Burning Bright With Homebody MN Candles
The sense of smell is one of the oldest and most primal of the senses, and one of the first that most animals develop. Scents and odors can trigger emotions and reactions in us with just a whiff—a certain perfume may remind you of time spent with your grandmother, the scent of freshly-mowed grass can cause memories of long summer days as a child, the sharp tang of chlorine can make you recall a pool party with friends, a strong scent of pine can make you think of winter holidays, certain floral or citrus notes can instantly bring up mental images of tropical vacations long past.
Perhaps it is this that makes so many of us relish the idea of having candles around our homes and offices. We can light them, and the scents help our minds to clear and our bodies to relax as we breathe them in, giving us a bit of a mental break in our day, allowing us to let the worries of work or relationships seep away as we let our minds wander amidst the delightful scents surrounding us.
There are many candle companies out there that offer their wares to fill this need, but Homebody MN is one that looks to give back to the community it serves as well.
Homebody MN started in October of 2020. Did the concept for your business come from the challenges of dealing with the pandemic?
Like many people, I was laid off during parts of the pandemic. That extra time allowed me to start learning about candle making. I didn’t like what I saw about the potential health and environmental impacts of many mainstream candles, so I started to research how to make a better candle.
Tell our readers what goes into creating your candles. You mention that your initial explorations into candle making opened your eyes to the number of “questionable materials” that go into making those candles. Could you explain what those are?
Basically, candles are a container, wick, scent, and wax, which seems simple enough, right? Many big name candle companies sell inexpensive candles by using inexpensive materials which have a more significant environmental impact or potential health risks. For example, let’s talk about wax. Paraffin wax is commonly used and it is a byproduct of the petroleum production process, a process that has a big environmental impact. Alternatively, you can use soy wax. There are a lot of candles that are “soy blends” or market that they contain soy, but often that means that some portion of the wax is soy, but it is mixed in with a bunch of paraffin. So, if you are looking for soy candles, make sure you see “100% soy” on the label, just like on my candles!
The benefits of soy go beyond just the production as well. So much of what is contributing to climate change is over consumption and products that don’t last. Soy wax burns for longer than paraffin wax, so you can enjoy your candle for longer and don’t have to replace them as frequently. From a health perspective, I trust soy more than paraffin. There have been a few studies that have raised concerns about the health impacts of paraffin wax in candles. The jury still seems to be out on how much of concern is needed, but I’m not taking the risk. I wanted to make a candle I could trust, so being thoughtful about the everything from the wax to the wicks was a cornerstone of my company from the start.
How do you go about sourcing “clean materials” for their creation?
Fortunately, other people have also been concerned about the materials used in candles. I searched around until I found the cleanest ingredients I could find to make great smelling candles!
Tell us how you create the scents for you candles. Do you start with one strong note of scent and add in others to complement it, or do you have an exact idea of what you’re going for from the beginning of the process?
It really depends on the scent. Some scents are right on target from the start, while some others need to be tweaked. I typically start with a fragrance that I like and then if I feel like it needs something more I will adjust it. It’s much more of an art than a science though. I’ve learned that every person’s taste is very unique. I try to make sure that I have a wide range of scents so that everyone can find something that they like.
I have to say that I absolutely love the names that you give the candles. How do you come up with those? Do you base the name on the scent, or do you get an idea for a great name and then work a scent around that?
Thank you! I don’t have a specific process for the names right now, mostly just a long note in my phone where I write down ideas whenever they pop into my mind. Which, honestly, is frequently during that semi-conscious place your brain is in as you fall asleep.
When I figure out a mixture for a new scent, I’ll check out that list and try to find a name that goes well with the scent!
One thing that I simply love about Homebody MN and your concept behind your business is the fact that you’re so dedicated to giving back to the community. Tell us about that, and why it meant so much to you to do it.
I do not believe success occurs in isolation. There are so many people and situations that have contributed to this business succeeding. Yes, I have contributed to making that occur, but I could not do it by myself. So if my success as a business has depended on the support of so many, then shouldn’t that success be shared with others as well?
How do you choose your nonprofit partners?
The first year, I partnered with Family Tree Clinic as the recipient of 5% of my profits. They were in the process of a fundraiser for their incredible new building, and they are an organization close to my heart. When I started considering HRT, Family Tree was an incredibly supportive place that helped me think through all of the ways hormones would affect my life and body. I can’t recommend them enough.
Homebody MN also partners with organization to do fundraisers, which you liken to Girl Scout Cookies, but with candles. Tell our readers how they could get involved with Homebody MN to benefit their group, and also benefit your company with sales. It really seems like a win/win!
That’s the goal! I love the idea of being able to help spread the word about my little company while also supporting organizations at the same time! If you are interested in running a fundraiser, email me at [email protected], or check out my website https://homebodymn.square.site/.
Homebody MN is a trans-owned company. Many companies in the Twin Cities, and elsewhere, are billed as gay or lesbian owned. How important is it to you to make sure that trans-owned businesses get their due as well, and that trans-owned businesses are as visible as others?
I realized as I was setting up this company that I had never seen the phrase “trans-owned business”. So much of the narratives we see about trans people is focused on struggle. There are many challenges connected to being trans, and those challenges have huge impacts on the trans community and trans individuals. These narratives are accurate and deserve attention. However, we also need narratives of trans success and trans normalcy. One of my TikTok videos that had the most success was a response to someone who was in the process of realizing that she was trans. She is overwhelmed by many of the implications of this realization, and says “the thing that’s holding me back from transitioning is the thought of never having a normal life where I can have a successful career and pay my bills”. Succeeding as a proudly trans-owned company is a revolutionary act that demonstrates that a normal life and successful career is possible for members of the trans community.
So, when you feel the urge to fill your home or office space with the kinds of comforting scents that make you imagine that you’re being whisked away from the everyday hustle and bustle, check out Homebody. You’ll be glad you did.