Sunday, November 27, 2011

EcoScents Candles

Remember the old adage, "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade"?  Today, I met a family who took that bit of wisdom to heart.  My visit to the EcoScents showroom and warehouse was a breath of fresh air - and not just because of the candles.  (Though the candles did smell wonderful.)

The company was founded in November of 2009 by husband and wife team Chad and Erin Kampschneider.  They didn't have any previous experience in making candles.  In fact, Chad was a hedge fund manager.  But with the stock markets plunging, they knew they had to do something different.  A candle burning on the table as they talked gave Erin an idea.

It took a lot of research and a thousand unsuccessful attempts before they got the recipe figured out, but all of that hard work has paid off.  EcoScents candles are making a name for themselves, and with good reason.

The candle making process is a family affair done completely by hand.  They start by adding hydrogen to pure soy beans and melting them down to a liquid.  Soy burns longer and at a cooler temperature than paraffin wax without leaving soot behind in the jar - or on your walls.  It's also good for the economy since the soy beans come from American farmers.

Next, dye and scent are mixed in.

Then the candles are poured. The recipe has to be adjusted depending on the time of year.  A five-degree difference in temperature can impact the consistency of the candles, but after two years, they've gotten it down to a science.  The cotton wicks are also environmentally friendly and never need to be trimmed, and the jars are recyclable.

Finally, each jar is labeled.  Custom labels can be ordered for businesses or special events.  They will even make custom labels for weddings that can include an engagement photo.

You can stop by their warehouse/showroom on 156th and West Center Road to see the candle making process for yourself.  They're hosting a holiday open house on December 10, 2011 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  It will be a great chance to find some special gifts for the people on your list this year.

Doing some Christmas shopping at EcoScents was definitely a win-win situation for me.  I got to support a local business and buy a special product that is good for the environment and very affordable.  An 8 ounce candle burns for 50 hours and costs $11.25.  A 16 ounce candle burns for a 100 hours and costs $14.25. 

I wasn't planning to shop for myself, but when I saw the new aroma lamps, I couldn't help it.  They are beautiful.  Some are "night light" style in that they plug directly into the wall, which is great for kitchens and bathrooms.  Others are more for a table top.  All have dimmer switches to control the amount of light and fragrance given off.  (If you notice the picture of Oprah on the lower shelf - it's because EcoScents was voted one of Omaha's Favorite Things in conjunction with the farewell Oprah show last May.)

The lamps burn soy squares, which are available in packages of 6 for $3.99.  Each cube burns for about 35 hours.

After two years, EcoScents has really taken off.  You can find their candles at many local HyVee stores, or you can buy them online at as well as at the showroom at 2528 South 156th Circle; Omaha, NE 68130.

With all the bad news about the economy and various protests happening around the country, it was such a pleasure to meet the Kampschneider family and see their courage, creativity, and hard work in action.  I'm glad they're a part of my hometown.