Monday, June 17, 2024

Thanks for the memories! May 2010-March 2020

Get the local dirt in our northwest corner • Regrowing in 2023!

Bee Hive Candles: From hobby to full-time business

Jan 8th, 2011 | Category: Crafts

by Brita Adkinson

What began as a hobby several years ago has turned into a full-time career for husband and wife team Darian and Jen Wesolowski, owners of Bee Hive Candles.

From their home in the foothills of eastern Whatcom County, the couple creates hand-poured candles from natural beeswax – candles that are both popular in the Northwest and across the country.

Bee Hive Candles started years ago when the Wesolowskis lived in Minnesota. Jen said her uncle, Bruce Wilmer, has been a beekeeper for as long as she can remember, and she would collect wax from his bees to make candles.

Darian and Jen Wesolowski, owners and operators of Bee Hive Candles, show some of their gift baskets filled with candles in different styles and sizes. PHOTO BY BRITA ADKINSON

When the couple moved to the Northwest, they continued getting wax from Wilmer and made candles just for the joy of it. Darian worked as a software engineer in the computer industry and Jen worked for a number of years as a teacher at  Nooksack Valley High School. As the demand for beeswax candles grew, eventually, they no longer drove off to work, but turned their hobby into a commercial venture and focused on growing their own business at home.

Starting with standard pillar candles in a few different sizes, the couple expanded their range of products to include votives, tapers, tea lights, travel-tin candles and aromatherapy candles. They now manufacture approximately 200 different styles of candles, and also make candles from honeycomb.

When the Wesolowskis started, they used one room in their home for candle-making. Then they allocated their garage to the business. “Finally, I had to build a separate building to fit in all our projects,” Darian chuckled, proudly showing the custom-designed 1,500 square foot shop, fitted with shelves filled with different types of candles, blocks of wax, and large tables for pouring the wax into the molds. The shop is filled with the beautiful scent of beeswax and herbal aromas.

“In 2000 we would use around 500 pounds of wax in a year,” Darian said. “Now, we use some 10,000 pounds of wax per year.”

They use pure, natural beeswax from Wilmer, as well as other beekeepers in Montana and South Dakota. The Wesolowskis strive to run their business with care and concern for the environment. “All our products are made only with natural raw materials,” Darian explained, “and we use biodegradable packing peanuts for our shipping.” The packing peanuts are manufactured from cornstarch and made by local company Anderson Paper & Packaging, based in Ferndale.

Locally, Bee Hive Candle products can be found in gift shops, including Mountainside Gardens on Mount Baker Highway between Maple Falls and Kendall, as well as Greenhouse, located on Cornwall Avenue in Bellingham. Their products are also featured at a couple gift and trade shows each year (most recently the Pacific Arts Holiday Market), and can be ordered via their website.

Contact Bee Hive Candles at (866) 411-9900 or visit BeeHiveCandles.com.

Leave a Comment