GTPulse: Traverse City Woman Makes Safe Candles For a Cozy Home

Sales of jeans, bras, and other slightly constricting clothing items have gone down this year, understandably so. However, comforting items like pajamas, books, and candles have seen a surge throughout 2020. With people spending more time than ever at home, they’ve sought to make not just themselves comfortable, but also their atmosphere. Local candlemaker Heather Halt has seen the benefits.

“Sales are up,” she said. “There are more candlemakers than ever. Everyone quarantined and wanted to make candles, so I’ve seen new candlemakers pop up on Etsy, Instagram, all over the place.”

Heather’s desire to make candles came a few years ago out of loving them in her own home, but not loving the toxic effects that many can have.

“I’ve been into candles since I was a kid. When you burnt those candles as a kid, you didn’t know what was in them. When I burnt them, my walls would be black. Everything that was coming off from the candle was getting onto the walls. A lot of people don’t know that most candle wicks that are from very inexpensive candles have metal strung all the way throughout the wick. It makes it burn faster. You run out of a candle faster, you buy more candles.”

This might be the business philosophy for some candle brands, but not for Heather’s. As a mother of two young girls, their health is the most important factor in all aspects of life, especially the air they’re breathing.

“Parrafin wax is a petroleum byproduct, that’s toxic as well. So I was boring these candles as a kid because I could afford $4 or $5 candles from the grocery store as a teenager. But when I had kids, burning candles around them, I need to think about what’s in everything. Soaps, products, anything.”

She started working with a local soapmaker and was impressed with the consideration she had taken to use gentle and natural ingredients with her children in mind. Heather was inspired to make candles with the same consideration and In the Stars Candles was born.

“I use soy wax, I use cotton wicks, I seek out fragrances that don’t have phthalates in them. It’s just about being conscious of what you’re using and who it’s affecting. It affects your animals too, they can have reactions to the chemicals just like we can.”

She wants her customers to be educated on all aspects of using candles, from how they can impact your health depending on ingredients, to how to get the most out of using one.

“Wick size is important. You can burn a wick and it will pool only around the middle and then tunnel down. You need to burn it so the whole top of it melts down. I want my customers to enjoy the product the way they should. So i send a set of instructions so you get the most out of it. If it says a 30 hour burn I don’t want you to get 2.”

The sales this year spiked, but people stuck by their tried and true. An early scent of Heather’s called Fruit Loops has still remained a favorite, along with classic scents.

“It’s the nostalgia factor. Your scent memory is one of the most impactful things that you’ll ever have. You’ll remember things that you smelled as a child and it will bring back that memory almost instantaneously. Sometimes you can’t remember exactly, but you’ll know it’s triggering something in your mind. People are craving what makes them comfortable, because like you said, everyone is at home. What’s going to make you feel good?”

She keeps her classic scents around but is always playing with new ideas for candles. She’s getting ready to release a choose your own giftbox, where people can pick four candles for a holiday set, including some of her seasonal favorites like balsam fir. Her scents have a depth, and richness that smells cozy, not cheap. Anyone that goes to Target with me can tell you, I stop and smell every candle in the aisle, looking for one to take home. Most of the time they smell pretty flat, and any autumnal scent seems to reek of cinnamon and maple syrup. I was happily surprised to see (smell) that In the Stars Cider & Doughnuts, smells like cider and donuts. How did she do that?

“I introduce five new scents a season and see if people like them. I tried watermelon for the holidays, I know it’s not a holiday go-to but it smells gorgeous. Maybe someone will try it!”

Immerse yourself in safely fragranced air at home this winter with Heather’s lovely candles. They can be found locally at Glitz and Spurs, Wildflower Soapworks, and Higher Self as well as through her website here.

“I didn’t know I would be still be doing it this long, especially in 2020. But I wanted to show my girls that if you get involved and start to create, you can turn it into something.”

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Categories: GTPulse