Here is how one creative Irish expat makes up to 200 candles a go in her Queens apartment.
Those who know Emma-Jane Donlon aren't surprised that her side hustle, Ej’s Two Scents, revolves around candles; the Dubliner admits that she has had a fascination with light fixtures, from fairy lights to disco lamps and chandeliers, since she was a kid.
"From an early age, my dream day out was my parents bringing me to the "light shops"," she laughed. "I could spend hours floating around admiring all the different types of lamps - it was literally a heaven for me. When I got married in 2015, my husband soon learned that my obsession with lights and candles was no joke."
After a long week at work in an environment as hectic as New York, Donlon found herself routinely spending a "hefty amount" of her spare cash on candles.
"It was form of relaxing for me. To sit down, light candles, and reflect on the week gone by," she said.
For Christmas 2016, her husband, Tom, went so far as to buy her a candle making kit so she could indulge in a new hobby. Two years later, that hobby has turned into far more than she initially anticipated.
“I now have a handcrafted product that I am proud to share with everyone,” she said. “We make batches of candles in our apartment in Astoria, New York. The last batch we made was over 200 candles.”
It generally takes Donlon two days to make this quantity, no mean feat as she also works full-time as Group Office Executive for a thriving NYC hospitality group.
“Day one is spent preparing the jars, gluing each wick, mixing the scents, creating different coloured wax, and hand pouring each candle,” she explained. “Then they are left to set for 24 hours.”
“On day two, we trim the wicks, clean the jars, add the labels, and organise/store them,” she continued.
While she admits it’s a pretty “labour intensive project” that takes up her and Tom's weekends, they truly enjoy putting on music, catching up, and laughing throughout the “therapeutic” process. Her neighbours are happy too - as the scents drift through the apartment building.
Popular combinations of the scented soy wax candles include Sea Salt & Orchid and Lemongrass & Jasmine.
“Soy wax is a slow burning, non-toxic, and non-pollutant wax. Our candles are less likely to trigger allergies and the soy wax burns cooler which means they generally last 30-50% longer than paraffin candles,” she explains.
“My mantra has always been self-worth, inner confidence, and peace. I guess that is where the name "Ej's Two Scents" came from. I love nothing more than connecting and learning/listening to people on a deeper level.”
Seeing her hobby grow into a small business as demand grows has been very rewarding for the Portmarnock native.
“I am so happy and proud to share the candles with everyone and the feedback has been amazing so far. Seeing the rise in demand for handcrafted candles has really inspired me to progress further with our new venture. The inspiration comes from my passion and love for candles, especially handcrafting my own. I adore them!”
For more about her "candles that make scents", inquire via Instagram.