Sweet smell of success: Bemidji woman’s hobby grows into fun business
BEMIDJI -- You can find Angie Laurain at the Natural Choice Farmers Market on Saturdays during the summer. But she isn't selling fruits or vegetables, but rather candles, along with several bath and body products. Laurain, 41, is the owner of Wick N Scents.
The business grew out of her first learning to make candles. "I started out with a lighter with a touch on it and some old candle wax," Laurain said. Her hobby soon grew to include lotions and soaps. Her interest was sparked when her mother was experiencing breakouts because of some skin care products purchased over the counter, she said.
Laurain started experimenting about 15 years ago, and has been running the company for about 10 years. "I was just doing it for fun and then people started liking the candles," she said. "I would just give them to people like family and friends or the bowling team, people were like 'You should make a business out of it,' and that's when I started doing it."
Laurain makes her products with several scents, and she often receives requests for particular scents, including bacon, which has been popular lately. Each lotion includes an average of 14 ingredients, which Laurain tries to obtain from local vendors. "My beeswax comes from right here in Bemidji, I get it from a local beekeeper," she explained.
The products Laurain makes are considered all natural, she said. "I don't have any of the sulfides, I always make sure when I'm looking into something that it doesn't have any of that stuff," she said.
A popular product she makes is called "bug be gone" lotion -- "it actually repels mosquitos, wood ticks, biting flies," she said. "A couple of weeks ago, I had someone that was having an issue with their child, it looked like chicken pox but it was actually mosquitos bites, so I gave them the lotion and three days later, it was all cleared up."
Although Laurain admits that she doesn't see herself as a business woman -- "it's just something I've always done" -- she maintains a website and Facebook page for the business. While having a store to sell her products is a goal of hers, Laurain said she enjoys the experience of selling her products in a way that lets her develop relationships and friendships with customers. "I don't want to lose that personal interaction that I have with everybody," she said.