Candles are everywhere. Nearly every home in America has at least one, and home decorating magazines display candles in most indoor shots. Both men and women appear to consistently use candles on a regular basis. But the candle market has cooled this past year, according to Kline & Company, Inc., a Little Falls, NJ-based consulting firm, and some are beginning to wonder if manufacturers have been burning the candle at both ends.
Kline reported that for the first time in nearly five years, candle sales have dropped significantly, down to low single digit growth, rising just 4.2% in 2000, after several years of double-digit growth. Total home fragrance sales, however, increased to $2.2 billion in 2000, up 6.3% from 1999. Kline executives speculate that sales growth was propelled by the diffusers category and new scented oil entries, which cannibalized the sales of other product forms, especially candles.
Many candle manufacturers contacted by Happi disagreed, insisting sales have not been affected at all. "The candle market has stayed consistent at a very high level; candles are still hot," said Pam Terry, vice president of marketing, Candle Corporation of America, a division of Blyth Industries. "Our market tends not to be affected by recession; in fact, we tend to spike during recessions. Candles are an affordable indulgence."
According to Information Resources Inc. (IRI), Chicago, candle sales in food, drug and mass merchandisers actually declined 3.7% to $933 million for the year ended May 20, 2001. At the same time, air freshener sales jumped 24.6% to $818 million. Potpourri and sachet sales fell 4.5% to $78.6 million. Regard-less of sales reports, however, home fragrance manufacturers continue to deliver new innovations frequently. This year, a notable trend is food-inspired candles, while the air freshener market has introduced new oil diffusers.
A De-Lightful Menu
Blyth Industries, according to IRI, is the No. 4 player in the mass candle market with Candle Corporation of America's sales of $65 million for the year ended May 20. Blyth owns several candle brands such as Candle Corporation of America, PartyLite, Ambria, Ambria Natural Elements, Liljehol-mens, Veneziana and Gies. Colonial at Home, Candle Corporation of American's flagship brand, recently introduced six everyday fragrances: Kiwi Pear, Pineapple Coconut, Bananas Foster, Tiramisu, Chocolate Brownie and Sweet Caramel.
"People are fragrance crazy; they want their homes to smell fabulous," said Candle Corporation of America's Ms. Terry. "By far the hottest trends are edibles, which are homey, warm and cozy. Within that trend too, the scents are changing from basic, like vanilla, to more gourmet, such as our Tiramisu."
The brand also introduced four Iced Tea fragrances (Mint Mango, Papaya Tea, Cranberry Apple and Peach) with sweating iced tea glasses pictured on the labels and four Frosted candle scents (Milk and Honey, Pomegranate, Red Currant and Pumpkin Patch). There are more than 40 frosted candle fragrances in the company's signature oval jar. The label artwork was taken from hand painted watercolors commissioned exclusively for Colonial at Home.
"Fruits are a close second to edibles," added Ms. Terry. "They too are changing toward more exotic fruits. Twenty-five years ago they would have been too sophisticated or unknown, but with the increased varieties in supermarkets today, consumers are ready for these fragrances." Blyth's Kate's My Home brand introduced tasty fragrance treats such as Caramel Apple, Butterscotch, Pecan Pie and Coconut Praline in addition to upcoming spring scents Jasmine, Nectarine, Gerbera Daisy and Spring Bouquet.
PartyLite, a Plymouth, MA-based Blyth Industries maker of candles and accessories, launched many new candle concepts during the past year. As a direct seller, executives noted that PartyLite has a built-in advantage-with no need for brick-and-mortar locations, the company is not constrained by a limited amount of retail space and can continuously introduce new products. In fact in late spring, PartyLite introduced Summer Spectacular, a collection of five new fragrances: Marvelous Melon, Mellow Mango, Raspberry Rapture, Peach Passion and
Summer Showers (essence of summer rain, blossoms and greenery). For the fall, PartyLite offers the Harvest Medley, a combination of small votive holders shaped like fruit with Thanksgiving fruit candles such as pear, grapes and gourd. Most of these follow the industry trend for edible-type fragrances.
"A new trend is to burn candles that are food-like," explained Bob Rosenberger, director of communications, PartyLite, Plymouth, MA. "Since most people enjoy kitchen aromas, this has led to candle layering and blending with combinations such as cinnamon and vanilla."
