Five years ago, Scott and Jennie Andersen decided to quit their jobs in Kansas City and move their two young children to a family farmhouse in central Kansas. Jennie had a degree in marketing and Scott had one in graphic design.
Within a year, Scott started making candles. In 2016, the couple began a home-based candle business, Kansas Earth and Sky Candle Company. One year later, they opened a retail space in downtown Ellinwood. The premise of the business is to make memories with candle scents.
"It’s all about memories," Andersen said. "The goal is to get people transplanted."
As a kid, Scott moved from town to town, always aware of each location’s possibilities. Once he moved to Ellinwood, his wife’s hometown, he saw the beauty of Kansas and its open skies.
"I was impressed with central Kansas," Andersen said. "There’s just treasures everywhere here."
Living on a working farm, complete with chickens and ducks, made the couple appreciate the smells of rural Kansas. They developed flavors like sunflower, sweet clover and alfalfa, lavender honey, dirt therapy and evening tobacco.
"For tobacco, we thought of mine and Jennie’s grandfathers," Andersen said. "It brought back good memories."
Along with tobacco, Andersen decided to add a sweet flavor to the scent. "A type of dessert idea," he said. So after experimentation, he mixed in a little caramel, patchouli, vanilla and wood scents.
"It’s such a wonderful flavor," said Leslie Mingenback, the manager and buyer at Heart of Kansas Mercantile in Great Bend, where they sell Kansas Earth & Sky Candles. "They all smell so good."
Because of COVID-19, Kansas Earth and Sky Candle Company’s retail store in Ellinwood is closed, but outdoor deliveries are available. And although the company ships candles nationwide, including ones called free state and shelter belt, Kansans can find their hand-poured, 100% soy candles close to home at Dyck Arboretum in Hesston, the Kansas Museum of History in Topeka, The Good Merchant in Lindsborg, Front Porch Antiques in Ottawa, Paisley Pear in Hays and The Smoky Hill Museum in Salina.
And because of coronavirus, Andersen made a new flavor called hugs. Inside the package is a note, letting the smell remind the recipient of the person who sent them the candle.
"We are isolated in our own little bubbles," Andersen said. "This helps people to hug someone virtually."