Former Calais Resident’s Hobby Turns to Business

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By Jayna Smith

Many love to burn scented candles in their homes as a way to add warmth and comfort.  With scents for every season, it’s not unusual for folks to have candles in many different rooms.  They are typically affordable, and they make wonderful gifts.   Now, people have the opportunity to purchase handmade scented candles from a local fellow, Shawn Newell, a 1991 graduate of Calais High School. 

Although no longer a resident of Calais, Shawn still resides in Maine after having worked for the Baileyville Police Department for over ten years.  He currently is a sergeant with the Fort Fairfield Police Department and recently started his candle-making business, Scenter of Attention, as a hobby. 

It did not take long for the candles to become very popular among Shawn’s friends and family.  This “hobby” soon became a small business after Shawn’s partner, Matthew Nadeau, suggested he start selling the popular candles.  Matthew, a small business entrepreneur himself, sells primitive handmade signs and custom made signs via his Facebook page “Matthew’s Village.” It was Matthew’s inspiration, Shawn explained, that motivated him to start selling the Scenter of Attention candles.

“I can tell you, candle making IS a science,” Shawn said.  “I was a bit naïve when I first began making candles.  I had this assumption that it was as simple as melting wax, throwing in some color and fragrance, and viola!  You have a candle.  Was I ever wrong!”

After much research on processing and creating candles, Shawn said he spent several months researching and experimenting with different types of waxes, fragrances, and wicks.  “With every variable comes a different result, so finding the perfect candle took some time,” Shawn explained. 

In the end, Shawn decided to use soy wax, an all-natural wax that is processed from soybean oil, as opposed to other waxes that can be petroleum based.  “I wanted a candle that was as close to unrefined as possible,” he said, adding, “Some candles blend industrial chemical additives into their candles, which are one thing I wanted to stay away from.”  He admits that his standards are “picky” so he made sure not only he was satisfied, but also his friends who helped test out his product.

Shawn currently sells his 12-ounce jar candles and clam tarts via his Facebook page, Scenter of Attention, and at a few scheduled craft fairs throughout Aroostook County this fall.  He says, “As business grows, I may venture into a website, but for now, I’m going to keep it small and personal.”  He did add that within hours of launching his Facebook page, he was selling candles from Fort Kent to Texas!

More information about Shawn’s soy candles can be found on his Facebook page or by emailing him at soacandles@gmail.com