By Ginger DeShaney
Candles are so much more than a source of light or the perfect gift.
“Each part of lighting a candle, the glow from the flickering flame, the warm fragrance wafting through the air, elicits very personal emotions,” said Ashley Seamans. “A familiar scent can trigger joy, calm, focus, and bring new energy to your sacred space.”
Ashley and her team at Noted make each soy candle and reed diffuser by hand in small batches in her open, light-filled South Boston studio at 423 W. Broadway, Suite 302. “Our candles and diffusers are used as a tool for creating a happier life and making your house feel more like home,” she said.
Noted’s core foundation is powerful: fresh and unique fragrances inspired by nature, clean and non-toxic ingredients, and a simple aesthetic. “That resonates with a lot of people,” Ashley said.
And people have been responding. Last year, Noted handmade roughly 25,000 candles, tripling its business from 2019.
During the most recent holiday season, two people were making candles full time during the day and Ashley was pouring at night and on the weekends.
“We saw a huge shop local initiative,” Ashley said. “People said they wanted gifts from local shops.”
Employers were buying Noted candles as employee gifts. Customers shared on social media and told their friends about the candles. Ashley’s updated website was also driving business.
“[Candles] can change the mood in your home without being a huge investment,” Ashley said. Noted candles, which are white and subtle, “complement your decor but are not obtrusive.”
Gift buyers share the fragrances they love with people they love. “You get attached to a certain fragrance and it means something to you,” she said. Noted’s signature fragrances include fraser fir, lime basil mint, white tea lavender, sea salt sage, and vanilla amber.
Ashley never thought she’d own a candle company.
Ashley operates two businesses at 423 W. Broadway: Local Maker Studio and Noted. After leaving a career in cybersecurity, Ashley wanted to help small businesses grow and started Local Maker, a multifaceted consulting agency founded in 2017 that is currently in COVID hibernation.
The original founder of Noted reached out to Ashley at Local Maker after a mutual connection suggested Ashley could help grow her business.
“I knew of the business before I started working with her,” said Ashley, who lives in South Boston. “I knew about the company because I bought the product and really liked it.”
But in 2019, the founder said running a manufacturing business was not what she wanted to do and said she was going to shut it down. She had no employees and was doing all the work herself.
“I decided to take it on,” Ashley said. “I knew nothing about making candles.”
She purchased the brand IP, the product formulas, the website, the customer list, and started fresh from there.
“The product is so good and people wanted it,” Ashley said. “I had to figure out how to get the product out there.”
Ashley learned a lot from the founder about making candles. She also learned from YouTube videos, her vendors, and other candle makers.
“We pretty much pour candles every day,” Ashley said, adding that 85 retailers carry Noted products. There’s a room in the studio for pouring and setting. Then the candles go to the main room for finishing. There’s also an inventory room and a showroom.
For a time, Ashley was the only person making the candles. “I made it, packed it, and shipped it,” she said.
Now she has employees who make the candles and do sales/marketing, customer service, and communications. She will be hiring a part-time fulfillment person. And, of course, there’s the Noted mascot, Louie, Ashley’s adorable dog.
Noted is doing partnerships with local brands, such as Sweet Lydia’s, a handcrafted candy maker. Ashley pairs a candle with Lydia’s marshmallows in the “Sweet Treat Care Pack.” In this way, customers are supporting two businesses at once, Ashley said.
While Noted has a strong online presence, people can also shop in the store, which is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.. Noted is open by appointment on weekends for candle refills or pickups. People can also sign up for socially distanced candle-making workshops. There’s a directory at the entrance to enter the Noted code to be let into the building.
Noted does candle refills of any containers. Some people bring in the containers from other candle companies; some people bring in vintage glassware; Noted also has vessels you can purchase to be filled.
Ashley’s plan is to use 423 W. Broadway in the short term for the candle business, then find a more suitable space — hopefully in Southie — for manufacturing and Noted’s headquarters. She would then refocus on making Local Maker Studio an event and rental venue.
“I want both Noted and the Local Maker Studio to be a bigger part of the community,” Ashley said. “I hope people are more aware that we are here and feel comfortable coming on up.”
- Instagram: @notedcandles
- Website: notedcandles.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/notedcandles