Executives at For Every Body, Provo, UT, said consumers like candles for three reasons: for the fragrance, for the atmosphere and for emergencies. But the majority of consumers burn candles to create a mood or to make a house smell phenomenal, many candles are designed for specific areas of the house. For example, For Every Body's pillar candles are elegant and create an atmosphere for the dining room, while the company's homey Home Baked jars are made for a kitchen-type atmosphere with their food-like smells.
For Every Body is well known for its true-to-life candles. The company's Home Baked line features dessert scents and realistic wax-shaped molds of the food itself in its customary jars. For Every Body has added nine new fragrances to its Home Baked candle line, including Rainbow Cake Donut, Hot Cakes 'n Syrup, Snickerdoodles, Caramel Apple, Gingersnaps, Banana Nut Cake, Apple Strudel, Cinnamon Twists and Oatmeal Cookie. Though some of the market has reportedly leveled off in the past year, sales for the Home Baked line are still going strong.
"The Home Baked line is still the No. 1 seller at For Every Body," said Haley Warner, marketing director, For Every Body. "It is a niche product, a little different. No one as yet has come out with the food-like wax toppings."
|Marbled wax is featured in For Every Body's new Folk Art line with Home Baked and festive fragrances.|
All Home Baked candles are available in 2-, 9- and 16-oz. sizes and votives. In addition, For Every Body launched its Folk Art candle collection that features more than 15 different art prints on candle jars by artist Susan Gaurie. The art prints include images for Apple Pie, Cinnavanilla Sundae, Mint Brownie, Streusel Cake and others. Folk art is also available on Christmas scents such as Christmas Cookies, Pumpkin Pie, Gingerbread and Candy Cane. The Folk Art line shares some fragrances with the Home Baked line, yet features marbled wax, a metal lid and a folk art label to create an old-fashioned look, according to Ms. Warner. The line was also influenced by the upcoming autumn and winter seasons.
"For the summer, the pastel pink look is in, but that will be out of style when autumn comes," said Ms. Warner. "The Folk Art line has darker colors and smells instead of summery florals, to reflect the changing seasons and the holidays."
In January, For Every Body executives anticipate the roll out of the American Outdoors line, spotlighting the fragrances of the ocean, mountains, desert and the plains in combination candle and bath products and folksy labels. The line was created to target candle burning throughout the house instead of in select rooms.
"The Home Baked line seemed almost limited to the kitchen
with its food-like fragrances, so we are developing other products to burn around the house, outside of the kitchen," explained Ms. Warner.
Roll Out the Candles...and Holly
Food is an integral part of the holidays and has been reflected in a few recently launched candle lines. PartyLite has introduced candle fragrances such as Cinnamon Cranberry, Spiced Cookies, Sugar Plum and Peppermint Snowball for the holidays. The snowball candle is a rounded ball with a whipped wax surface to imitate snow-peaked hills. Mr. Rosenberger noted that PartyLite changes its fragrances throughout the year, not because people burn different candles all winter long, but traditional fragrances are preferred certain times of the year. In the warmer months of the year too, consumers want to their favorite fragrances inside and outside the house.
"Years ago, my parents only put candles on the dinner table," Mr. Rosenberger said. "But now people place them all around the house-in the bedroom, bathroom, family room, kitchen and even outside. Many people are bringing the indoors outdoors too, to create a romantic, mystical evening atmosphere."
PartyLite is introducing a clear Ball candle, which has found much success in Europe. The candle burns differently than the colored ball candles by burning straight down the wick and creating a shell of wax so that the candle flame illuminates the candle frame.
|PartyLite's Snowball candle imitates snow crested hills with whipped wax.|
Blyth Industries' Colonial Candle of Cape Cod is also a traditional holiday favorite. Years ago, bayberries were boiled and hand-dipped candles were created from this mixture and given as romantic and friendly Christmas gifts in Colonial times. Colonial Candle of Cape Cod, founded in 1909, rekindled this tradition by introducing a Bayberry candle scent, which was later joined by a Mulberry scented candle symbolizing traditional Mulberry wine sharing during the holidays. Colonial Candle has launched accessories for the two scents to celebrate love and friendship around the holidays. Other revived scents for the winter season include Gingerbread Spice, Hollyberry, Balsam, Evergreen and two new scents, Winter Magic and Winter Woods.
