Step one: Bring 5 Points candle to nose, inhale. Step two: Swoon.
The heat hasn’t kicked in yet on a sunny Riverside Arts Market Saturday, but Joy Crawford protectively directs the airstream from two fans towards her candles. She’s brought 23 of the company’s more than 50 scents. “The fans are for me,” Joy says with a smile, her honey-blonde ponytail dancing in the man-made breeze, “but I say they’re for the candles.”
Two young women passing by exclaim, “What’s that beautiful smell?” and pull a hard left into the 5 Points Candle Company’s market stall.
“The most common thing we hear,” Joy said, “Is that our candles smell exactly like their names.”
“Lemon Meringue” evokes fresh pie, all lemon and caramelized sugar. Fuschia-colored “Raspberry Sangria” breathes wine, berries and citrus. A cobalt-hued gem titled “The Man Candle” smells like all your best first dates.
Inhaling “Beach Linen,” one woman exclaims, “If my beach towels smelled like this, I’d be wearing beach towels to work.”
The Crawford family got into the candle business almost by accident. After 14 years as a stay-at-home mom and internet retailer, Joy opened her Riverside boutique, Charm. Around the holidays their candle supplier got overwhelmed. Joy and her husband, Corey, took matters into their own hands. Weeks of research and 150 pounds of ruined wax later, their house-made candles went out on the store’s shelves, but at first the couple didn’t claim their creations. “In case they were bad,” Joy says, “we didn’t want people to know they were ours.”
As it turns out, success really does smell sweet. “People came in and loved them,” Joy says. So, when the boutique became too much on top of busy family life, the family focused on candles.
Each market week has its routine. Joy and Corey order supplies and test new ideas Monday through Wednesday. On Thursday mornings, time-intensive candle making begins. Over weeks of practice, the couple refined their technique, learning to keep the glass candle holders exactly as warm as the wax poured into them. Fancy wick setting equipment was rejected for the efficiency of a wooden kitchen spoon. “You have to take the time,” Joy says. “Patience is the hardest part.”
The Crawfords chose their soy-based wax because it provides a cleaner and longer burn. A 5 Points candle lasts for 55-62 burn hours if, Joy cautions, “you trim the wick.” The couple uses American-made products: the bases of the scents they mix come from Kentucky, the hand-made wicks from South Carolina.
Joy and Corey Crawford consider their candles sources of light as well as well as mood-setters. The colors and smells of their candles invite conversations about dreams and memories. “Come here,” a shopper holding “Candle #5” says to her friend. “This one literally smells like Christmas!”