Mom Tiffany recalled that, even as a toddler, Marley was drawn to scented candles. “I would always sniff candles no matter where we were. If they didn’t have a scent, I would blow them out. If they did have a nice smell, I would hold the candle in my hand and just breathe in the scented candle,” Marley said. Realizing that scented candles helped her feel relaxed, she and her mom began making their own. “The scents grab my attention, and [crafting candles] just makes me happy.”
The duo launched School Scents Candles and Home, and they sell 100-percent soy wax candles and all-natural room sprays. “Each one is hand-poured by us with love,” said Tiffany. Product names such as, “Snooze Button,” “Recess,” and “First Day Outfit” reflect the company’s clever branding.
We chatted with Tiffany to hear more about the mother-daughter duo’s path to launching a business.
Artisan Joy: How did you get started creating candles. What led to turning it into a business?
Tiffany Rose: We started our business at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic as a hobby—we were looking for more crafts we could do together. After months of testing and sending out 150 testers to family and friends, the reception was overwhelmingly amazing. And on January 25, 2021, School Scents was born.
AJ: What inspires you, and how do you apply that inspiration to your work?
TR: Nature, everyday scents and moods inspire us. We order many fragrance oils to test from several suppliers. We use some of the oils as-is, and others we blend to create a beautiful medley, unlike any other candle maker.
AJ: What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you or Marley?
TR: Marley blends some of the scents herself. Her Power to the Paper scent is one of our best sellers!
AJ: How do you handle perfectionism?
TR: We make a fuss over our craft. We want our customers to be excited about everything about our product. If our candles have the slightest imperfection and not perfect, we put them in the giveaway pile.
AJ: What advice would you give to someone interested in selling their handmade product but feels nervous about it?
TR: Just do it! You won’t know unless you try. With social media and other platforms where people want to support artisans, there is someone who will eventually buy your product or post it. It just takes one person to tell someone how great your product is, and the rest is up to you to continue to create quality.
AJ: What is a challenge that you faced when first starting your business?
TR: We learned that a certain wax wasn’t good for our candles. We sent out a few of our candles containing it. The melting point was terrible, and it crumbled. Thank goodness only a few customers received these candles. We tossed 90 pounds of wax after that incident.
AJ: Creatives are often very in tune with what’s happening in the world. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming. If this happens to you, how do you cope?
TR: Prayer is my coping mechanism and talking with friends and family to vent when we are overwhelmed.
AJ: Is there a cause or non-profit organization that you’re passionate about?
TR: There isn’t one specific cause, but we are passionate about things that involve making the world a better place, social justice and programs that assist school-aged children and teenagers in being successful in the classroom.
AJ: What brings you joy?
TR: My family. Spending time with my friends and crafting anything I can—flowers, candles and cocktails.
This interview has been edited slightly for clarity.