Making those sweet scents

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 28, 2005

Walking into Julie Leonard's shop with your eyes closed you might guess you were in a bakery, a Laundromat or even a fruit stand.

However, none of these are Julie's field.

Leonard is a purveyor of atmosphere, and with Julie's Candles & Supplies, Inc. entering its fifth year, you might say she has a nose for success.

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The happiest business owners seem to be the ones who are in a field that they love, and Julie Leonard loves candles.

She loves them so much that she decided to open her South Point shop (with the help of her father, Larry Burrows) when she was burned, so to speak, one too many times by weak candles.

"I got tired of wasting money on candles that didn't smell," Leonard said. "So I started making them, I enjoyed it, and dad came to me and said 'Why don't we go into business?' So we did, we started making candles and selling the supplies."

Leonard's favorite part of her job is finding the perfect fragrance for the perfect person, and learning what scents make her customers' noses twitch.

She has even gone the extra mile to track down some unconventional smells.

"We had a carry-out who wanted hemp and beer candles," Leonard said.

"They wanted us to order that scent for them.

We had another lady who wanted us to order bacon scent to put on her daughter's pillow."

The name of Leonard's shop is a tad misleading, as she said that 90 percent of her business is the selling of candle-making supplies.

For those that have a perfect scent in mind but are new to wax work, Leonard offers a thorough candle-making class that she said can turn anyone into a candle craftsman.

Instead of purchasing expensive supplies specifically for candle making, Leonard has become an illumination innovator.

She uses a specially made shot glass to dole out dye, a standard pitcher to pour ingredients, and a turkey roaster to keep her wax hot.

When candle connoisseurs see Leonard's easy set up, they're drawn to candle-making like moths to a flame.

"There are new people almost every day, candles just intrigue a lot of people," Leonard said.

"They want to know how it's done, and when they see how easy it truly is, they love it.

People go out and buy a candle and maybe it doesn't burn right, or it doesn't smell and they get aggravated.

But if they make their own candle they know they can make it as strong as they want and they know it's going to be a well-scented candle."

Unable to be contained by the four walls of her shop, Julie's passion for candles has spread across the globe.

Through her web site, ( she has shipped supplies and candles to Florida, Maine, Montana, and even Australia.

Customers appreciate not just her devotion to candles but her wide range of scents.

Her wall of non-descript white bottles contain classics like Cranberry, Vanilla and Apple Pie, but also some untraditional scents like Coast Soap, Toasted Marshmallow, and a Fresh-Squeezed Orange so authentic you'd swear you just miss-stepped in a Florida orange grove.

Though Leonard's vast array of smells can be a tad overwhelming, her philosophy on candles is refreshingly simple.

"I think the main thing is people want their house to smell good, they like the glow of the candle, but nine times out of 10 it's just that they want their house to smell clean and refreshed; because that's the place they want to relax in."

If your house could use some refreshing, you can visit Julie's Candles and Supplies at 504 Solida Road in South Point, Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Potential candle makers can call 740-377-3394 for class times.