“One of the huge mistakes people make is that they try to force an interest on themselves. You don’t choose your passions; your passions choose you.” – Jeff Bezos
In the case of Carly Grayce Low, the passion that chose her was candle making. For the very entrepreneurial-minded teen, it was a creative venture that utilized her love of making things and gave her a certain amount of financial independence—something that was very important to the then fourteen-year-old.
“I wanted to start my own business, even at such a young age, because I loved the idea of making my own money and being my own boss,” says Carly Grayce, who picked up candle making as a hobby to keep herself occupied during COVID and watched YouTube videos to learn the process. “I have always found myself trying to make new things and gain a profit from them. I made slime when I was in grade school and sold it to friends on the playground. My mother also took me to a slime rodeo in Dallas, where I sold out. I also made bath bombs and lip gloss before discovering candles, but the candles just seemed to stick. Being able to turn my hobby into a profitable business is a dream come true.”
More than two years in, the business has a moniker—Carly and Company Candles—and has been met with incredible success. “It’s growing so fast!” Carly Grayce notes. “We sold out three times in December. We’ve reinvested our profits to continue to grow, and we are always considering new marketing ideas—like creating exclusive signature scents for retail stores and for events like weddings.”
The we she refers to includes her mother and two aunts, each of whom own twenty-five percent of the business as her partners. “They put in so much work towards candle making, packaging, and advertising,” Carly Grayce explains. “They have the same work ethic as me, and the business has grown so much because I have had their help and support.”
With so many candle companies on the market, the key, of course, has been uniqueness. And Carly Grayce’s business has set itself apart not only in the fact that it is one hundred percent women-owned and founded by a young entrepreneur, but additionally in the way that Carly and Company Candles are packaged. Rather than using the same containers across the board, Carly Grayce and her team pour the candles into recycled and repurposed containers, making them unique and more eco-friendly.
“We are always on the hunt, everywhere, for beautiful containers to use, and we even reach out to our Facebook friends for Yoplait Oui jars,” she says. “I decided to use recycled and repurposed containers to minimize the waste of products, and because it’s fun creating something new out of something old. We started out using Yoplait Oui jars because they are a great size and shape for the candles, and then we moved on to using blue and white porcelain and cut crystal containers. All that helps set us apart, and it’s also a really pretty way to package the candles.”
The process Carly Grayce uses is relatively simple—once you know the science of candle making. “It’s definitely a scientific process, but it’s one that allows room for experimentation,” she says. “We mix our fragrances, melt, and infuse our wax, and hand pour and wrap every candle. We only use one hundred percent American-grown soy wax and the safest, highest quality non-toxic fragrance oils on the market, so all our ingredients are high quality. We are committed to making the cleanest burning candles possible, and we do not use any petroleum-based wax.”
Fragrance is another area where Carly and Company creates distinction. “Our scents vary from delicious baked goods to upscale perfumes,” Carly Grayce says. “We even have a new line of unscented survival kit tins, and we are developing a men’s line, since guys are buying our candles too! Some of our best sellers are Trippy Hippy, which is a smoky patchouli; Pumpkin Chai that is a yummy fall scent; Saddle Up, which has leather and tobacco; Bookends that smells like real pages of a book; and Chandelier, which is an upscale floral and musk. We are constantly developing and testing new scents, because we want to stand out and be one-of-a-kind so that our candles are as creative and unique as possible.
On a more personal note, I love mixing scents to create new fragrances. I also love the joy it brings my family and friends when they receive a candle that I have made—and how proud they are of me for making this all a reality and seeing it through.”
Carly and Company Candles are available through company-hosted events as well as local farmer’s markets, in Fort Smith at Sunshine & Oak in The Shops at BrickCity and at booth 526 at Remember When Antique Mall, and in Tulsa at Garden Deva Sculpture. They can also be purchased through Facebook, Etsy, and on their website, carlyandcompanycandles.com. “We are looking into some wholesale opportunities and our candles may be found in retail stores soon!” Carly Grayce says proudly.
Naturally, as she’s still in high school, Carly Grayce must balance the business with her schoolwork. “I make school my top priority, because I know the importance of graduating high school and getting into a quality college,” she says. “My business is my second priority, but I try to put a few days of my week into it. I have my mother and two aunts that help me with this business, and they support me and enable me to do both.”
Even with the heavy load of business ownership, Carly Grayce sees the value in what entrepreneurship has taught her. “It has taught me a lot of responsibility and money management,” she says. “I believe that I am working for the customer, and their satisfaction is my top priority. From the labels and packaging to the actual product itself, everything must be just right.”
That level of perfectionism is serving her well, and as the business continues to grow to a point at which it is profitable, Carly Grayce has definite plans for what she’ll do with her share of the profits. “Once we start to profit from our business, I plan to save my share to go towards college expenses,” she says, displaying her clear and level-headed approach to her future. “I plan to go to college to become a physical therapist. As for Carly and Company, I hope the business continues to grow to where we have a storefront in Fort Smith. That would be incredible! Another goal is, of course, going wholesale and as well as being sold in other stores across the country.”
From hobby to business, Carly and Company Candles is a vision brought to life—not to mention a testament to what hard work and dedication can create. It’s also a reminder that
dreams know no age, that creativity should be rewarded, and an entrepreneurial spirit should be allowed to shine. Inspiration is a powerful thing—and Carly Grayce has built something to inspire others, with every candle lit.
For more information, visit Carlyandcompanycandles.com or find them on Facebook.