Some of us spent the pandemic binge watching “Ted Lasso” and “Bridgerton,” perfecting our sourdough and fretting over Zoom-meeting etiquette.
All noble pursuits (really), but consider Telluride native Hannah Daley.
The 26-year-old began making candles as a quarantine hobby, got really, really good at it and founded a candle company, selling her beautiful wares online on Etsy and designing a Telluride-specific line for local retail outlet Hook. Daley has even designed a line of candles for an indie music group.
Not bad for a quarantine hobby.
“I was seeing a lot of DIY candle-making online and was very intrigued and decided to order a starter kit,” Daley said. “I started playing around with the process and ended up loving it.”
Daley, who these days lives in Salt Lake City, where she also works as a nanny, brought her candle-making supplies to a girl's night get-together and “it was a hit. We all got to talking about how this would be a fun business that would be totally doable as a side gig. And that got me really thinking.”
From there, Daley began creating labels “for candles I hadn't even made yet — that was one of the most fun parts of the process for me. I had a clear vision of the aesthetic I was going for and just let my creativity take it from there.”
She also began researching wholesalers to find ones that aligned with her values.
“It was super important to me that I used all-natural soy wax instead of paraffin, and the fragrance oil needed to be as clean as possible, without phthalates, the synthetic chemicals found in many beauty and home products to preserve fragrance,” Daley said. “And I use lead-free cotton wicks that don't throw soot all over the edges of the candle container and into the air you breathe. I wanted my candles to have the cleanest burn possible.”
Her research and supply chain complete, Daley turned to naming her nascent enterprise, settling on Zephyr Candle Co.
“The name Zephyr is actually the name of our family cat,” said Daley, laughing. “I've always liked his name and thought, ‘why waste this amazing name on a grumpy cat?’ ”
At first, Daley was making her candles in the kitchen at home, but eventually needed more space.
“The smell of each batch was honestly a little overwhelming,” she explained. “All of the supplies started to pile up and take over the little space I had in my home, so I decided that if I was going to pursue this side biz, I needed my own space to create. I found an amazing co-working space called Maven Create, where I started renting a little room and it has worked out perfectly.”
That was in April, the same month that Daley opened her Etsy shop, which is where the majority of her sales currently come from.
The daughter of longtime locals Pat and Laura, Hannah Daley (THS Class of 2013) was raised in Telluride.
Recently, she sent her mom a batch of candles “to see if there was anything I needed to improve on.” Laura loved them, but took them to family friend Lynn Moore, owner of main street store Hook, to see what she thought.
Moore was so impressed that she promptly asked Daley to design and produce a collection specific to her hometown for Hook to sell.
“I asked Hannah to create some candles that reminded her of home, that triggered memories of growing up here,” said Moore. “She far exceeded all of my expectations with what she came up with, the Telluride Collection.”
Moore continued, “What I like most about her candles is how personal each one is to Hannah. Each one is a reflection of some of her fondest memories growing up in Telluride.”
For her part, Daley was thrilled.
“This was very exciting for me because it was the first time I was selling my candles in a physical store,” she said. “It also meant so much to me because it was a store in my hometown. I got to create scents like Mountain Monsoon, Local's Loop, Valley Floor and Catch & Release [that] capture the essence of home. You could say it was a passion project.”
And the indie music group?
Fresh from creating the Telluride Collection for Hook, Daley heard from a childhood friend who works for North Carolina-based indie/Americana band Mipso. After seeing one of Daley’s stories on Instagram, the band wanted customized candles to give to fans.
“I had just finished my order for Lynn and had learned so much from that experience, so I felt ready to get to work on another large order,” Daley said. “It was super fun using their logo to make fun labels and knowing their fans will have a candle that I made.”
She added, “I'm trying slowly but surely to grow this little business of mine, so if anyone needs an order of specialty candles, for your store, for wedding or bachelorette gifts, for your band or event, you can reach out anytime. I can make specialty candles for anyone, for any occasion.”
Check out Zephyr Candle Co.’s Telluride Collection at Hook at 226 W. Colorado Ave. Products can also be found on Instagram at @zephyrcandle.co and at the company’s Etsy shop, etsy.com/shop/ZephyrHome. Or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.