But today at Connie's Candles in Wheelersburg, these are just a few fragrance oils among a vast array of other scents.
Connie Potters, of Wheelersburg, started out in a small home business making candles.
After going to craft shows to sell her candles, she found that many people wanted some of the products she used to make her candles.
So, she started ordering for other people and it grew from there. That was in 1997.
“We ended up not making candles anymore but just selling supplies to other people,” Potters said. “It was more of a business that way and I didn't have to compete with the people that were also making candles.”
One year after she started the business, she moved into a shop. As the business grew, in 2002, she bought a building that could accommodate her growing business at 9103 Ohio River Road in Wheelersburg.
The building is 8,000 square feet with a huge warehouse for her mail-order business.
“It just kept growing and I needed more warehouse space,” she said. “The Internet sales were growing. That's where most of our business comes from is on the Internet.”
She started her Web site - www.conniescandles.com - in 1999. Potters markets the site through search engines and online advertising with keyword bidding to drive more traffic to the Web site.
“Right now, we're redoing our Web site to be more database driven and link to other companies,” she said.
During the holiday season, she plans to be shipping 150 to 200 boxes a week throughout the United States and overseas.
About 85 percent of her business is from her Web site. Besides the United States, she has shipped to Iceland, Bermuda, Canada, Mexico and Norway.
Some customers buy pallet loads, she said. Many people in the area who go to craft shows or have booths at the craft mall or festivals buy all their supplies at Connie's Candles.
Waxes, fragrances, glassware, wicks, colors, everything needed to make candles and lotions are in the warehouse and store.
“We don't sell stock fragrances,” Potters said. “They're all custom made, according to how we want them to smell.”
She said she uses a company in Atlanta that produces the custom fragrances.
“If there's a new fragrance we want or a duplicate of something Bath & Body Works has, then they can make that for us in a sample,” she said.
Even after a fragrance is made, she says she tests it extensively to make sure the scent lasts by making candles or lotions.
“We want to make sure the scent stays true,” she said. “Sometimes different ingredients will evaporate and you have to test for that, or it may smell in the bottle but when you put it in wax, you can't smell it when it's burning.”
If the scent doesn't pass all the tests, Potters says she will send it back to the lab until it works.
Some of the popular fragrances are Love Spell, a Victoria's Secret version, French Vanilla Crunch, Cinnamon and Pumpkin Pie.
“We go through cookbooks sometimes,” she said. “We've gotten about eight or 10 that we got straight out of a cookbook.”
Bananas Foster, Peanut Butter Cookies, Banana Split Sundae, and an Italian dessert with whipped cream and chocolate are just a few of the new scents.
“We actually sent them the main ingredients of the recipe and they put it all together for me in an oil,” she said. “It's formulated ready to go to work in a candle. We have to make one and make sure that it will throw (scent) like we need it to.”
The testing can take months and each type of wax or product may mix with the fragrance differently, she said.
Waxes come in both a paraffin base and a soy base.
“Soy waxes won't allow a fragrance to release into the air,” she said. “So, they have to be formulated a little bit different.”
With the holiday season approaching, the fall fragrances are in demand such as Pumpkin Pie, Hot Baked Apple Pie, Peach Cobbler and Sleigh Ride.
Potters said lotions and body products are more popular during the summer months with floral and sweet fruity scents.
“With lotions, we have to see if it's skin safe,” she said. “The lab takes care of all that.”
She said she searched for a lotion supplier for about two years, trying different samples until she found the right one.
The most popular candles are the jelly jar candles and a smelly jelly room freshener.
The smelly jelly is a non-burnable product that has the smell of a candle.
A customer, Cathy Jennings, of Portsmouth, is owner of The Primitive Attic in Ashland, Ky.
“I buy all my scents and things from Connie and pour all my own candles and tarts,” she said. “I used her oils to scent the rose hips. She has a lot of scents that most people don't carry.”
Chestnut and Brown Sugar are some of the most popular scents at Jennings' store.
“A lot of people drive here from Kentucky and surrounding areas for their own businesses,” Potters said.
Tarts are small, scented wax pieces made in different shapes and designs used in wax burners.
“We are going to start making in the next several weeks the bath and body products in a gift basket,” she said.
She has a line of fragrant body sprays, and she is testing some fragrances to find out what might sell best in a gift baskets.
There are many benefits to having a business, she said.
“The best benefit is being able to do things with my family,” she said. “It allows me to do more things with my daughter, Haley, than I normally would be able to.”
PHYLLIS NOAH can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 234, or firstname.lastname@example.org.