Experiencing the Vail Valley as your nose knows it
October 19, 2018
The Vail Valley is renowned for its scenic beauty, but a new local businesses believes the area actually smells as great as it looks.
With names such as "Hunting Camp," "Cowboy Sleigh Ride" and "High Altitude Honeysuckle" High Country Candles wants to give everyone a whiff of Colorado.
The entrepreneur behind the new business is Debby Beard, an Eagle native who has even named one of her creations after her hometown. She started making her own candles out of necessity.
"I love candles but my husband complained about candle scents," Beard said. "He said they gave him a headache."
She tried lots of different products, including many pricey options, but the problem persisted. Ultimately, her daughters gave her a candle-making starter pack and Beard began experimenting to see if she could concoct a mixture that would satisfy her need for scent and her husband's sensitivity to it.
Turns out, she could.
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High Country Candles feature a 90 percent coconut and 10 percent soy wax blend.
"It's all about the mix," said Beard.
Beard noted that coconut wax is more expensive than soy wax, but said her blend burns slower and holds its scent better.
"This organic blend is the most sustainable and cleanest," Beard said. "It's the best on the market."
After she found her formula, Beard started giving out her candles as gifts.
"I would make a candle for someone and they would want a bunch more," she said. "I have been making candles for a long time and I just started selling them because so many people wanted them."
Making a great product is only the first step toward entrepreneurial success. Figuring out how to market it is crucial. Beard honed in on the idea of selling candles as a reflection of high country living.
Her business name — High Country Candles — reflects that image and her scents were initially inspired by the smells around Western Colorado. Her collection has since expanded all the way to the West Coast.
There are six High Country Candle collections including mountain towns, valley towns and Colorado sports. Each collection features an array of four scent types — woodsy, floral, food-inspired and ozone/clean. Beard worked to distill a community's character in her scents.
The Eagle candle, for example, is a lavender and sage mix reflecting the vegetation around the town. Palisade, predictably, is a peach-scented candle. The Breckenridge scent is described as fireplace and Telluride smells of eucalyptus and spearmint.
In her sports collection, Beard's scents reflect experiences. "The Rockies scent is like fresh cut grass, the type of thing you would smell when you go to a baseball game," she said.
Beard's personal favorite is High Country Christmas Tree. She loves how the candle emits a fresh forest scent that isn't reminiscent of cleaning products.
"It just smells like a fresh cut Christmas tree," she said.
The longer they sit …
Beard is operating High Country Candles as an online venture, but her products are also available at the Eagle Visitor Center. Additionally, she will participate in a few special events such as the Rocky Mountain Cheer and Dance Showcase at Eagle Valley High School on Saturday, Nov. 3.
High Country Candles come in two-ounce or eight-ounce sizes. The two-ounce tins are sold in four-scent collections. Information about prices, collections and individual scent details can be found on the High Country Candles website.
Beard noted that customers don't have to worry about the shelf life of her products. "Basically, the longer a candle sits, the better it gets," she said. "Personally, I don't have to light candles any more because I am always making them."
To learn more, visit highcountrycandles.org.
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