Rhody Maker: Nicole Duxbury of CAM Candles and Co.
The candle and soap company was born out of a pandemic pivot for a working mom in East Providence.
Rhode Island Monthly: Tell me a little bit about you and your background. Why did you decide to start CAM Candles?
Nicole Duxbury: I started it last year actually, in April of 2020, when the pandemic happened. Before that, I worked as a dental assistant and I had taken some time off from doing that to take care of my son, who’s now two, so I was staying home with him. I was thinking about going back to work, and that’s when the pandemic happened and everything closed down, so I couldn’t go back to work anyways. I had all this time and I had always wanted to start my own candle business, so I decided to start. I ordered all the supplies I needed and I just started making candles and sold them right from my house, and it just took off from there. I made a website on Etsy and people were really liking my products, so I just kept with it and it’s been growing ever since.
RIM: How did you learn how to make your own candles and soaps?
ND: I had always been a big candle lover. I started experimenting with the soy wax because I started reading some things about paraffin wax, which was in all the candles I was buying from the store and I had been getting headaches a lot from the candles I was burning. So once I started doing some research, I found out that there’s actually toxins in that wax when you burn the candle that are let out into the air. A lot of people that I’ve talked to say that they’ve had headaches from candles so that’s why I went with the soy wax because it actually doesn’t burn any toxins when you light the candle. That’s what really got me going on doing the soy wax candles. It was to offer a non-toxic product.
RIM: What are some of your favorite products that you sell?
ND: The scent that I love most is sea salt and orchid. Pineapple sage is another one that I really love. I love them all but those are my top two. For soaps, I make these coffee bean scrub soaps that I really love. It’s a really great exfoliator, and my fiance loves that soap. He loves using it after a long day of work. He just raves about it and is always recommending that one to everybody he talks to.
RIM: What are some goals that you have for CAM Candles?
ND: I just want to keep growing. For the first time, I’ve been doing a lot of farmers and artisans markets, so I want to keep up with that. Also, I really want to keep my business eco-friendly. I try to use as little waste as possible. I don’t like to use plastic in my packaging. I’d also like to have more online sales going in the future, just kind of get the word out there about my business. I want more people to know about it and know what my mission is.
RIM: What is your favorite part about owning your company? Your biggest challenge?
ND: Making my own hours is awesome. I am able to be a stay-at-home mom, I don’t really miss out on anything with my son, which is really awesome. I’m able to do this and also take care of him. Really just experimenting with different scents, I just have a lot of fun doing it, the whole process.
One challenge I have is keeping up with inventory. Just knowing how much I need to make of something at a time and keeping the costs as low as possible on my end.
RIM: What makes your products different?
ND: I feel like my products stand out because I make each one individually. With the soy candles, I feel like they are unique because there is a process to adding fragrances to the candles, and everyone can do it a little bit differently and I feel like I have a unique method that really works. The candle is able to hold a scent really well. Sometimes with soy candles, it’s difficult to get a strong scent from the candle, so I feel like I have a formula that is pretty unique that works well to hold a good, strong scent. In the candles and soaps, I make them all natural, I use organic oil. They’re all vegan, as well. I don’t use any animal products in my soaps. For the colorant, I try to experiment with different food products to color my soaps. For example, for one of my soaps, I use bee pollen to get a yellow color in it. For red, I’ve used beet powder, so it’s just experimenting with natural ingredients.