.” To her surprise, the candles smelled great! She found it interesting to see how each person’s unique style and preferences mixed to make candles that smelled so good. The candlemaking event was such a hit, she hosted a couple more. Soon she was planning candlemaking parties for holidays and other milestone events and realized that this could become an actual business.
Bromley-Sung began researching candle bars and found that the concept was having success around the country. Based on the success of these ventures elsewhere, she decided to launch her own candle bar and found a studio right next to her home. Initially, she launched a line of candles that she’d made and then added in candlemaking classes. It wasn’t long before she could barely keep up with orders.
At this point, Bromley-Sung realized that she didn’t get into the business just to mass-produce candles. She wanted to create an experience for her customers. It was time to start looking for a location to open a retail store and candle bar. Within a couple of months, she was happily welcoming customers into her store.
So how does her candle bar work?
Customers are given a clipboard, directed to a fragrance bar with over 100 single-scent oils, and instructed to select their three favorite scents. Someone who loves sweet scents might choose champagne, pomegranate, and coconut; a guest who prefers more musky scents might select hops, pistachio, and amber noir. Anything goes, and the combinations are plentiful.
Once a decision is made, a staff member assists with mixing the chosen scents and combining the oils with wax. Each ingredient is measured precisely, ensuring that one scent doesn’t overpower the others.
Bromley-Sung and her staff take great pleasure in helping their guests understand the process and making sure that everyone ends up with a candle they will love. While waiting for the candles to set, visitors make their own custom label.
Wax Poetic Candle Bar normally caters to individuals and small groups but is also a great option for larger corporate groups, bridal parties, and other gatherings.
Not surprisingly, 2020 has posed challenges for Wax Poetic Candle Bar. Happily, they continue to bring this distinctive and fun activity to people at home with their Make at Home Candle Kits. The kits come with a choice of three scents and contain everything needed to make a candle, including an online instructional video. Taking it a step further, Bromley-Sung offers virtual live candle bar parties on Zoom for team-building events with companies as far away as California. Recently, she worked with Experience Grand Rapids to implement a virtual connection event. She led attendees through the process of creating their own waxy masterpiece by providing step-by-step instructions and answering questions throughout the activity. These virtual events have turned out to be a great success and will continue to be an option for the foreseeable future.
Bromley-Sung and the staff at Wax Poetic Candle Bar continue to offer their own line of candles, scented diffusers, and more, along with the Make Your Own Candle experience. Private labeling is offered for larger orders for corporate gifts, weddings, and more.
Wax Poetic Candle Bar
1423 Lake Drive, Grand Rapids 49506
(616) 272-4693 / WaxPoeticCandleBar.com