Candle De-Light

Our friends at Castine Candle are giving away four candle collections to Maine Maven readers. But we thought you should get to know them first. So here's a Q & A with owners Micah and Carrie Thurston. Oh, and entering is easy — click here for details.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your family
We are a crew of five. Micah and I are from Maine and one of the best things about what we do now is we are getting to know all of our state — there is a lot here! The most important thing to us is family and we have a great time together. If you are a Facebook fan, you will note that we go by the names Candle King (a term of endearment given to Micah shortly after we became owners by some friends), the Queen — although I would love diva status — and Prince One, Prince Two and Princess.  Our children are ages 9, 5 and 5 and we have the life to match that.

How did you get into the candle business? 
Our oldest son, Prince One,  wanted to play football and our community did not have a league. Micah decided to begin a fundraising effort to start up a league and after six months we had a league, with over 70 kids participating. The previous owner of Castine Candle approached Micah and asked if he might like to consider purchasing the company. As you can see on our website, no one was more shocked than we were at the thought, but here we are and we couldn't be happier about the decision.

The name of the company is Castine Candle but you're in Benton — what's up with that?
What is up with that???!  Honestly, that is where the company was based when we bought it. One of the previous owners decided to call it Castine Candle and I must say, it's a much better name for a company than Benton Candles! Castine is one of the town names that most brings to mind the great things about our state and we find it a great name for a Maine-based company.

There are so many candle companies out there. What sets Castine Candle apart?
The clean burn and fantastic scents which come from essential oils. We are extremely dedicated to the fact that we carry the made in Maine trademark designation sticker and the level of quality that represents. Every candle is hand-poured and every component of our product comes from the United States and whenever we can Maine and New England. Our wax is a cosmetic grade just as what you find in makeup and our scents are true and crisp. Once people burn them, they love them. With the times, people need to be able to purchase a quality gift that is under $20 and our candles give you a chance to do just that. What matters most to us in addition to the quality of our product is the relationship with our retailers. We aim to have their customer service experience be the best of their day and that is passed onto the customer. In the words of one of our retailers, "You've tried the rest, now try the best!"

Are your wicks lead-free?
Absolutely!  The small metal you see is zinc, no lead.

Tell us about the fundraising efforts Castine Candle is involved with.
As we previously mentioned, we became owners after a fundraising effort ourselves and realize the work that is involved in such endeavors. We support the Campaign to End Maine Hunger,  the Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing, the New England Society of New York City, which supports higher education, and of course many, many schools and clubs. This fall we will be supporting the New Hampshire Credit Union League with their commitment to Make A Wish, one of our personal favorites. We hope to continue to expand this part of our business as we grow and be known as the candle company that is community-oriented. Schools and clubs LOVE that we give 50% back with incentive bonuses on top of that and for those busy moms and dads who are involved in everything, we package all of the items individually. No extra work. We even let you pick the scents you love.

Describe your collections
We have 13 different collections currently. We try to meet the needs of everyone and people have different palates. We have a Breakfast Blend, Spice and Cookbook, Berry and extensive Fruit Collection. The Home and Garden collection holds some of my favorites. We have a Welcome to the Family set and I still burn the Fresh Powder in the twins' room. We get many requests from our coastal shops for the Maine Summer and Nature collection. The best sellers come from our Harvest and Holiday collections and of course, our Man Cave candles. You just cannot beat Balsam Fir any time of the year and our Maine Reflections runs an incredibly close second. We have just launched the Mainely Martinis and they are already showing that they are going  to be a huge hit for the holidays.  It feels just like you are holding a real martini!  We welcome suggestions from shoppers specific to what scents you want to have.

We love the Man Cave candles.  How did you come up with that idea?
Did you know that men love candles as much as women?  No joke. Last year, with the Bob and Sheri Show collection, our Internet orders were more from men than women. More and more men suggested a Deer Camp or Locker Room candle and the idea was born. The King came home and said, "I can make a candle look just like a foaming beer, what do you think?" We then solicited idea names and scent matches from some of the manliest men-law enforcement and voila! the collection was born.   It is the one that makes everyone laugh and the scents are great —an absolute best seller! What is also great is that gifts for men can be hard to find and these are great for dads, coaches, husbands, bachelor and retirement parties and of course for anyone who has a Man Cave. Our next series will focus on sports and expanding the collection so ideas are always welcome.

What's your favorite scent?
That is an impossible question! It keeps changing. I still cannot go into a shop that carries our candles and not lift and sniff-even though I am around them all the time.   In each collection, I have favorites.  And with over 110 scents, there are some that I don't like. We have found that the candle palate is like wines, and once you know five or six scents that people like, you can predict what others they will.   When I asked the Candle King, he laughed and gave the same response. Our most popular scents are the ones with the Maine-based themes and of course The Man Cave. Right now in our kitchen, we are burning Mulled Cider and upstairs, a Pomegranate Martini.


Anonymous said...

I'm sitting near a Castine Candle that has never been lit and am able to enjoy the aroma. They're the best! The Man Cave candle collection has been a blessing - affordable, easy, and appreciated by the men in my life. Looking forward to the new line and hoping our local retailers will carry it.

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