Poured with Love

Candles Etc. creates unique local scents

Kerri Story

At its simplest, a candle is a source of light, heat, and fragrance. But for KERRI RAMSEY, owner of Candles Etc. and crafter of hand-poured soy-based candles in her Downtown Wilmington shop, a candle is so much more.

“I have always loved the magic of candles. It’s truly special how a scent can change your mood and brighten your day or spark a happy memory from the past,” she says.

Ramsey was born and raised in Charlotte and spent family vacations in Wilmington and Carolina Beach. She chose the University of North Carolina Wilmington for her college education majoring in business and Spanish. After graduation, she began a career in sales for an information technology staffing firm which relocated her to Raleigh then Denver, Colorado then Seattle, Washington. It was in this role that she learned all about customer service, building a positive work environment, and treating people with kindness.

Ramsey recalls, “After more than ten years, I was looking to leave my corporate job, move closer to my family, and find a passion where I could use my imagination and creativity. When I found the candle shop, it was fate!” She purchased the store, which she describes as “cozy, inviting, and full of yummy scents,” seven years ago.

Candles Etc. makes all its candles and wax melts on-site in the story. “I make them all with a lot of love!” she says.

The candles are 100% natural American-grown soy wax with unique essential oil fragrance blends and all-natural cotton wicks.

“Soy wax is all-natural, renewable, non-toxic, and biodegradable. It produces a slow, consistent burn that maximizes the scent output with no soot,” she says.

The candles are scented with essential oils and fine fragrance oil blends that are 100% eco-friendly, vegan, and phthalate-free, a chemical used in many consumer products to make them soft and flexible. Ramsey adds, “The oils are never diluted to ensure the scent won’t disappear when burned in the candle.”

And speaking of scents, there are over 60 options at Candles Etc. like Wilmington Rain, Carolina Sunsets, and Wrightsville Memories. And there’s Ramsey’s all-time favorites – Southern Charm, Cape Fear Breeze, and Seaside Daze. Her inspiration comes from a trip to the beach, a sunset over the river, a Thanksgiving dessert, or a walk through a garden.

“It’s a fun process to see what notes mix well together to create new scent ideas. I love to create beautiful scents to represent Wilmington for both locals and travelers to take home to enjoy!”

Ramsey especially loves the creative side of candle-making. She customizes candles for special events such as weddings, baby showers, and birthdays. She will even do a pour in a customer’s own vessel with choice of scent. “I will pour your one-of-a-kind candle just for you,” she says.

In addition to candles, the shop offers wax melters, decorative lanterns and plates, gift baskets, gift cards, locally-made bath products, ornaments, linens, photography, and pottery from local artists.

Ramsey and her three female employees never run out of fun. “We get to meet new people every day. I love forming friendships with our amazing customers! It makes us so happy to hear that our products bring happiness and joy to people.”

To view more of photographer Aris Harding’s work, go to arisharding.com.

Want more WILMA? Click here to sign up for our WILMA newsletters and announcements.

Categories: Features