Lynlee g. Candles

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by Kristina Domitrovich

photos by Lindsay Pace

At the beginning of May, soon-to-be-14-year-old Lynlee Grace Hinton (Grace), approached her dad looking for a project. In part, to find something to help pass the time, partly to have “something of her own” aside from her twin brother according to her father, and partly because she’s a self-proclaimed daddy’s girl — but definitely something to help pass the extra time in the house.

“Candles are kind of what really spoke to us,” she said.

Soon, after researching and watching videos, Grace and Mark Hinton, her father, went to Hobby Lobby to get some start-up supplies. A little while after that, they switched gears and started researching what the “higher-end folks” use.

“We knew that we would have a good product that wouldn’t come back on us,” Mark said. “We put a little bit more money into it than probably what most do, but we want to have a good product out there.”

Initially, Grace said she asked around to see what people’s favorite scents are, then started testing various combinations to come up with her brand’s first eight scents. Lynlee g. Candles come in: beach house, red currant, aspen, coastal breeze, infused, symphony, orchard and telluride.

Along the way, Mark and Grace learned together that making a candle is far more complicated than simply melting wax and adding scents. The wax must first be melted to a certain temperature, “then it has to cool down before you put your fragrance in, or all your fragrance will burn out,” Mark explained, then it has to cool to another temperature before being poured into the jars (which are heated to match the wax’s temperature). Once poured and cooled, the candles are hit with a heat gun to smooth out the surface and any flaws (like bubbles). Then, the candles must cure, a process that can take anywhere from three to seven days, to ensure the wax and fragrance will burn properly — right now, that process takes place in the Hinton’s dining room, after being melted and poured in their kitchen.

Another key lesson learned is the fragrance cannot exceed 9% of the final product’s makeup, so Grace said there’s a lot of measuring and weighing that goes into each batch. Then there’s the struggle to find a balanced wick, too — one that isn’t so thin that it won’t give off any scent, but one that isn’t so thick it will burn through the candle too quickly.

Once they got the hang of it, they started pouring for individual orders. Grace said this was great initially, as it helped get the name out there and gain a following, but they eventually started switching gears to wholesale. L.A. Green of Tupelo and Bankhead Flower Shop in New Albany were the first boutiques to give Lynlee g. Candles a shot; and so far, it’s been going well.

Aside from local retailers, Lynlee g. Candles has picked up more business with Midnite Pottery, which was looking for a new business to pour candles into their containers. Grace submitted a few scents for their consideration, and the pottery brand chose Lynlee g. Candles to be their new supplier. But her brand’s success doesn’t deter her from the bigger picture.

This young entrepreneur donates 10% of her sales to the Tupelo Humane Society. Though she’s still too young to volunteer there, she can purchase some supplies the shelter needs each month, and donate them directly. At one point, Grace was interested in being a veterinarian because of her deep love of animals. Though being a lawyer looks more appealing now, her love for animals is still very strong. She has two dogs, Kate and Stella.

Though she started this project in May, she’s already looking ahead with long-term vision.

“I’m hoping to get in Celebration Village,” Grace said, already planning ahead.

Mark said she’s in the right mindset, as she suggested each time they pour a batch, they should do a few extras to set aside for a retail event of that scale. The two joked that at some point, they’ll be trying to find places to stash that many candles. In the winter, Mark said he has plans to set her stations up in the garage; but for now, in the heat of the Mississippi summer, they’ll make it work with the space inside their house. 

When school starts back up, Grace is going to be busy. She’s going into the eighth grade at Tupelo Christian Preparatory School, and plays softball and basketball, plus she runs for cross-country, too. To combat her upcoming schedule, Mark and Grace agreed that Lynlee g. Candles should stop taking individual sales, “onesies and twosies” as Mark puts it, and transition solely to wholesale. That would be easier on Grace, because she can pour in batches a few nights a week and over the weekends. 

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