EAGLE – A clean, sweet smell pours out of an old warehouse in Eagle next to the Superior Drywall Company Wednesday morning as rain clouds hang low over the valley.But it’s not the scent of summer showers that fill the air. There’s no spa in sight, and no one’s doing laundry. It’s the scent of freshly poured candles oozing out of the white building that houses the Covered Bridge Candle Company.Inside, hundreds of glass jars color the otherwise ordinary storage room with vibrant pink, orange, purple and green and the refreshing aroma of grapefruit, mandarin, lavender and yuzu fruit swirl into the air. By the look – and smell – of things, you’d think you’d find a woman hard atwork mixing the brightly colored wax and delicious essential oils. But it’s 27-year-old Vail ski patroller Patrick Martin and 28-year-old event organizer John Moore who greet you at the door, pink wax on their clothes and dye stain on their hands.
Martin and Moore, the founders of the candle company, have been busy with the production of their newest line of four chic aromatherapy candles called “UnVail.” Each two-toned candle in an hourglass jar (undoubtedly female) is intended to encourage relaxation and overall wellbeing and comes with a recipe for a homemade spa treatment like bath beads or sugar scrub. Drama Queen’s lavender, cormint and orange properties relax body and mind. Skinny Dip’s tangy grapefruit oils promote relief from mental and emotional fatigue. Mandarin Martini’s warm citrus blend helps calm and reduce tensions from the day. Divine Intervention’s sweet yuzu fruit therapy reduces feelings of stress, grief and anxiety.It’s a far cry from their original line of candles geared toward valley visitors with scents like “powder day” and “blue sky.””This girly style product was outside our realm of thinking,” Martin said. “We wanted to get in the market of gift boxes. We researched it and this is what we came up with. We had a lot of help from our girlfriends and our sisters.”It took Martin and Moore more than a year of extensive testing and focus group research to craft the spa-inspired candles, which debuted in June.
The goal was to make the smoothest burning, longest lasting candle available. The way a candle burns depends on the wick, martin said, and which wick you use depends on the shape of the container and the color of the wax. For example, a darker color may require a wick that is more loosely coiled since it tends to clog easier. “It’s really a science,” Moore said. “And it’s a pretty labor intensive process,”The process of making the layered candles begins by heating the glass jars in a conveyor oven to ensure a smooth appearance of the wax. Once the glass reaches around 300 degrees, they secure the wick to the bottom with adhesive and pour the first layer of wax. After the first layer dries, which usually takes about two hours, they run the jar through the conveyor oven again so that the fresh wax takes to the existing layer. For even layering, Martin and Moore measure using the “cost-effective” method of a ruler and dry erase marker to determine the pour. If there are any imperfections once the second layer dries, they put it through the conveyor again.”We do it all from start to finish,” Martin said.The hard work seems to be paying off. After contracting more than 50 stores in Colorado, starting locally at Roxy in Vail and Beaver Creek, the line is being sold nationally at stores in New York and Washington, D.C. Next week, they have appointments with retailers in Atlanta, Chicago and L.A.
The creative duo hand selects each store, forming relationships with the vendors selling their products.”We like to know where we’re selling and who we’re selling to. A part of that is them knowing who we are, too,” Moore said. “If you’re invested in them, they’re invested in you.””And it’s gotta have that trendy, boutiquey feel,” Martin added.Martin and Moore, buddies from high school in Maine, always had dreams of starting a business together, they just didn’t know what.”We knew it would be in the business of manufacturing,” Moore said.Martin moved to Colorado five years ago and joined Vail Mountain ski patrol. After a few years of tossing around ideas, the two decided on candle-making about two years ago. Moore moved to help get the business off the ground.
“There are a lot of candle companies all along New England,” Moore said. “There was really a market for it here. No one was doing it, so we really found our own little niche.”This season will be the first in five years Martin won’t be patrolling Vail Mountain since the business has taken off.”In a few years, I hope to have time to ski again,” Martin said of his bittersweet success.For more information or to place an order, visit timetounvail.com or call
1-877-41-CANDLE.Staff Writer Laura A. Ball can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 619, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado
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