Vintage. candles unwined

American Made Since 2013

Rebecca McLenna

Boise, Idaho
Vintage. has improved upon an old idea, evolving it into a new product that helps the environment, while supporting local, American made craft.
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Tell us about your business.

Vintage. candles unwined is a homegrown Boise, ID company. We handcraft 100% soy into upcycled wine bottles, cut and beveled by Usful Glassworks. (Usful Glassworks products are proudly produced by job training participants that include the homeless, refugees, low income seniors, at-risk youth and those on probation or parole.) Repurposing bottles that would have ended up in a landfill, we have created a usable, (and reusable!) product that people purachse everyday, and turned it into art. I had the spark of an idea when I saw a gentleman selling unlabeled, hand cut wine bottle candles at a Green event. I didn't think his product very 'green'. Not only was he using petroleum based paraffin wax to fill the candles, he was hand cutting the bottles, which made them look frightening even to light, and even less likely to be reused. Wanting to rid the world of paraffin and sharp glass, I set out to perfect what people have been doing since the 60's, and make it beautiful.

Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.

My kitchen is my creative space. I hope to one day have a working warehouse where I can hire someone to help me create candles in. Unlike many people, I do not aspire to having my own brick and mortar storefront, as I would love to continue wholesaling to other small gift shops that support hand-crafted, American made products. My work place is my 10X10 vendor tent that you can find me occupying during all types of community events. The most exciting part about what I do is meeting a diverse group of people, and getting in-person, positive feedback about my candles. Even better than that, is someone coming up to me at an event, stating that they have a couple of my candles, and buying another one. That's the best compliment.

What inspires you?

Just about any day in the gorgeous state of Idaho is inspiring. Sounds pretty cheesy, but just ask any native here! Recently, I was told by the director of Buy Idaho (a non-profit organization supporting all that is made in Idaho) that I embody the spirit of BUY Idaho. Those few words were all the inspiration I needed to continue on my path of spreading the word about buying locally and buying American made products. When I was much younger, I worked for a body care company that is now nationally known, and incredibly successful. The story was that this woman began creating all of her lotions and oils right in her bathroom sink. I think about her whenever I start feeling discouraged that things take so long to accomplish, or that I will never 'succeed.' If I ever have the opportunity, I may get the courage to tell her what an inspiration she has been to a former employee, and future nationally known chandler!

What makes your business stand out?

You will see many companies making wine bottle candles these days, but ours truly stand out. While some are cutting their own glass and crudely sanding it, our glass is beautifully beveled creating a clean, smooth edge safe enough to drink from. Once your candle has burned through it's long 75-plus hour life, you can reuse the container as a drinking glass. We label our candles with artwork by Idaho's best-loved artist, Ward Hooper, and we purchase our supplies as local as possible! Candles are a huge industry in this country. Unfortunately, some people continue to purchase and burn petroleum-based candles in theirs homes. Some paraffin is made from the bottom-of-the-barrel waste that even the gasoline industry has rejected. We hope that people begin making a conscious effort to buy only 100% soy, lead-free, dye-free candles, just like ours! And look: You get a drinking glass or vase when it has finished burning.

What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?

Take the chance and do what you love! Your work is your everyday life. Have something to look forward to every morning that moves you to create, and make a difference in your own life first. Then you can move on to changing the world.

What does American Made mean to you?

American Made is how we should be living. When we support businesses here, we are feeding our neighbors, educating our children, and keeping our country healthy. This is something we teach our children regularly; how their actions with their dollars affect their world and their future. We purchase American made whenever possible, as a family and as a business. America is full of great, creative minds, everything we need is right here.

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    Oct. 17, 2014

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