Colonial Candle of Cape Cod is also launching Snow Quartz, a collection of candles and elegant silver accessories that are reminiscent of ice and snow. The wax has a unique treatment that imparts the glistening of ice crystals when lit.
"Consumers are really getting into seasons and holidays, even down to their throw towels and pillowcases," said Ms. Terry. "Candles make it easy and are a natural way for consumers to decorate around the holidays."
Aromatique, a Herber Springs, AK company that combines candle fragrance and design, was born out of a kitchen project in Patti Upton's home 19 years ago. As a favor for a retailer friend, she created a candle melange of native botanicals such as acorns, pine cones, gum balls, hickory nuts, spices and oil, and called it The Smell of Christmas. It became an instant success. All Aromatique products use the concept of Decorative Fragrance, which combines fragrant botanicals and candles in centerpiece arrangements.
For the upcoming holiday season, Aromatique introduced Cheers!, an arrangement of deep forest green and white, rose-like wood flowers and silver. The fragrance is a blend of vanilla, fruits and florals. Cheers! is available in Decorative Fragrance, Refresher oil, Pump room spray and Candle in Glass. Aromatique is also relaunching its popular Café'au Lait fragrance with a mixture of botanicals, coffee, vanilla and cinnamon.
Like fingerprints and snowflakes, no two candle companies are alike. Beyond the traditional paraffin delivery of fragrance, there are several new and innovative options available. Colonial at Home's new Simmer-Snaps are scented, non-wicked solid wax for use in potpourri pots and simmerers. The oval shape is scored down the middle, allowing you to "snap" it apart and place two different fragrances together. When warmed by a tea light, SimmerSnaps melt and release fragrance. There are 42 SimmerSnaps fragrances.
"One of the most effective fragrance vehicles is our SimmerSnaps brand," Ms. Terry noted. "This is gaining popularity because it completely liquefies and with more surface area, the fragrance has more impact. Other techniques focus on fashion more than fragrance delivery."
Garden Grove, CA-based Primal Elements created candles with the company's patented glittering Paragel technology and a special blend of refined waxes. "The Paragel technology adds a dimension that allows us to do things with candles we have never seen before," said Faith Freeman, chief executive officer, Primal Elements. "It is solid yet translucent and illuminates the candle like a stained glass window. Many possibilities are afforded by this technology."
The company also follows the edibles trend with several new fragrances. The Festive collection includes Evergreen Twist, Cinnamon Apple, Cranberry, Crunchy Granola, Banana Nut Bread and Peaches & Cream. A new Original collection fragrance is Rum Cake and the Warm collection spotlights Hazelnut. The Cool collection has added Champagne Toast. Tranquility (melon and cucumber) and Cherish (berries and vanilla) are the latest Primal Desire scents.
|Pharmacopia features soy wax as a cleaner burning alternative to paraffin.|
For the fall, the company's Weird'n Wild collection introduced Rainbow, a melange of pineapple and grapefruit, and Leopard featuring chocolate, vanilla and honey. All of the candle varieties are the result of research the company does on fashion, current events and modern mindsets and attitudes. They also survey panels of kids, teens and adults to see what their needs are, according to Ms. Freeman. Results show adults seem to enjoy whatever time they have in the home. "People are spending a lot more time in the home," noted Ms. Freeman. "Especially in a household where both people are working, time in the home is precious, enjoyed and can be enhanced with candles."
Five new aromas were added to the Primal Elements mystic candle collection using the line's modern anodized aluminum containers and Paragel technology. The scents feature Holiday (pine, clove and cinnamon), Ginger Bear (gingerbread), Winter Wonderland (citrus and mint), Shining Stars (vanilla) and Snowflakes (mint). Also using Paragel technology, the company has expanded its Scenterpiece candle collection with 15 of the most popular aromas of other Primal Elements products such as Pumpkin Patch, Paradise Sunset and Banana Nut Bread.
"The Paragel candles, modern-looking Mystic collection and other candle containers not only accent the home, but make it smell good as well," noted Sheena Hayes, marketing director.
