Here at Jar Store, we’re incredibly proud to be the sole-supplier of glass jars to several small-business candle manufacturers across the US. We find a lot of benefit in reaching out and speaking with some of these small business owners, from insights about what it’s like to run your own operation in 2021, to inspirations for other candlemakers! Read on below to see what Misty McKinney had to say about her company, Misty Mountain Soy Candles LLC.
First off, I would love if you would share a bit about yourself. Your hobbies, passions, and how you began your journey as a candle maker.
Well, I spent twenty years in a mid-level management role in retail. Basically, in 2019, I had an opportunity to move with my husband to Montana, and the candle business became an idea at that point, because I had been researching how paraffin candles were affecting my allergies and my asthma.
I just couldn’t seem to use those paraffin candles. So a lot of planning and research went in for 2020. We’re talking about months of research, months of planning. And then I obtained the website, Mistymountainsoycandles.com, and I chose that name.
Obviously, my name is Misty, and the place that I live in, Montana, is beautiful and surrounded by two mountains on both sides. So that’s kind of where the logo came from. And I obtained the licenses I needed and launched it in February of 2021.
You’ve certainly done a good job selling soy-based wax on your website, with the way you talk about it as a safe, bio-degradable and vegan alternative to petroleum based wax. This allergy and asthma safe option is pretty unique to your company, and I think it’s a great selling point for people who are concerned with sustainability as well as the air quality of their home. Do you maintain environmentally friendly practices in your daily life as well, and would you say that the health of the planet is something you’re passionate about?
Absolutely. You know, I think that was a big contributor towards how I came to find Jar Store. When I was starting my company, I was looking for suppliers that could give me a reusable vessel. It was very important for me because soy is a great product to work with because it is biodegradable, and I wanted our jars to be able to be upcycled after the candle is gone.
I really do believe in the soy wax with no harmful additives, it’s very important to me. You know, it’s a renewable resource. So we’re not affecting the environment like we would if we’re using petroleum based candles, which is what paraffin is made from.
We’re also supporting our American soy farmers, which is another thing that’s important to me. On top of that, I don’t use beeswax on my wick. So therefore, it’s a vegan option for people who are really into that lifestyle. I don’t want any dyes in the candles. No phthalates, because that’s a chemical additive that has been linked to cancer. And so I choose fragrances that do not have those phthalate ingredients, along with premium wicks that don’t contain lead or zinc.
You’ve definitely dug out a little niche for yourself with your company. I think you’re checking a lot of boxes that a lot of, like, mass production candle companies don’t check.
Yeah, my customers really love the look of the apothecary jars, the storage jars. I use the 15 ounce jars and they’re great. I’ve even got a blog on my website called Waxing Nostalgic, and we have a blog post on there to talk about how to reuse your apothecary jar once you’re finished with the candle, because the candle has approximately 50 hours of life. So once that’s done, you know what to do with the jar. There’s a lot of great uses. I use them in my home. I have one right now on my desk full of paper clips.
I saw your blog! We actually have a similar one in our Idea Center, we want to encourage people to be creative with our vessels, and to use them for more than just a single-use purpose. I can tell we’re very like-minded in that sense.
Why do you think more candle makers haven’t switched over to a vegetable-based wax?
Well, I can’t speak for them, but in my opinion, soy wax is very difficult to work with. I use soy wax that doesn’t have additives. So that’s very difficult to work with as far as the curing process. So sometimes that can lead to some issues in production.
You have to get it perfectly right with the temperatures and the curing process. So that could be something that deters other people, could be the cost as well.
Misty Mountain Soy Candles is a woman owned business, operated by you, Misty McKinney, (Which I now see is also where the name “Misty Mountain” came from). Could you tell me about any extra roadblocks or hurdles that you had to cross as a woman trying to get a business off the ground?
I think, as they say, with great risk comes great rewards. So I would just implore anyone that’s looking to do it to ensure that they have a mentor that could possibly help out a lot in the process, and also maybe take some business courses. I had that business skill set from, like I said, 20 years of working in the corporate world. So I had that already. But definitely find a mentor that can help you with the candle business, because there’s a lot to know, and you’re basically learning as you go.
Shopping for glassware can be tough right now, given the state of the market. How did you find Jar Store?
Well, you know, when the planning and research was going on in 2020, I was looking for companies that were that were able to supply me with the products that I was looking for that were made in America.
And I found Jar Store, it was like a second round because I had actually found a different supplier for the jars, but they came in broken. So I went back to the drawing board and started do more and more research.
I found the Jar Store website, and I saw the amount of products that were available, and the cost of shipping was low. And once I placed an order, I got the order in and nothing came in broken, because of the care that’s taken with the packaging, which I appreciate being a small business owner, everything coming in in one piece really matters to us.
So, you know, that is what made me stay with using Jar Store for our apothecary jars. And, you know, the other thing is the additional packaging that is in the boxes, I try to reuse that when I ship candles out as well, so that’s a win-win for everybody.
When you’re creating candles like “Nevermore” and “Vampire’s Blood” from your Halloween lineup that don’t have an exact scent to capture, what is your creative process like? Do you come up with a name first and try to match the scent to the name, or do you find an interesting combination of flavors and let the name come to you?
I think it goes both ways. I have been very fortunate to work with a small group of creative people and collaborate with them, I can bounce ideas off of them and also absorb critiques. So, if I have ideas about something, they can give me feedback.
And sometimes it’s born out of a scent that I’ve mixed. “Nevermore,” specifically, was born out of being an Edgar Allen Poe fan. So, I wanted something that was dark for that. It goes both ways.
What’s up next for Misty Mountain? Do you have anything new and exciting on the horizon that you’d like to share?
We’re just excited about the about the holiday line coming up, because there’s a lot of new scents that the customers have requested. We’ve had a lot of feedback from the customers saying, you know, “We want to have a cookie scented candle!” And now we have that coming up!
One of my favorite candles that I have in the upcoming Holiday line is called “In the Pines”. It’s a great vanilla and cedar fragrance. It was inspired by Montana, because I live “among the pines” here.
So, I’ve taken that and added it with some frasier fir and some hemlock, and come up with a Yuletide candle. And it’s just great. I can’t wait for everybody to get their hands on that because it smells wonderful.
Finally, is there anything that Jar Store can do to better help you?
Keep on keeping on what you’re doing. You know, I appreciate the Jar Store in helping me source the products that I need, and shipping quickly is very important. So I think just keep on doing what you’re doing and being a reliable source for us small businesses who are, you know, looking for that.
And that’s our interview! Be sure to visit mistymountainsoycandles.com and view Misty’s selection of vegan, soy candles. I have the “Wake Up Call” candle myself, and I have to admit that not only does it smell fantastic, it also doesn’t bother my asthma at all!
Misty was also kind enough to provide a coupon code for 15% off an order on her website, go to mistymountainsoycandles.com and use promo code JARSTORE when you order!