Mary Jane Minogue of MJM Candles has been crafting beeswax candles since 1984. One of her first retail locations was the farm store run by Kimberton Whole Foods founders, Pat and Terry Brett, at Seven Stars Farm. The candles are made using 100% beeswax, cotton wicks, and pure essential oils. Read on to find out how this local artisan got her start.
Tell us about how you got your start in candle-making in 1984.
When my friend, Alana, showed me how she made hand-rolled beeswax candles, I immediately fell in love with the process and the colors. Over the next few years, as I experimented with the wax, my family and friends received more candles than they could burn in a lifetime!
When did you decide to turn your passion into a business?
In 1988 I was inspired to start a very small business. My sister, Liz, helped me design a display and before I knew it the candles were in a few stores and people were buying them! It’s hard to believe that was 30 years ago – and making beeswax candles is as much of an adventure now as it was when I first started out.
Where do you make the candles?
In my home. I converted one of my bedrooms into a “candle factory”! I roll the candles after work and on weekends.
Does anyone help you in your business?
My family helps out a lot – especially at craft fairs and festivals. In 2016, my sister Liz joined me in making candles.
What are the benefits of burning beeswax?
- Beeswax is all natural, with no toxic byproducts
- Burning beeswax candles generates negative ions that help to neutralize pollutants in the air
- The light produced by beeswax candles is the closest to natural sunlight
- When burned properly, beeswax candles do not drip or produce smoke
Where else are your candles sold?
In addition to Kimberton Whole Foods, the candles are currently sold at the Lancaster County Farmers Market in Wayne, PA and Common Housefly in Black Mountain, NC.
What has changed in the way you make the candles over the years?
The candles are made from 100% beeswax and the wicks are square braided cotton. The way I make candles has remained the same over the years and, now, the familiar process of making candles helps me to relax and become more centered – especially after a long day at the office.