Kristy Miller’s creative spirit and business mindset make her a natural entrepreneur. The Guelph resident and mother of three launched her business less than two years ago and has already seen skyrocketing sales and cross-country expansion of her product.
Miller is the founder of ‘The Scented Market’ – an eco-friendly candle company that uses natural, sustainably-sourced ingredients to produce a healthier alternative to some store-bought candles.
“I started out making healthier food choices for my family and buying healthier body products,” she said. “I love home décor so I figured why not make a healthier candle as well.”
Many scented candles contain toxic properties like lead wicks and artificial colours and scents. After burning candles regularly at home, Miller says she and her husband noticed black soot on the bathroom ceiling.
She said, “I woke up one morning and I told my husband, ‘I know I can make a go of this business and it can become something.’”
That was in March 2018. Today, Miller’s business has evolved from a stove-top kitchen project to an established brand with a full-time store in St. Jacobs market, products in 80 retailers across Canada and two full-time employees.
Her candles are hand-poured with natural soy wax using a cotton wick. They contain no animal by-products, making them vegan friendly. She has expanded her product line to include room sprays and car fresheners – all without any additives or preservatives.
But one thing hasn’t changed: Miller still works from home, although she’s been upgraded from the kitchen to the garage to accommodate her growing workspace.
“I feel like a mad scientist in the lab sometimes,” she laughed.
Miller’s three boys – aged three to 13 – are responsible for everything from labeling the jars with safety stickers, to placing the wicks, to setting up her various social media pages. Miller’s husband, nicknamed ‘the wax man’ because he is in charge of refilling the massive wax melting pot, is her biggest support.
“He vacuums, cooks, cleans and helps with the kids,” she said. “That’s a vital part of being an entrepreneur, is having a solid support system.”
Miller recently auditioned for Dragon’s Den where she impressed the producers but was asked to come back when she has a full year of sales under her belt. Meanwhile, she enjoyed a little celebrity status when her candles were featured on Canadian designer Jillian Harris’ Instagram page. The Scented Market has also been featured at markets and handmade shows across Ontario.
“We’ve been so busy…I just don’t stop,” she said.
Sustainability and eco-friendliness are key pillars of the business and Miller runs a jar recycle program where customers can return their empty jars for store credit. Cleaning and disinfecting the jars for reuse is a lot more work, but she says it’s worth it.
“We do what we can to make sure nothing is going to our landfill and we minimize what kind of things we’re throwing away.”
Miller hopes to one day open a retail shop in Guelph. For now, a limited selection of products can be found at Rug & Weave on York Road. Shop online at thescentedmarket.ca or on Instagram @thescentedmarket.