Tangela Johnson has always enjoyed arts and crafts. After being diagnosed with a heart condition, she turned to aromatherapy as a way to manage her illness. In the last year, Johnson has turned her passion for creating into a small candle-making business. She plans to add soaps and incense to her repertoire in 2019. For more information, search “Candles Occasions” on Facebook or call 256-689-9539.
How did you get into making candles?
When I got sick, I could not take certain medicine; I cannot take albuterol. I got into aromatherapy. My first candle was my eucalyptus candle to help me breathe better.
When you say you “got sick,” what do you mean?
I have a heart disease. I was diagnosed in 2013 with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. I have asthma, but I cannot take my albuterol, so that is where the eucalyptus candle comes in — to help me breathe. I also discovered a lot of people have trouble breathing properly, so I made eucalyptus candles for several people.
Was aromatherapy recommended to you by a physician?
I did some research; I like to “Google” stuff. I knew that I could not handle albuterol, but I still could not breathe. The first thing I saw was “essential oils,” then I looked into making candles. Then I realized I could take essential oils and mix them with candles to make the best scent.
When did you start your business?
I started around this time last year, but the only people that knew I could make things were my family members. I started selling in April or May and letting friends see the candles. In August, I got the money to get all the equipment that I needed. I got my business cards, baskets, incense and everything else that goes with it and took it from there.
Tell us about the candle-making process.
I use scented and unscented wax. The unscented wax is soy wax. I break down the little pellets and add the fragrance. I put the dye in and put it in my melting pot. When it is ready, I put a glue stick in, put my wick on top of that, center it, then I take a funnel and pour the wax and let it dry.
Is there a trick to making sure the candles set properly?
To make sure they dry properly, I have to put them in a pan of cold water, and that way it dries from the bottom and works its way up.
How many scents do you have?
I have 31 scents including lavender, lilac blossom, Japanese blossom, kiwi melon, apple cinnamon, autumn flowers, Christmas tree, pine needles and holiday frost.
What is your best selling scent?
Lavender is my best seller, and it is my favorite, too. I love the way it smells. It calms me down.
How do you decide what scented candle you will create?
I listen to my customers about what they want. If they tell me they want a particular scent, I will go find that fragrance and make the candle.
What is the price range of your candles?
My candles start at $3 for a small candle, all the way up to $20 for a large candle. My baskets start at $10, and go up to $60.
Are candles the only craft you make?
I make Christmas ornaments. I will take a clear ornament, open it up and add decorations to it. I am getting ready to learn how to make soaps and incense.
Where does your passion for arts and crafts come from?
I love to draw. I always have. No one would have ever found out, but my son, Brandon, found my work.
When did you start drawing?
I was in high school when I started drawing. I did not want to take P.E. or choir, and I did not want to fool with home ec. I thought I’d just try my hand at drawing. My teacher really pushed me. I would half-do my drawing, and she would tell me really quickly that it was ugly and I needed to do it again. That will hurt your feelings, but her pushing me made me do what I could do.
Faith Dorn is a freelance writer in Anniston. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.