Primal Elements also created 17 new soap and votive sets, incorporating the 12 Primal Desire fragrances such as Orange Cantaloupe and Dragonfly, in candles and 6-oz. vegetable glycerin soap designs. These fragrances are also carried over to the body care collection.
Home fragrances in the market today not only follow an edibles fragrance trend, but they also are spreading their wings in the aromatherapy arena. The aromatherapy industry has become increasingly popular in the past decade. Many natural essences are said to have physical effects on the mind and body with documented effects. According to essential oil experts, lemon peel oil stimulates the immune system, is antibacterial and like all citrus oils, acts as a mild antidepressant. Eucalyptus leaves and black spruce needles have bactericidal properties and promote wellness. Certain pines are also immune system-boosting, antiviral and anti-infectious. Tea tree oil, according to industry experts, has terrific anti-fungal and antibacterial effects. Green tea is also known for its antibacterial properties and fresh scent.
Pure & Basic, a natural product manufacturer based in Carson, CA, has repackaged its Green Tea Air Neutralizer in a larger size to accommodate consumer demand. The new 8-oz. spray combines green tea and Oriental cypress to immediately deodorize and reduce airborne bacteria. The all-natural product is said to have a light fresh scent and instantly eliminates strong smells, even smoke and pet odors.
"The health-conscious consumer has wanted an effective all-natural product for years," said Leigh Ann Collins, sales and marketing manager, Pure & Basic. "Consumers are also becoming more sophisticated and don't just want to spray a fragrance, but to experience it. Green Tea Air Neutralizer cleanses and purifies the air without any unnecessary additives."
Green Tea Natural Air Neutralizer is highly concentrated and priced at $5.29 in health food stores nationwide.
|Glade Duet is SC Johnson's latest air freshener innovation.|
Mill Valley, CA-based Pharmacopia offers something different than the everyday candle. The company's wax is 100% natural, made from soy and pure aromatherapy-grade essential oil blends. Most candles today are manufactured with paraffin, a petroleum by-product, and contain synthetic colors and fragrances, executives said, but soy burns cleaner than paraffin.
"Our candles are soy wax with pure essential oils," explained Lisa Levin, president of Pharmacopia. "The candles are in keeping with our philosophy of healthful, natural products for well-being. Soy is also a sustainable resource."
The company originally started with massage oils in therapeutic combinations of herbs. For example, the company's Rosemary and Mint oil was designed to both wake the mind and improve circulation of muscles. In keeping with that theme, Pharmacopia's subtle candle fragrance blends include Energy (rosemary and mint), Bliss (ginger and lemongrass), Renewal (citrus blossom) and Serenity (lavender and chamomile).
"Candles are part of cocooning and making a home feel like a refuge from the stressful, fast-paced world," noted Ms. Levin. "Fragrance is also a personal thing. I don't like strong, heavy scents and have hedged away from florals in our line, with the exception of neroli. The essential oil combinations were created due to their aromatherapeutic effects and fragrance combinations." Soon, Pharmacopia will introduce the same four essential oil blends in bath gel form, called Bath Wash.
PartyLite recently introduced the Indulgences line, which uses relaxing fragrances to help consumers unwind. Mr. Rosenberger insists the line is not aromatherapy, but delicate and light fragrances with names such as Solitude (light floral), Tranquility (sweet floral) and Awakening (sweet).
Home Sweet Home
Aromatherapy has lent itself to not only candles and air sprays, but home cleaning products as well. The way a home smells after cleaning is of great interest to most homeowners. They perceive it as a reflection of their personality, their ability to maintain a comfortable home and well-being. Minneapolis-based The Thymes, formerly Thymes Ltd., has introduced the Mandarin Coriander collection. The collection enriches life's kitchen routines since, according to executives, women on average spend 1,100 hours a year in the kitchen or more than 3 hours a day. What little private time remains, most women prefer to spend it in the home.
"Consumers are trying to personalize their surroundings and find daily items to enhance their space," explained Christiana Kippels, marketing director, The Thymes. "The kitchen especially as a place to cook, do homework or entertain. It is a refection of the care of the self and the family. Edible fragrances are especially popular because they are familiar and comforting and if we believe what we eat is the same as what we smell and put on our skin, those fragrances can evoke a feeling of health as consumers search for well-being."
