Started as an e-commerce business during the first year of the pandemic, Marblehead Candle Company is growing at a rapid pace — so much so that it now has candles in four stores across town and has opened shop in person at 128 Washington St., just above Marblehead Knits.
Co-owners Amanda McRae and David Adkins have always enjoyed the concept of candles, and the different scents and aesthetics they can provide. So during the pandemic, when they decided to kickstart a business, selling candles was a no-brainer.
“We’re candle-obsessed and we had gone back and forth about random business ideas for years and years and never started any,” said McRae. “And I was like ‘we should start a candle business.’”
“It was just about the love of candles, pretty much,” Adkins said.
They got to work, pitching ideas to each other on what the theme would be and how they could differentiate themselves from the competition. McRae said that they wanted to encapsulate some of Marblehead’s most famous landmarks into different aromas.
With scents like Brown’s Island and Fort Sewall, Marblehead Candle Company set out with the goal of giving people familiar scents with its candles.
“I think we did it as a memory,” Adkins said. “We don’t put names on our candles as far as what the scent is. We want someone to pick it up and be like ‘Oh, it reminds me of this.’”
They started with a “core six” scents that were named after iconic locations in Marblehead, but have now expanded to other scents like “coffee” and fruity ones like “citrus skies.”
McRae and Adkins hosted their grand opening for the business during this year’s Festival of Arts on July 2, but they have been working in the space since late March. The entire space was built from scratch with next to nothing in the room before they took over.
The original business model was to remain an online-only business, but as demand grew and the company gained traction through the social media accounts that McRae was running, it became clear that they needed to expand.
“We had three stores originally in town and that business continued to grow as well as our online,” she said. “And then we picked up more stores, and we created more scents and the lines kept expanding.”
“We really just outgrew our space really rapidly since the Christmas season,” McRae added.
Adkins said that the company now also does three private labels in town.
Both Adkins and McRae said that they are extremely happy with the support they have received from the community and are grateful to it for helping them continue to grow.
“Marblehead is really supportive. I think if you treat Marblehead well, they treat you well,” Adkins said. “I think people really look forward to what we do. They’re excited when we do something new, and we’re excited to give them something new constantly.”