Washington Life catches up with Mei Xu who gives an inside look on her company, Chesapeake Bay Candle.
By Roshan Farazad
Mei Xu was tired of what she saw every time she window-shopped at home décor stores. That is when she decided to make a change and start her candle business.
Xu and her husband, David Wang quit their jobs to focus on starting their business. They began making candles out of Campbell soup cans in the basement of their Annapolis, Md. home.
“There was a gap in the home products that were not inspiring,” said Xu.
They eventually labeled their candle creations as Chesapeake Bay Candle in 1994 to pay a tribute to the natural beauty surrounding them.
When making the candles, Xu likes to pair scents that are not normally linked, such as honeydew with orange or cilantro with lime. All the fragrances are made in the United States, but according to Xu, what is inside each fragrance depends on the raw materials.
Chesapeake Bay Candle offers a variety of candle options for its customers, including a wide selection of scented candles such as floral, fruit, spice, and wood fragrances. Jar candles, gift sets, pillar candles, and diffusers are amongst the choices.
“We ask that our vendors use the most quality ingredients and they have to blend well with our wax to make a candle that is top quality,” she said.
What makes Xu’s business so unique is how global minded it is. She looks for ingredients that are used in cooking in Tokyo or Santiago. Chesapeake Bay Candle also employs various talents from around the world; it recently employed disabled Cambodians who were injured in landmines, to help them be more independent.
According to Xu, the latest trend in the candle business is simplicity.
“No more fancy packaging or fantasy names in fragrances. Give me a single note fragrance. Take me back to a simpler time where things were good, and memories are sweet,” she said.
Many people think that candles are for women only, but Xu begs to differ. She says that some retailers have a large male population that buy candles for themselves or for the women in their lives.
“It also says you don’t want to take it too fast. Most importantly, it says you are romantic. Now which woman can resist that?” said Xu.
Chesapeake Bay Candle says they plan to give away 40 handmade tins, made by disabled Cambodians, filled with rice flower fragrance candles. They are also offering pink candles in support of the Susan G. Komen foundation for breast cancer.
Chesapeake Bay Candle products are being sold on their website as well as at various stores, including Target, Kohl’s, and Bed Bath & Beyond. For a full list of stores to find Xu’s candles, click here.