Handmade in O.C.: Laguna Candles

A partnership between a family business and local artisans wows the senses

IMG_9375It started with a love for candles. Company founder Sharie Hendricks always had them burning in her home when guests would visit. In 2003, with the help of her husband, Clarence, a marketing photographer, she launched Laguna Candles. Her aim was to produce and sell clean-burning candles made from a soy blend.

“Most candles, especially back then, were made with paraffin wax,” she says. “I didn’t want to be burning a petroleum product in my home.”
After she launched her Coastal collection—hand-poured candles displayed in minimalist glass containers—Hendricks reached out to the arts community in Laguna Beach to commission one-of-a-kind vessels. The result is her Heirloom Artisan collection.

John Barber Glass Designs makes the hand-blown, silver-infused glass bowls in various bright colors. Then Hendricks fills them with a blend of soy wax and coconut oil that’s infused with scents created with the help of perfumers.

“Once you’ve finished the candle, you’re left with an original art piece that you can continue to display,” Hendricks says.

IMG_9647Over the years, the whole family has become involved. The Hendricks’ grown daughters, and a granddaughter, now handle the financial, creative, and social media aspects of the business. Although the candles are sold online, most of the orders are from hotels, such as the Grand del Mar, and corporations that want private label collections.

“The fact that we moved to Laguna Beach from Missouri in the ’70s makes us grateful for the way that the city has embraced our product,” Hendricks says. “Being self-employed is not for the faint of heart, but it’s worth it.”


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