Nicole Collier brings the fun with handmade candles

Published 9:01 am Thursday, December 16, 2021

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By MICHELLE LOVE | Staff Writer

Candle lovers looking for the perfect addition to their collection have found a rare gem in Candles by Cole. The company is based out of the home of Helena’s Nicole Collier, a wife and mother with a full-time job who decided current lines of candles just didn’t appeal to her.

“I’m a child of the 90’s, so I wanted to create scents that would really appeal to me and my nostalgia of scents I actually enjoy,” she said.

She now has over 40 scents available to choose from, including scents like “Saturday Morning Cartoons” (which smells like Fruity Pebbles). She also makes custom candles for birthdays, anniversaries, showers or any special occasion.

Collier got the idea watching an artist on TikTok share how she made her own candles. Collier said to herself, “Oh, that looks easy,” only to find that it was in fact not easy.

She then went online and watched countless Youtube videos on what went into candle making, and through some trial and error processes, she eventually found her footing.

“It’s a long process of finding what works as far as jar size, wax type, wick size,” Collier said. “There’s so much that goes into making candles that I did not have a clue on.”

The first step was finding the perfect type of wax. The two majority waxes candle makers use are paraffin wax and soy wax; Collier uses a combination of the two waxes which she said is “the best of both worlds.”

Major decisions go into every aspect of candle making, especially aesthetics. Collier uses nine-ounce jars that she fills up with about seven or eight ounces of wax, and she said she wasn’t nearly prepared enough to learn there are in fact 20 different types of candle wicks to choose from. Once all of her supplies is assembled, she begins the actual candle making process, which is also a very intensive process.

“You start with your wax, you measure out your wax that you’re going to use,” Collier said. “There’s actually an app, of course there is, that you input the weight, water weight, percentage of oil and fragrance –  that’s another thing because you don’t want to have too much fragrance. Then you input how many candles you’re going to make and the app tells you how much wax and how much oil you need.”

Attention to detail is vital when making the candles, as everything from temperature to water weight could throw off the whole project. Temperature even determines how strong a candle’s scent will be.

“I have found that what works best for myself is finding scents that I like and doing it seasonally,” Collier said.

In May, she launched her dough bowls, which are larger candles in wooden bowls that have four to five wicks in them. Collier said she wanted to choose scents that reminded people of growing up in the south and made them think of their childhood.

“In May I launched ‘Shoo Fly,’ which is a eucalyptus blend that keeps the mosquitos and summer bugs that are so prevalent here in the south away,” she said. “I hate the smell of citronella, but it worked so well and it really did keep the bugs away. We also did a honeysuckle one that did really well.”

As far as future plans go, Collier said her son gave her the idea to do a series of Zodiac candles, with each Zodiac symbol having its own floral scent. Once she builds her customer base up, she is hoping to donate a portion of sales back into the community.

“We want to support causes that are important to us like helping the homeless, sexual assault survivors, domestic violence survivors and, of course, animals,” Collier said. “We want to support them and highlight them.”

Collier has used Facebook to get the word out about Candles by Cole, but she also relies on word-of-mouth marketing as she feels it’s the best form of marketing. Keeping things local is another thing that is very important to Collier. She said all of her supplies is purchased locally at Community Candle and Soap Supply in Pelham. Recently, she set up a storefront in Alabaster at the new Absolute Health and Wellness.

To purchase a candle from Candles by Cole, Collier said the best way is to reach out to her through Facebook.