The Mandarin Coriander collection features a clean and energizing blend of mandarin oil, parsley and lemon balm extracts to deodorize the kitchen and olive-based squalane to moisturize the skin. The collection includes all-purpose surface cleaner, dishwashing liquid, hand wash, hand lotion, hard-working hand soap, hard-working hand cream, home fragrance mist and an aromatic candle. These home fragrance product departures are a reflection of two things, Ms. Kippels said, namely innovation and aromatherapy.
"We needed to offer quality products and keep the relationship interesting and fresh so consumers keep coming back," said Ms. Kip- pels. "Aromatherapy is also becoming more mainstream as consumers understand the emotional benefits of fragrance and that it can add a wonderful dimension to an environment."
Ms. Kippels also noted that other sements that influence the home fragrance market include home interiors, cooking, clothing, personal fragrance, accessories and travel. But the major impetus for the creation of home fragrances is the need to escape a hectic life.
"If we look to personalize our surroundings, and enjoy a little free time, home fragrance is easy to do and elevates the mood immediately," she said. "People also spend less time cleaning, and fragrance promotes freshness."
For those with ironing woes, Caldrea Home Care, a New York-based prestige home care line, has introduced Ironing Water in three fragrances: Relaxing Lavender Pine, Energetic Citrus Mint Ylang Ylang and Sensuous Green Tea Patchouli. The Ironing Water is a combination of essential oils and distilled water that is misted onto fabric while ironing and diffused into the air.
Caldrea products offer a modern and sophisticated approach to age-old, proven methods of home care, executives said. The company's Relaxing Lavender Pine ironing water uses lavender's relaxing, antimicrobial, insecticide and tonic effects in combination with pine needle oil's natural antiseptic and deep cleansing properties. The Energetic Citrus Mint Ylang Ylang scent combines citrus' antiseptic and antibacterial properties and the stimulating benefits of mint and ylang ylang. Sensuous Green Tea Patchouli infuses green tea's fresh aroma with patchouli's age-old use as a natural antimicrobial, antiseptic, antibacterial and deodorant. Other products in the Caldrea Home Care collection include all-purpose cleaner, window spray, furniture cream, liquid dishwashing soap, liquid hand soap and bar soaps.
The undisputed leaders of the home fragrance market this year are plugged in oil diffusers. These companies constantly introduce never-seen-before products. With the slowdown in the candle market, air freshener sales have soared, up an astonishing 24.6% from last year. More than any other company, SC Johnson has enjoyed the sweet smell of success. SCJ leads the air freshener pack for the year ended May 20 at $454 million, up an astounding 57.3% from last year, according to IRI. The company's Glade Plug In is the top brand in the plug-in air fresheners market at nearly $286 million. In addition, SCJ's Glade candles are the No. 1 brand in the candle market at $131 million.
SCJ also holds tenth place in the top mass merchandise brands with Glade Duet, according to IRI. Glade Duet may be one of the main reasons SCJ has been so successful. This revolutionary new product combines two air freshening systems, a continuous gel and instantaneous spray, in one product. The gel consistently diffuses scents in a room for up to 30 days. The spray was created for an extra burst of fragrance to eliminate odors such as smoke, garlic and bathroom smells.
"We listened to consumers and kept hearing that consumers love aerosol products but when they are out of reach, they are out of mind," said Kerry Clair, public relations manager, SCJ. "Glade Duet was a great way to marry a continuous action gel and an instant action aerosol in one stylish container."
|Wind Rose Trading Company offers handmade incense in its Triloka Feng Shui line.|
"People embrace new product introductions and the many variations available," explained Ms. Clair. "They mix and match them, trying out a plug-in instead of a candle, for instance, to experiment."
The Glade brand launched a collection of candles wrapped in designs including Botanical Sachet (flower wrap) and Tangerine Ginger (star wrap). In August, SCJ introduced Mango Splash and Sweet Nothings (a fruity/floral). SCJ also introduced a rounded votive jar for all of its candles that, if tipped, will balance itself.
