Old Flame Candle Co. began after Jaclyn King, a freelance interior designer, grew frustrated trying to find candles she liked for clients.
“There are actually some wonderful-smelling candles, but it is very expensive to get a good-quality wax,” King says. “And the containers they come in are just really basic and kind of bland, and in some cases, I think kind of ugly.”
King’s solution to candles she liked in containers she didn’t was to put a “bag over its head” — put the candles in better-looking, repurposable containers she acquired somewhere else. That process motivated her to try her hand at candle-making and eventually led her to start her company in our neighborhood.
“The vessel that you put (candle wax) in could either be repurposed as home décor, or you could just refill it,” King says. “And it was just really a fun way of introducing sustainability into the candle industry.”
King began making prototypes of these sustainable candles. Soon, she was asked to be a part of Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Spring at the Silos event in 2020.
Friends helped prepare 700 vessels to be turned into candles. She rented a house for four days to prepare the candles. Then they packed up the U-Haul and headed to Waco.
She spent nine hours to set up their tent, even installing shelves.
“The sweet people that work for Magnolia took all the vendors into a room. They said, ‘Guys, you did it. You know this is great. You set up your bids. Everything looks fabulous. Now we’re gonna have to ask you to take it all down,’” King says.
All public gatherings ceased immediately due to the COVID statewide lockdown.
“I would have been in tears if I wasn’t in more shock,” King says.
The team packed up and headed home. Now 700 candles lived in the Kings’ living room, and she needed a plan. Quickly.
She built a digital storefront and posted pictures of the candles. Spring at the Silos went virtual and linked back to King’s candle shop.
“We flew through them (vessels). We were just selling them so fast,” King says. “That event kind of launched us into a marketplace of candle buyers, and it kind of grew from there.”
King’s idea became a full-time job. She hired an all-female team and got to work.
Her goal for Old Flame Candle Co. is simple: “all-natural wax with modern scents but in vintage vessels.” Not that she recommends it, but King says the wax is so natural that ‘one could eat it.’
In the last 2 1/2 years, Old Flame has sold thousands of candles out of King’s home. She not only sells her products online on her website, but on Anthropologie’s website.
Made from 100% apricot-coconut wax and natural fragrances, Old Flame offers eight to 10 scents, including a scentless candle for the fragrance-sensitive. Clients can order a scent sampler for $8. The candles range from $30 to $6,000. Candles are packaged with a thankful, handwritten message. The signature line is “lovely people deserve lovely things.”
“They’re not cheap candles from Target,” King says. “They are healthier, sustainable and refillable.”
Vintage but not grandma, form but also functional — King uses a gut feeling to find the right pieces. Each vessel comes with a back story and is given a name. King considers all of the vessels to be feminine objects, so she refers to them as “she.”
“So there’s a little something for everyone from copper to brass, ceramic glass, you name it,” King says. “We stick with just vintage pieces. The ones that are just classic and can go in any home space.”
King uses vendors, estate sales and her friends that are interested in antique pieces to acquire her unique vessels. There is no time frame for King to find the pieces, but she assures that she can find whatever vessel the customer is looking for or something similar.
“Mary,” a personal favorite, is a massive reindeer-shaped Asian betel nut heirloom box that dates back to the 1800. Betel nut chewers would show their status through gold or silver betel quid vessels like Mary. King bought Mary randomly one day for $50. Turns out after getting it appraised, Mary is worth over $6,000.
“She’s the one that I just think is the most special one in the studio,” King says.
Client Kathy Hodges, who has purchased more than 40 products from Old Flame, loves decorating her home with the vessels.
“I have at least two candles per room,” Hodges says. “I have not found a scent I do not like, and they blend very well together. The vessels are beautiful, and the history provided for each one is so interesting.”
Old Flame Candle Co., oldflamecandleco.com