Keystone, Sturgis, Terry Peak, Spearfish Canyon. These aren’t pins on a map – they’re scents celebrating the unique beauty of the Black Hills in a new collections of candles from Pine-Clad Candle Co.
From the sage and sweet grass of Bison Prairie to the candy stores and cigar lounges of Art Alley, the 12-scent Black Hills Collection is a prime example of the regional flair and nuance that has made Pine-Clad Candle co. a booming small business in just over a year.
Owner Janelle Beebe has been selling the wooden-wick candles she hand-pours in her Rapid City home since the fall of 2017. She started making candles a few years ago as a relaxing hobby, then for family and friends, and soon decided to puruse a childhood dream of entrepreneurship by launching the candle company. But her first candles weren’t the charmingly simple jars of cream-colored wax Pine-Clad is now known for.
“They looked ugly, they didn’t smell good, they didn’t burn well,’ said Beebe. “It’s a recipe you have to follow to a T. It’s a lot of math and science. And if you don’t follow the recipe, it will be a disaster.”
Aside from learning to make the candles look and smell nice, Beebe wanted to be sure her candles promoted environmental sustainability and wellness.
“following the recipe, melting the wax, pouring into the jars – it takes a lot of time. They’re all made with love.”
The undyed soy wax burns clean and lasts long, and it’s also safer to breathe than petroleum-derived paraffin wax. The broad wooden wicks look rustic and provide a homey ambiance by crackling like a fireplace as they burn, and they’re sourced only from Forest Stewardship Council-certified mills. Beebe also uses only high-quality fragrance oils to craft the nearly 100 scents she offers.
“As a small business, financially it would have been smarter if I had just stuck with 10 scents,” said Beebe, “but I knew as a customer I would want to have a huge selection of scents.”
That perspective—what if I were the customer?—drives many decisions for the company. Beebe’s husband, Ben, helps her make the candles in their home, and their 7-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter happily “test” new scents, so of course she wants her products to be safe. But even with using high-quality materials, the candles have to be affordable, too.
“I try to put myself into the shoes of everybody that might be wanting one,” said Beebe. “If I imagine a mom wanting to spoil herself and buy some candles, I would probably feel guilty if I bought a really expensive one.” That’s why Pine-Clad offers three sizes, she says. The smallest is four oz. and costs $7, and the largest candle—a full pound of wax costs $22 and will burn for 80 to 100 hours.
Three sizes, 100 scents, a web shop, and retail availability in about a dozen stores all sounds like a lot for a new company whose owner also has a full-time job managing a preschool—and it is. Beebe recently paused website orders for about week to allow herself to catch up after attending a wedding out of state, but she says things like that are good lessons as she learns to balance business success and family life.
“I love the wooden wicks because of the aesthtic of them. they’re pretty and they remind me of the black hills, and you get that crackle that reminds me of a fireplace.”
After all, without that life her candles wouldn’t be what they are. You don’t come up with scents like Pumpkin Crunch Cake, Tomato Leaf, and the sweet holiday special Elf Sweat unless you step away sometimes.
Luckily for the company’s growing fan base, Beebe is just getting started. “I have a lot of goals and ideas,” she said. “The first major one was the Black Hills Collection. I knew how important it was for me to do it, and it’s really exciting to see a vision come to life.”
She continued, “In a year’s time I hope I can keep setting goals and improving. Each time we make our candles we try to improve and get better every day.”
For more information, visit pinecladcandleco.com.
ON THE SHELF
Many small businesses now stock
Pine-Clad Candle Co. candles, including
the Rapid City specialty kitchen store
Someone’s In The Kitchen. Owner Ashley
Berry says the candles are popular
because they offer a regional touch her
customers are looking for.
The store carries food-based scents
to go with their kitchen focus, as well
as scents Berry says are a fit for the
Black Hills area, like one of her favorites:
Birch + Black Pepper.
“It’s not as piney as many seasonal
things,” she said. “That’s a nice sit-bythe-
Other Rapid City stores that carry the
candles are S & Co. Boutique, Victoria’s
Garden Floral, and 605 Vintage Chicks.
for a full list.