Words and photos by Olivia Bauso
As a small child, Christine poured her own candles with her mother. Twenty-two years later, she’s making candles again.
“I’ve always been a creative person,” Christine says. She continues, “It’s typically manifested in traditional ways like reading or writing.” Christine was a painter as a kid, and has tried her hand in sewing and other practical crafts as an adult. A few years ago, while brainstorming holiday gift ideas, Christine and her partner, Josh, decided to purchase a candle-making kit. She explains, “I remembered making candles as a little girl with my mom and knew I could make a dozen candles and hand them out as gifts, and it all started there.”
Recipients of the candles wondered if this was was a year-round practice, which lead Christine to expand her newfound hobby. Last December, Christine launched Love Light Etc as a full-fledged business after finding great success at Handmade Holiday. She attended the event in the South Wedge with 77 candles and returned home with only 8 left in stock. This overwhelming response proved to Christine that her hobby could be more than just that.
Christine was born and raised in New Jersey and moved to Rochester after attending law school at Syracuse University. She now serves as a full-time lawyer for a small, local firm. After a long day in the office, she finds stress-relief in candle making. She explains, “The whole premise of the business is that this is something we do because it is important to us and we’re passionate about it.”
All of the materials used in Christine’s candles are sourced from a company with clear product labeling. She says, “We know what’s in the wax we’re buying, what’s in the wicks we’re buying, and what’s in the fragrance oils we’re buying; we choose the fragrance oils to be phthalate-free and not require a California Prop 65 warning. That’s all more important to us than making a huge profit.” On her Etsy, she explains further, “In a world where our families and our friends are in pain because of corporate greed and bottom lines, I am opting out with the only voting power we really have anymore. Here's to being thankful that we can shine a little light out into this world.”
Though it took a couple years to take her candles from hobby to business, she continues to use same process. Each candle is hand-poured using small scale equipment. “They’re all handmade. We’re touching every candle when we make them. Every candle we consider to be made with love, and we really want to spread that message as much as we can.” Love Light Etc offers a wide array of scents in 8 oz. tins or as wax melters, including seasonal favorites like Pumpkin Spice. The company has even partnered with a local cidery, OSB Ciderworks, for a cider-scented candle.
“Candles are so universal. You can really meet people who, no matter what they do, they’ll go home at the end of the day and burn a candle, and I think that’s been pretty unique. We’ve met people who you would never meet otherwise,” Christine says. Meeting new people at events is one of her favorite parts of the business. She adds, “I’m a full-time attorney. That’s my career, that’s my profession. The candles are something that I enjoy. You can go to an event and meet 50-100 people and connect with them, and that’s what it’s all about.”
Christine continues, “I think it’s important that every person pursues what they’re passionate about. I do that in my career and also here, with Love Light Etc. It’s my labor of love, but it really feels less like labor and more like love.”
Shop Christine’s wide collection of soy candles and wax melters on 10/13 from 11am-4pm at our October Brainery Bazaar.