When Meaghan Keenan isn’t nannying, she is running her own local business, a candle company that’s booming at only over a year old and was inspired by unpleasant reactions she was having to traditional candles and fragrant room sprays.
Keenan then lived with her family in Boston. During the pandemic, while everyone was often home all day, Keenan was experiencing headaches. Between Tiger King episodes she began researching why she might be feeling unwell and soon suspected it was the candles her mother was frequently burning. She read that she might be able to avoid this reaction with candles made from soy wax instead of the commonly used paraffin wax.
While Keenan was ordering arts and crafts materials for projects for the children she was caring for, she decided to add soy candle wax, safe essential oils, and other items for her own experiments. She said the kids served as her “scent testers.” She poured her candles into baby food jars to give out as gifts, which she did throughout the fall 2020, which people enjoyed.
Eventually Keenan decided she could turn her “pandemic passion project” into a full-fledged business. After Thanksgiving she had the idea to launch the company, which she called Good Karma Candles, and didn’t fully begin selling directly from her website, thegoodkarmacandles.com, until March 23 nor did it officially become a business until then. The candles, which are poured in her basement, come in squat glass containers in scents such as juniper berry, citrus and sugar, and Tuscan plum. She wanted to make a candle that looked like it could belong in anybody’s room, not just a bohemian-chic bedroom, so she chose plain labels and clear glass and declined friends’ suggestions to add extras like crystals or lavender flowers. Keenan sells the candles for $15, with $1 from each sale going to the Boys and Girls Club of Boston. She was inspired to make the donation because she worked at the Boys and Girls Club in Lawrence when she was studying psychology at Merrimack College. (She graduated in 2017.)
The soy candle market is crowded, but Keenan is hoping she can make a go of it. The San Francisco-based market research firm Grand View Research reports that a growing number of consumers in the last few years prefer natural wax candles, hoping to avoid synthetic candles with problematic ingredients like “contaminated oil, lead wicks, and synthetic fragrance.” Grand View Research also notes that millennial women are the dominant consumer of all kinds of candles, and they buy a lot of them.
Since March 2021, Keenan has sold nearly 700+ candles as far away as California and Canada. Her website also has tips about how to burn candles, like not burning a candle for more than four hours at a time in order to avoid unnecessary and unaesthetically pleasing soot.
April Federico is a Rhode Island-based writer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @AprilRD2Be