Penn & Beech Candle Co. Specializes in Scented CreationsPhotographer / Michael Durr
Six years ago, Brianna Doles and her sister-in-law Lacey Doles were enjoying their hobby of pouring candles in the basements of their houses. Before long, the pastime turned into a passion for putting their business sense – and scents – to use. Because they lived on Pennsylvania Street and Beech Street respectively, they decided to name their company Penn & Beech Candle Co.
“Our goal was to eventually open a brick-and-mortar store,” says Brianna, who recruited her husband Seth, and Lacey’s husband Kyle, to help with logistics.
In early 2015, business began to take off.
“Before long our basement was filled with empty vessels, empty wicks, and all of these oils,” Seth says. “Next thing you know, the girls had 1,000-unit wholesale deals before we even had any staff to really do it, or the brick-and-mortar space.”
After spending Thanksgiving hand-wicking and labeling candles to ship out, the team wondered if they should consider jumping into the business with both feet. In March of 2018 they opened a store in downtown Indianapolis, and it did so well they decided to secure another retail location in Midtown Carmel in January of 2020. Additionally, last year they secured a 4,000-square-foot space in Southern BroadRipple that functions as a production house with office space in the front, and enough room to host hands experiences for customers.
“We already partner with local places like Hotel Tango and Gallery Pastry Shop, so we envision inviting them inside our maker space to do other things besides just the candle pouring,” Seth says. “For instance, guests could learn how to bake, make cocktails or put together a flower arrangement. There are all different types of things we can do with this extra space – baby showers, birthday parties, bachelorette parties and other private events.”
The team had big plans for 2020, and then the pandemic came and both locations had to shut down for eight weeks. However, they are open again and plan to put their ideas into play in 2021.
“We have massive doors that open up to a big, beautiful backyard that backs up onto the Monon Trail, so people can enter from the Monon in southern Broad Ripple,” Seth says. “We’re thinking of doing an open house in the spring where guests can come in, experience the production space and shop around.”
Another service Penn & Beech Candle Co. offers is private contracting. Any company that wants to start their own candle brand, but has no idea how to go about it, can call the Penn & Beech team. Many companies are interested in making custom corporate gifts and branding them with company information.
“People hire us to create custom fragrance and labeling for their brand-specific company,” says Seth, noting that the staff has worked with Bacardi, Home Depot and Hilton Hotels. They have also created signature scents for Taft law firm, Ironworks Hotel and Hotel Carmichael.
The company’s candles are made with soy wax and cotton paper wicks, which means they burn clean and evenly, thereby lasting longer.
“Besides coconut wax candles, soy is the best type of wax you can find to make a quality, even burn,” Brianna says. “It’s a chemical-free option that’s safe for animals. Soy offers a good scent throw, too.”
Their signature vessel is see-through, and they often get compliments from customers who say their candles burned all the way to the bottom with no residue. Penn & Beech Candle Co. also sells soy wax tarts, reed diffusers and room sprays – ideal for dorm rooms, classrooms, offices, or anywhere that prohibits an open flame.
“A lot of companies already have a signature scent, but nobody was able to make that into a reed diffuser,” Seth says. “With our library of oils, we come up with a match for them.”
Their top-selling fragrances include a signature, proprietary P&B Blend, which is a mix of eucalyptus, ginger and mint, as well as a Bourbon scent, which was featured in Whiskey Advocate Magazine. This scent is popular with men and women alike. The P&B Blend, which is in several Cunningham Restaurant Group eateries, is so popular that they have a hard time keeping it in stock.
“Customers come in and grab it off our shelves,” Brianna says. “It’s very refreshing.”
The company recently launched their Volumes collection – a high-end assortment of seven custom, curated blends that can be burned throughout the year, not just seasonally.
“Lacey is a big music buff and loves old vinyl records, so we thought Volumes, as in Volumes 1 through 7, would be a good way to explain that each has its own vibe and feel,” Seth says. “Your selection is based off of what mood you’re in and what vibe you’re going for – for example, fresh and airy or savory and musty.”
Penn & Beech Candle Co. is located at 747 North College Avenue in Indianapolis, and at 145 Elm Street, Suite 150 in Carmel. For more information, call 317-689-0789 or visit pennandbeech.com.