Gettin' Made: Burn, Baby Burn... Some Candles!

Are you one of those people that keeps candles around the house without burning them?

Wait, really? You are? What're you saving them for?

Seriously, you're missing out. Today OC Weekly chats with John Sutton of Maddie Kates hand-poured soy candles - rumor is he has over 400 different candle smells at his fingertips. It's like the Pokemon of the candle world; gotta catch em all! I'm pretty sure by the end of this post you'll be burning candles like no one's business just so you have an excuse to find out what the Monkey Farts scent smells like.

A selection of hand-poured soy candles from Maddie Kates
A selection of hand-poured soy candles from Maddie Kates

After the jump, find out how Maddie Kates candles got started.

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OC Weekly: Tell us a little about yourself - what do you do with your days?

Maddie Kates: My name is John Sutton, and I'm a proud stay at home father with a beautiful 20-month old girl named Maddie Kate (yes, that's who the company is named after) and a newborn boy named Andrew. I spend my days taking care of my wife and babies; once I tuck them into bed, I become a candle maker for the rest of the evening.

OCW: How did you get started making candles? Tell us about the progression from making candles for yourself to having a full-fledged candle business. 

MK: My wife loves soy candles, but always had a hard time finding them in stores; when she did find them, the prices never seemed very reasonable. For Christmas last year I decided to buy a soy candle-making kit and make some for her. It turned out great - I was able to make it whatever color I wanted and make the scent as strong as I wanted. My wife loved it. I started making them for my family, friends and neighbors, and they were all big fans as well. Being a stay at home dad, I saw a great opportunity to make some extra money for the family.

A sweet 3-wick bowl candle from Maddie Kates candles
A sweet 3-wick bowl candle from Maddie Kates candles

Up next, find out why soy candles are so awesome.


OCW: Why are soy candles so much better than regular candles?

MK: Maddie Kate's Soy Candles are made out of all-natural 100% soy wax, not parrafin waxes which release carcinogens that can lead to cancer and birth defects. Soy wax burns much stronger and has more scent throw than paraffin waxes. We use the maximum strength of scent we can use without affecting the burn of the candle, and we use 100% cotton wicks that do not contain any lead or zinc. We wouldn't consider ourselves tree-huggers but we certainly care about our environment, which is another reason why we love soy candles. We also use recycled materials for out shipping boxes, fliers and business cards.

OCW: How do you decide what smells to make, and are any your favorites? Have you ever made a candle scent that just came out terrible?

MK: When I started making soy candles, I bought 3 or 4 scents that I knew my immediate family liked. Since then, I've just bought scents as people have requested them. We offer over 100 scents on our website, and we have access to well over 400 scents. You name it, we'll get it. Some of my personal favorites are Rose, Birthday Cake and Country Breeze. My least favorite is Leather, which happens to be one of my wife's favorites. When I make leather candles it seems that I can't get the scent off my hands for days. A few of our most popular scents are Birthday Cake, Smell of Christmas and Fresh Cleaned Laundry

OCW: Would you on request make a candle that smelled like dog doo?

MK: Absolutely! And I would probably laugh out loud the entire time. It probably wouldn't smell much worse than the leather!

Maddie Kates makes all kinds of custom candles, just ask!
Maddie Kates makes all kinds of custom candles, just ask!

Up next, find out what the best part about candle-making is.


OCW: What is it about the candle making process that you like the best?

MK: I've never been a very crafty guy. When I made my first couple of candles, it gave me a lot of satisfaction knowing that I actually made something like that and seeing how much people enjoy these homemade soy candles of mine. I'm a pretty big guy who loves football and plays softball every week, and I get teased a lot by my buddies about my choice of careers - most of them have a hard time believing that I make candles. Then I'll let them come over and make a candle for their wife, girlfriend or mom and they seem to get the same satisfaction out of it that I do. There's a lot to be said about making something with your bare hands that other people can use and enjoy. It's really quite rewarding.

OCW: Anything else you'd like to share about your fabulous candles?

MK: We really enjoy doing fundraisers and charity events. A lot of people love soy candles, so when we do our events we always seem to do very well for the charity. It's a win-win situation for everyone everytime!

Candlemaker John Sutton and his daughter, the namesake of Maddie Kates Soy Candles
Candlemaker John Sutton and his daughter, the namesake of Maddie Kates Soy Candles


For more information on Maddie Kates Soy Candles, including information on their fundraising events visit their website.

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