West Duluth’s new candle shop aims to provide comfort amid pandemic – Reuters

A Duluth business owner thinks her products, which are now available in a new storefront, can bring people some peace during tough times.

Kyia Plummer’s business, Naturalight Candles and Crafts, held its soft-opening Thursday at its new storefront in West Duluth. Located at 517 N. Central Ave., Naturalight specializes in all-natural candles. Scents range from eucalyptus mint to blackberry vanilla, teak wood and fern.

Plummer saw her online candle sales skyrocket when the pandemic began.

She attributes this to people spending more time in their homes and needing to bring comfort and relaxation to these spaces.

“I hope people are excited to go out and smell candles, and…bring them home,” she said. “If they can bring some relaxation, happiness or joy, then I think I’ve done my job well.”

Navigating the storefront opening was a challenge, especially during a pandemic. This required a great amount of planning and coordination. However, she said, “to be honest, a lot of it is also flying away. … (I) am slowly sailing, one day at a time, to see what 2020 has in store for me.”

Its main challenge is the loss of in-person interaction with its products. To make sure people can smell her candles safely, she researched and implemented a number of safety precautions.

“I provide…a product that relies solely on using your nose to smell and test it,” she said.

And she is wary of the future of the economy. People may choose to spend money on bills, food, and family necessities before opting to purchase a candle.

Teak wood and fern are the latest scent from Naturalight Candle owner Kyia Plummer. Plummer said her customers started asking for fall scents in July this year, which isn’t the norm. (Tyler Schank / [email protected])

Plummer has been in the candle business for six years, selling his products at art shows across the state. But the coronavirus put an end to those shows and his source of income.

“I decided to branch out and do something I’ve wanted to do for a while,” she said.

She hopes the display case houses more than her candles. She aims to exhibit her friends’ art, such as handmade jewelry, paintings, and body care products.

The space also caters to its candle-making process. She will make the candles in the basement, instead of a downtown studio that houses several other artists. Eventually, she’ll bring some of the candle-making process into the sales room — and one day offer classes in space.

Plummer’s passion for making natural candles was born after learning that many store-bought candles release “harsh” chemicals when burned. She wanted to make candles without these chemicals and founded Naturalight.

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Customers browse the Naturalight Candle window on its first day of opening on Thursday, September 17. (Tyler Schank / [email protected])

The company’s candles are made from southern Minnesota soybeans. The oils at the origin of the perfume of the candles are composed of vegetable and essential oils.

Plummer does a large amount of scent testing and tries to offer a variety of scents. But she admitted that earthy woods like teak, pine and cedar are her favorites.

Candles in these scents and more can be found in her West Duluth window display at the corner of Central Avenue and Grand Avenue, which she found after hearing a friend’s recommendation. She said the neighborhood has “a lot of potential.”

Naturalight is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.

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Naturalight Candle is located at 517 N Central Ave. in West Duluth. (Tyler Schank / [email protected])

Elizabeth J. Harris