Ross Mingarelli, owner of CandleTree, first began making candles after looking for hobbies on Pinterest he could try during winters, the off season for his tree-service business. Fast forward to today, Ross owns a thriving storefront candle shop. His loyal customers refer to him as “the candle man” or “the rogue candle maker”, referring to his unconventional candle making process that results in beautiful, one of a kind, marbled candles. How did Ross turn this hobby in to a legitimate business?
His candle making journey started with countless hours and a lot of money as he experimented with different techniques, asking for feedback on each candle from friends. He knew that premium ingredients were important, so he only creates all-natural soy wax candles, which burn cleaner. He also went to many craft shows throughout New England on the weekends while still running his tree-service business, which was great for networking and getting the word out. Ross explained, “Not every craft show is going to be great. Sometimes I only sold 10 candles. It’s all part of the ride”. In his first year he was making white candles but wanted to make them unique to stand out at all the craft fairs. He decided to add color, and then ended up with a happy accident after not following the exact candle making directions as described in the books he used to learn. He ended up with marbling and swirls in his candles and decided to go with it. He now prides himself in his unique technique and “signature” colorful designs that his customers love.
Ross’s packaging and branding also grew over time with the look of his candles. He started out using the name Mingarelli Soy Candles. After a couple years he shifted to CandleTree, a nod to both his initial tree-service business and his current venture. During this time, Ross connected with Marc Bramhall, the general manager of Staples in Concord, NH, who became his go-to contact for branding, labels, business cards and shipping supplies. Ross stated, “As I grow, I want Staples to be a part of what I need. When I need something done quickly, they will stop what they are doing. Labels need to be perfect. It’s a big part of the brand. Marc and his team make sure my labels look 100%.” Ross even worked with Marc to sell his candles in the Concord Staples store for the 2020 holiday season. He successfully sold 80 candles and they are looking at options for next year’s season.
A big milestone for CandleTree was opening its first storefront 2 years ago. Ross said, “I was walking in downtown Concord, thinking about how I would like a storefront here in the future. And before I knew it, I saw a small place that was available. I called the number to see how much it was to rent. I signed the lease and got the keys.” Opening the store immediately grew Ross’s customer base. And he has further expanded his reach by shipping out candle orders from his website. “I feel like candle making found me and that is how I know I was meant to be a candle maker, or the Candle Man”.
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