Step inside Aroma Candle Studio and you’re met with a slew of scents that tickle your nose, tease your taste buds and trigger thoughts of happy times. Welcome scents like baked bread, honeysuckle and hot cocoa … morning dew, gingerbread and campfires … bacon, old books and autumn leaves. In all, there are 100 aromatic oils from which to choose to create one’s personal candles, wax melts and body sprays.
Here, customers from age 8 to 80 select their favorite oils, then sit at the fragrance bar and mix them: a drop of this and a dash of that. The result? A candle or spray with a scent all one’s own.
Allowing consumers to create their own purchase is a retail concept of the times, said Wendy Mills, co-owner of the shop on Bel Air’s Main Street.
“This generation wants the experience of doing something,” said Mills, 56. of Abingdon. “You can buy a [cheap] candle at Walmart, or one at Jo Malone for $150, but where’s the adventure in that?”
Moreover, she said, there’s joy in concocting one’s own retro fragrance.
“Our emotions and memories are very much tied to scent,” said Mills. “You think, ‘Gee, that smell reminds me of something’ or ‘It takes me back to when I was a kid.’ We all thrive on that.”
The store opened in November 2019 and has survived the pandemic. Patrons wear masks and observe social distancing. Clients run the gamut, she said:
“People come for ‘a girls’ day out,’ a date night or a family outing. We’ve had a Brownie troop. A lot of young teens, especially girls, like to make their own candles. Once, three girls came in just before one of them was to move away. They chose the same scent so they would always remember each other.”
While adults fancy certain fragrances (bourbon, wasabi and Earl Grey tea), others appeal to the younger set (bubble gum, cotton candy and whipped cream). Candles cost between $17 and $37; flameless wax melts (for kids) and body products, about $15. Candles are made of clean-burning soy wax and, once the oils are poured, take about 90 minutes to set.
Customers leave with keepsakes that appeal to their senses, Mills said: