Stacey Jones set a goal of owning her own business by the time she was 30 and now she can tick that box.

Her business is called Kearose, and she is making, marketing and selling hand-made scented soy wax candles.

Wanganui born and bred, she completed a course in at the Wanganui School of Graphic Design before heading overseas for about nine years.

With a background in graphics and photography she said she always wanted to be her own boss, preferably working from home, but it was matter of figuring out where that niche was.


The catalyst was a candle she bought in Australia, one that was "really, really overpriced.".

"That was when I thought it can't be that hard to make a beautiful candle so basically I learned the craft," she said.

Ms Jones' background was a bonus because that meant she didn't need anyone else involved doing the labels and design.

"It started off making one or two for myself and for friends and family. It was when people started asking where they could buy them that I thought maybe there's something I could work on here," she said.

She got serious about the candles and by about mid-2013 had saved enough to buy stock and experiment with fragrant oils to scent the candles.

Kearose candles are truly hand-crafted. Each one she hand-pours into two sizes of lidded glass jars.

Full-time production started at the beginning of March and in just two and-a-half weeks of marketing she has got 17 stockists from Otaki to New Plymouth.

"I've started small. Tackling those smaller centres like Otaki, Levin, Bulls, Marton and Hawera."

This month the candles will be on the shelves of Country Lane Originals in Victoria Ave, the sole Wanganui stockist of Kearose soy wax candles.

While Ms Jones' candles are pure soy wax, at least 90 per cent of candles on the market are mixed with paraffin.

"Burning paraffin you're breathing in toxic fumes. Those candles can look great and smell delicious but that black smoke they give off and that black ring inside is petrol residue.

"My candles are 100 per cent eco-friendly. It's a completely clean burn."

The soy wax, like the fragrant oils, is sourced from New Zealand and Australia.

The candles are marketed in two sizes, a smaller candle and container costing $29.95 and the bigger one priced at $47.95. The small one has burn life of about 45 hours and the bigger one about 85 hours. That's a burn cost of 50 cents an hour.

"But I wanted to make them affordable because they are a luxury, disposable item and once they're burned they're gone. I aimed at creating something you buy for a gift but not cringe at the price," Ms Jones said.

The name Kearose is an amalgamation of the name of a NZ native bird (kea) and her middle name (Rose).

She's working seven days a week, spending a week on the road marketing and then a week making the candles.

At the moment she's doing everything on her own but she reckons taking on someone else is "very close".

There are six fragrances in the collection but every season two new ones will added. At the moment she's fine-tuning her winter collection, deciding on what aromas the candles will give off.

"At the moment I'm thinking of things like mulled wine, open fire, musk and sandalwood. At Christmas the candles will have hints of cranberries and cherries."

And there is product specific to occasions such as Christmas and Mother's Day with limited edition labels.

Not every aroma has worked and that's why she uses her husband, family and friends as guinea pigs to gauge reaction to various fragrances "because I value their honest opinion".

Currently the perfumes include pink peony, coconut and lime, strawberries and champagne, black raspberry, sweet pea and jasmine and French pear and vanilla.