For candle maker Jessica Whitfield, the influences of her grandmother shaped her passion for crafting.
“My grandmother told me I needed to start doing something constructive because I had too much time on my hands," Whitfield said. "She was exactly right, so she took it upon herself to show me.
Whitfield, owner of Jessie’s Scented Candles and Gifts, marked her ninth year anniversary of her business this month. She has been making scented candles for events such as the Cooper-Young Festival and also began selling them on various online websites such as eBay and Etsy.
Whitfield began making candles at the age of 16 as a hobby. Her grandmother, who was taught by her mother, taught her how to make them.
After her grandmother’s death, Whitfield started making candles all the time just to keep busy.
“It was not until people started offering money did I begin to sell them,” she explained, adding that the candles cost $5 each.
Whitfield uses a section of her kitchen as her work space, so she has been working with a realtor to find a building near the U of M. She feels it is a nice neighborhood to operate her business.
"Crime is low in this area,” she said. “I don't want to have to worry about break-ins or loitering.”
Being near the U of M, she feels that her profit will increase because the majority of her business will come from the students.
“I know students have a hard time with money,” she said. “My prices will be affordable for the students. I can even offer student discounts.”
She makes more than 20 candles a day and over 100 candles a week. The candles are packaged into a glass jar with clear wrap and colorful ribbons.
Her candles come in a variety of 50 different colors and scents. Her scents vary based on seasons and demand. The scent for this spring season is spring blossom.
“I am looking forward to finding the perfect location” Whitfield said. “Seeing my name on a sign in front of my own business will be a dream come true.”