Member Spotlight: Madeline Island Candles

Dieline_competition_photo.jpgLocated in Lake Superior off the northern Wisconsin coast, Madeline Island Candles has been selling beautiful handmade candles for the past three years. By using natural, sustainable materials and creating wonderful and unique scents, they have become a staple in the Madeline Island community and have already seen incredible growth in their business.

The idea to begin making candles came when Woods Hall Craft Shop, a local Madeline Island cooperative of weavers and artisans, wanted to increase traffic by creating a product to sell in-shop. Michael Childers, a weaver and board member at the craft shop, along with his partner, Glenn Carlson, thought of the idea to sell handmade candles. He and Glenn began doing research and eventually experimented with different wax recipes in their kitchen. After a couple of months of trial-and-error, they landed on their basic recipe, and the first Madeline Island Candles were available for sale in 2011.

Madeline Island Candles are completely handmade, from the wax to the variety of scents offered. All Madeline Island Candle products are also incredibly sustainable. Michael and Glenn decided to use soy wax, which is made from soybeans grown by domestic farmers, instead of the usual paraffin wax that is derived from petroleum. Soy wax is renewable, biodegradable, and burns cleaner and for a longer amount of time than paraffin and other types of wax candles. Essential oils and other natural ingredients are used to create the candles’ scents. Seventeen different scents are currently available, ranging from Creamy Vanilla and Lemon Grove, which are two of the best sellers, to the more unique Orange Chili Pepper and Cucumber Mint. There are eight different candle sizes offered, including tea lights and wax melts. Timber Green Woods, another sustainable Wisconsin company, crafts beautiful wooden votive holders featuring Madeline Island Candles’ logo and name that are also available for sale.

Although Madeline Island Candles has been in business for only three years, they have seen a considerable amount of growth in that time. When Michael and Glenn started selling candles, they did everything from mixing and pouring the wax to packing and sending the products directly from their home. After only a year, they had grown enough to move the business to a factory/storefront, and they are getting ready to relocate again this spring. The new storefront is a 1940’s home located right by the ferry dock, making it easy for anyone going to or from Madeline Island to visit. The store is laid out so there is a railing between where the candles are made and where the candles are sold, so customers are able to watch the action as the wax is mixed and poured to create each product.

If you happen to be traveling to this beautiful island, make sure you visit Madeline Island Candles to pick up some local, sustainable, fantastic-smelling souvenirs. For those who can’t make it to the shop, all products are available for sale on their beautiful newly renovated website,