MILTON — A love of candles has bloomed into a business venture for three generations of a Milton family, and it’s also given them a reason to spend more quality time together.
Stephanie and Pam Bushey recently launched Lavish Sunset Candles – a daughter-mother small business which makes hand-poured soy styles of the home good they so very much enjoy.
“It’s kind of like a dream that I'm making come true,” said Stephanie who can usually be found with at least five candles burning whenever she’s home. “We both have always had a love for candles. Any store we go into, we’re drawn to that area. I've always wanted to learn how to make them, and I kind of just pulled the trigger a few months ago, Googled videos and all that good stuff, and decided that I wanted to go ahead and try to make a business. And she wanted to go in on it with me, so here we are.”
Stephanie – a receptionist at Window World – and her mother – who is an instructional assistant at Milton Elementary – went through the rigors of learning how to make candles in Stephanie’s spare bedroom, throwing out finished products that didn’t turn out well before they eventually got it down.
“There's a lot more to candle-making than I thought,” said Stephanie. “Many batches we were not able to use, but every batch has been a learning experience. It's been a good few months of a lot of researching on both of our parts and experimenting.”
Once the process was learned however, the Busheys started pumping out quality goods for sale that smell of vanilla, lilac and cinnamon. They are hoping to create more scents but wanted to first button down the three now available.
“My favorite is definitely the vanilla,” said Stephanie. “I've always loved vanilla, and my mom’s is lilac. Lilac was one of my grandmother's favorites; she always had that scent going. So anytime my mom smells it, it makes her think of her mom.”
Despite having passed away years ago, Pam’s mother had an influence in the business and its name.
“I idolized her growing up and wanted something that, personally for us, would be dedicated to her,” said Stephanie. “So I came up with the word ‘lavish’ because I wanted a word that was different and unique. And ‘sunset’ is there because we always watched a sunset with my grandmother, before she passed. I think it ties in to the meaning of candles for us. They're very relaxing, calming, soothing; they always make me take a moment – just like a sunset does. It stops me in my tracks for a minute.”
And while he’s not a co-owner – yet – Stephanie’s 14-year-old son, Gavin Murray, has also gotten involved in the family business.
“He comes up every now and then and checks out what we're doing and gives us his opinion,” said Stephanie. “He's put a lot of help into it. Especially kids now on social media – I've had to go to him for quite a bit for that kind of stuff.”
Throughout it all, and through a pandemic, the candle-making and business-starting processes have had a significant impact on the family’s dynamic – especially while the soy is being poured and the labels are being applied to jars while it dries.
“Doing this with my mom has brought us closer together in many ways already, and that only makes this journey even more special to me,” said Stephanie. “I think this has been amazing for our relationship. We've been able to spend a lot more time together, and it's kind of fun to be learning something with a friend or family, experimenting together.”
Stephanie says soy makes for a cleaner burn than traditional wax candles. She admits it’s more expensive, but said Lavish Sunset aims to keep its prices reasonable for what its customers receive.
“We didn't put a huge markup on our candles, because making money on it is great, but it's not our goal. Our goal is to get quality out there to the community at a good price that everybody can afford,” said Stephanie. “I just think that's super important.”
While working on an official website, looking to ship their candles in the future and hoping to sell their candles in farmers market-like settings, Lavish Sunset is currently available at L.D. Oliver Seed in Milton – from which the mason jars used for the candles are purchased.
The Busheys are looking to ship their product in the future, but they will now take online orders that can be picked up at Stephanie’s house. They are also delivering to some customers every-other week when possible.