- PHOTO BY RYAN MILLER
- G&T: Poppy Jane Candle Co.’s Gin and Tonic offering is everything you’d hope for from an alcohol-scented candle.
A scent can be magical. Mystics and healers have been harnessing the power of aroma for centuries, and it’s this aromatic potential that Erin Lundeen shares with the world through her unique candles.
“I’ve been interested in aromatherapy probably for about 10 years now,” said the creator of Poppy Jane Candle Co. “I grew up using essential oils. My mom is really into natural healing and using natural things, so I grew up using tea tree oils to heal cuts and things like that.”
The young mother of three began the candle business, called after the middle names of her two daughters, in January, and her pleasant scents and distinct packaging have been making a splash along the Central Coast.
Lundeen’s passion for candle making began early on: “I made my first candle when I was very young,” she explained. However, she really became invested in the healing powers of aromatherapy after some personal trouble.
“It really helped me through a hard part in my life,” she said. “It helped release a lot of those negative emotions I was having.”
This grief not only propelled her into the art of candle making and aromatherapy, but she realized what she really wanted to do: “My bigger goal for the business is to bring that same healing that essential oils brought me to other people who have gone through similar things.”
At first, Lundeen was making candles as gifts for family and friends. She knew that eventually she would want to make a business out of it, but it wasn’t until she created an Instagram for the candles that she recognized the business’ potential.
“Instantly I had, like, 30 followers on Instagram within a two-day period,” she said. “The next day I started a Facebook page.”
Poppy Jane Candles are created with natural essential oils and a great amount of diligence.
“I’m handcrafting most of these scents, putting a dropper of essential oils into a glass,” Lundeen described. “It’s a hard process of hours and hours of coming up with the wax, a fragrance blend, and creating the candle. This is all basically my nose and so much trial and error.”
The former green blogger runs the newly started business solely with her husband, who helps her with the packaging and design.
“I’ve always been attracted to good design,” she said. “Between the two of us, we can sit down at a laptop and execute it.”
Lundeen wants to bridge the gap between an all-natural product and good design. “I want people who want all-natural candles to also have something pretty to look at.” One of her most popular designs involves recycled wine bottles used to mold the candles.
The hand crafter also has a niche for unique scents. Two of her best-selling candles are Sexy Time and Gin and Tonic. “It’s one of my favorite drinks, so I thought, ‘Hey, I can create a candle,’” she said about her cocktail-scented product.
The potential of the business has Lundeen anxiously awaiting the future, but for now simplicity is her flavor, keeping her scent collection small and scaled back. Lundeen hopes to blossom into local stores and eventually beyond the Central Coast, but most importantly she wants to give back the healing power of scent she learned to understand so well.
“That’s where my heart is. It’s really about giving back to people what I feel I was given,” she said.
The Clark Center Foundation awarded $15,000 in scholarships to seven performing arts students from Arroyo Grande and Nipomo High schools. The scholarships will be presented to the three Arroyo Grande High school students at Senior Awards Night on May 20, and to the four Nipomo High School students at their Senior Showcase on June 9. For more information about the Clark Center Foundation’s Endowment Fund, call the Clark Center at 489-4114.
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