The city of Charleston is filled with a number of great things to see and experience! Historic structures line our streets, each owning a rich past that could’ve have easily served as the inspiration for your favorite Southern novel. You’ll witness Live Oak trees with unwieldy branches that appear to reach for you over the course of your lowcountry stroll. A jog on the legendary Battery will acquaint you with rivers Ashley and Cooper, prominent figures along the Charleston Harbor. And if you’re fortunate enough to walk into 71 Wentworth Street, you’ll be introduced to another one of Charleston’s amazing sensory experiences…Candlefish, masters of candle making.
Recently, Pink Verbena was generously invited to attend one of this flagship store’s popular Scented Candle Workshops. Upon my arrival, I was immediately greeted by the inviting mélange of fragrances that floated in the air. Equally inviting were the smiling faces of the Candlefish staff or, “chandlers” as they are called (master candle makers). After being shown where the workshop would be taking place, I was encouraged to grab a few moments and wander around the store. A veritable seasonal wonderland, Candlefish plays host to an overwhelming array of local and international scents. The shelves house an “experience” for every type of personality and features treasures from around the country. The store was playfully adorned with floating book stacks, metallic, antlered artwork and gilded flying fish in the large display windows. You can’t help but brim with delight as you peruse the selection of unique gifts and quippy book titles. Even the soap dish in the washroom offered you a wise line or two. These charming details denote an enormous amount of care and passion for what they do there at Candlefish.
Making Friends and Candles
As our scented candle workshop began, Chandler Daniel had us don our aprons and roll up our sleeves. My workshop was attended by about 10 or so others — a mix of tourists, a trio of best friends and Charleston natives. After introducing ourselves with an “ice breaker” exercise, the jokes and laughter quickly followed!
Our stations were neatly prepared for us. What I imagined to be a hugely complicated endeavor quickly turned into easy to follow fun! Daniel walked us step-by-step through scent selection (more on this in a moment), why we used the cleaner burning soy wax for our candles, how the wax is melted in-store, measuring, mixing and of course, safety.
Follow Your Nose…and Your Heart
When you visit Candlefish, you’ll notice the exposed brick and beams lining the walls and ceiling of the store. Situated against one of those walls is an enormous scent library. Each candle was numbered and displayed under glass. The absence of names or labels helps each visitor choose a scent strictly based on personal preference and the feeling that candle may elicit. When it came time for us workshop attendees to choose our scents, we were taken to another library of sorts at the rear of the store. There, we would find opaque, glass bottles filled with fragrant oils. Daniel asked us to take our time, try each oil and select our favorite without the looking at the detailed descriptions. Listening to the others swoon and gasp as they took whiffs of each bottle added another element of fun to this outing. The assortment was vast, but, it took me only minutes to identify my favorite — the sparkling and fruity No. 002.
Violà! You’re a Chandler!
Once we finished gluing our wicks, pouring our melted wax, whisking in our scents and labeling our creations, our two scented candles were left to cool in-store overnight. That following day, we picked up your handmade crafts which were wrapped and bagged with care.
As I see it, anyone attending these workshops will ultimately leave with multiple gifts — A possible purchase or two, your personalized candles and the gift of a fun afternoon out with friends.
If you haven’t already, or if you’re overdue for another dose of inspiration, visit our friends at Candlefish, a true Charleston gem!
Workshop Set-Up (Classes are B.Y.O.B)
Charleston Based Candle Companies Showcased Throughout Candlefish Salesfloor