A Jaffrey woman’s passion for candle making is shared worldwide
Baked apple pie and banana nut bread are just two of an assortment of jar candles available for purchase at Laurie Nelson's online candle business, Brookfield Candle Company.
These Cinnamon scented tapers have been hand rolled in special spices for a grungy look and are available on the Brookfield Candle Company website for purchase.
JAFFREY — With the help of a small candle-making kit, Laurie Nelson made her first candle, a strawberry scented one, in a baby food jar at her home in West Brookfield, Mass. At the time, she was a senior loan officer for a major mortgage company in her home state and never dreamed that her hobby would so quickly become a full-time career.
That was more than 10 years ago. Today, Nelson, who now resides in
Jaffrey, makes 3,000 to 5,000 homemade soy-based candles a month and sells them worldwide under the name Brookfield Candle Company.
“I was always a candle-lover,” Nelson said in an interview with the Ledger-Transcript on Thursday. “But after I made that first candle, one thing spiraled into another and I became known as ‘the candle lady of western Massachusetts.’”
While Nelson said she is still referred to in that way, she relocated in April with her family to Jaffrey, where she continues to grow her online candle-making business and one day hopes to open a storefront nearby. But opening that shop would require additional manpower; Nelson makes the candles, fills the orders and mails them herself, with the help of her youngest son, Kyle Nelson, who is home schooled.
From jar candles, to tarts and melts, to votive candles and pillars, Nelson said she has a wide selection of candles to choose from. Although most commercial candles are made of paraffin wax, which can emit toxins into the air, Nelson said all of her candles are made from renewable resources, such as soy beans and vegetables. The wicks are 100 percent cotton and contain no lead.
“All candles are made to order, too,” Nelson said, adding that she doesn’t have a back inventory sitting around her home.
Nelson currently sells to a couple of New Hampshire vendors wholesale, but said she is interested in working with the Monadnock region’s retailers on the opportunity to sell Brookfield candles in their shops.
For customers interested in creating a candle for a special event, such as a baby shower or a wedding, Nelson said she provides free consultation.
“If someone really likes a candle that they’ve had for years, but can no longer find the scent, I’ll try to duplicate it,” she said. “Or if they are having a wedding, I can match the candle color to the bridesmaids’ dresses.”
Nelson, whose eldest son Michael Nelson is in the military, has developed a new candle line called “Light the Way.” She donates 40 percent of all profits from the sale of the line to Operation Gratitude, which sends 100,000 care packages annually to U.S. Service members deployed overseas.
In a recent customer review, Nelson said she heard from a woman whose son had returned home on leave from Afghanistan. The apple pie scented candle burning in his home was one of the first things he mentioned to his mom, Nelson said.
“He said it smelt like home,” Nelson said. “What I do is not just make a candle, but in that case make people feel like they are at home.”
For information see brookfieldcandlecompany.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228 or email@example.com. She’s on Twitter at @alyssadandrea.