Reckitt Benckiser's Air Wick division markets environmental fragrances under the Wizard name in North America and Haze in the UK. For the year ended May 20, Reckitt's environmental fragrance sales rose 137% to $120 million according to IRI. Reckitt also saw an incredible 417.6% increase in its Wizard brand alone, reaching $94 million. The company recently introduced Wizard Scented Oil Tobacco Odor Neutralizer. The product is specially formulated to neutralize odor from cigars and cigarettes in addition to freshening the air with a citrus fragrance. Wizard Scented Oil Tobacco Odor Neutralizer is a warmer unit that heats the oil, which makes the fragrance last longer according to executives, and leaves the second outlet free for use.
The Thymes offers Sleep Well Aromastone plug-in units. Crafted in durable glazed ceramic, the electric Aromastone gently warms the oils, releasing rich, lasting aroma in a clean and controlled manner. It is sold with a set of the three Sleep Well essential oil blends. The company also offers Atmospheres, or maple wood scented balls, in a variety of the company's fragrances.
Despite the success of electrical fragrance diffusers and candles, some consumers are concerned about safety. With the candle, the flame can be dangerous if knocked over or left unattended. Electrical devices too could cause a fire. L'Occitane en Provence, a French company, has introduced its limited edition Lavender Harvest collection, which includes incense sticks. The benefits of incense over candles are many, according to Caroline Villatte, a spokesperson for L'Occitane en Provence. Incense emits a woodsy scent, which is instantaneous, strong and effective against odors such as tobacco, she said. And like candles, incense can create a relaxing atmosphere. "Incense is often chosen for security reasons, especially if there are children around. There is less chance of a fire," Ms. Villatte added.
Another incense product, Triloka Feng Shui incense, which is new from Madison, VA-based Wind Rose Trading Company, integrates the knowledge of space clearing with aromatherapy to create "house blessing" incense, executives said. Gabriel Masill, owner and president, has gathered extensive research on the subject of Feng Shui, which has become particularly popular in the past two years. Incense is designed to promote the positive flow of Chi, or energy.
"Fragrance and mood are very important aspects of Feng Shui as is aromatherapy," said Conny Crossover, sales manager, Wind Rose Trading Co. "Many people are just beginning to learn the many aspects there are to Feng Shui."
Triloka Feng Shui incense is custom blended with more than 20 natural ingredients such as fragrant wood powders, herbs, resins, gums, seeds, flowers, leaves, grasses, roots, bark and essential oils. This blended mixture, or masala, is hand-rolled into thin bamboo sticks by a company based in India. Wind Rose Trading Co. also sells a variety of Triloka aromatherapy oils and diffusers. This fall, the company will offer a Feng Shui gift set with a small, black incense holder.
Fragrance mists are another alternative to candles or plug-in oil diffusers. Two hundred and forty-nine year-old fragrance manufacturer Caswell-Massey is bringing the spring season into the home with room sprays in Caswell's signature florals-Freesia, Lilac, English Lavender and Lilly of the Valley. The florals were added to room sprays instead of candles for a number of reasons.
"Room mists are so popular because if the mist is dispensed properly, it lingers in the air," explained Anne Robinson, president and chief executive officer of Caswell-Massey, New York. "Another increasing concern is unattended candles. People want to freshen rooms but if they cannot stay with a candle, they can still have the fragrance with a room spray."
Caswell-Massey's hope is to transport people to another time and a place since scent is so strongly intertwined with memory and emotion, noted Ms. Robinson. Caswell-Massey's fragrances are created with Living Flower technology. For instance, the Lilac scent is a mixture of blossoms, bark and leaves to make each fragrance true-to-life, instead of just focusing on one part of the plant. The development of the room sprays was a direct result of persistent consumer requests and an identifiable trend in the marketplace.
"The trend has been going toward making the home a place of comfort, a place to get away from the frantic world we live in," said Ms. Robinson. "Especially when the windows are closed, people still want their homes to have a wonderful fragrance, reinforcing a little personal indulgence."
And in times of economic uncertainty, many industry experts agreed that home fragrance is the perfect way to make time for pleasure. It is also closely tied in with emotion, as SCJ's Ms. Clair explained. "Fragrance is personal and everyone has a certain scent they can relate to," she said. "People can personalize their homes with their fragrance tastes. The idea that you can change the environment of the home seasonally gives people a chance to experience many different kinds of emotions. They create a positive impact in how people feel about their living space."