Rhode Island Monthly: Tell me a bit about yourself and your background. Why did you decide to launch CAM Candles?
Nicole Duxbury: I started it last year actually, April 2020 when the pandemic hit. Before that, I worked as a dental assistant and took time off to care for my son, who is now two years old, so I stayed home with him. I was thinking of going back to work, and that’s when the pandemic happened and it all stopped, so I couldn’t go back to work anyway. I had all this time and always wanted to start my own candle business, so I decided to go for it. I ordered all the supplies I needed and just started making candles and sold them right from my house, and it all took off from there. I created a website on Etsy and people really loved my products, so I kept going and it has been growing ever since.
RIM: How did you learn to make your own candles and soaps?
ND: I have always been a big fan of candles. I started experimenting with soy wax because I started reading about paraffin wax, which was in all the candles I bought at the store and I had a lot of headaches because of it. candles that I was burning. So once I started researching I found out that there are actually toxins in this wax when you burn the candle that are released into the air. A lot of people I have spoken to say they have had headaches from the candles which is why I went with soy wax because it doesn’t burn any toxins when you light the candle. This is what really inspired me to make soy wax candles. The idea was to offer a non-toxic product.
RIM: What are your favorite products that you sell?
ND: The scent I like the most is sea salt and orchid. Pineapple sage is another one that I really like. I love them all but these are my two best. For soaps, I make these coffee bean scrub soaps that I really like. It’s a really good exfoliant, and my fiance loves this soap. He loves to use it after a long day at work. He loves it and always recommends it to anyone he talks to.
RIM: What are your goals for CAM Candles?
ND: I just want to keep growing. For the first time, I did a lot of farmers ‘and artisans’ markets, so I want to continue with that. In addition, I really want my business to stay environmentally friendly. I try to use as little waste as possible. I don’t like to use plastic in my packaging. I would also like to have more online sales in the future just to market my business. I want more people to know this and know what my mission is.
RIM: What’s your favorite part about owning your business? Your biggest challenge?
ND: Doing my own hours is awesome. I’m able to be a stay-at-home mom, I really don’t miss a thing with my son, which is really great. I am able to do it and also take care of it. Really just experimenting with different scents, just having fun doing it, the whole process.
One challenge I have is keeping track of the inventory. Just knowing how much I need to do something at a time and keeping the costs as low as possible on my end.
RIM: What makes your products different?
ND: I feel like my products stand out because I make them individually. With soy candles, I feel like they are unique because there is a process for adding scents to candles, and everyone can do it a little differently and I feel like they have a unique method that really works. The candle is able to retain a scent very well. Sometimes with soy candles it’s hard to get a strong scent from the candle so I feel like I have a pretty unique formula that works well to maintain a good strong scent. In candles and soaps I make them all natural, I use organic oil. They are also all vegans. I do not use any animal products in my soaps. For the coloring, I try to experiment with different food products to color my soaps. For example, for one of my soaps, I use bee pollen to give it a yellow color. For the red I used beetroot powder so it’s just experimenting with natural ingredients.