Christie Wallace loves candles. It was nothing out of the ordinary for the Ripon resident to pick up a candle with an alluring scent that caught her attention. Or to unwrap one as a gift from the family and friends who knew her penchant for all types of candles.
But Wallace is also a woman that abhors waste and the growing pile of old glass candle containers stacked up in a kitchen cabinet haunted her.
“When you have a typical glass container… the quality isn’t made for multiple use,” Wallace said. “It’s made for a single use, to burn and then toss. It seemed so wasteful and I thought there had to be a better way.
“I wanted to build a candle company around the idea of sustainability and really change the burning habits we have by bringing a little more focus on the waste that is occurring with home decor and especially the candle industry.”
With that goal in mind and a year of research, Wallace launched CocoBee Company in October 2020 and started selling hand-crafted organic coconut wax and local ethically sourced beeswax candles. The candles come in hand-carved wooden bowls made from reclaimed wood that can later be used as dough bowls or cheese molds or refilled with another candle.
Wallace offers a refill program so that her candle vessels can be used repeatedly. She also does use some glass containers that are thicker and heavier than typical glass candle jars and so can be refilled twice. The wooden vessels can be used over and over again, as long as there are no cracks or holes.
Wallace’s enjoyment of candles prompted her to purchase a candle-making kit and take it up as a hobby. She saw she had a knack for it and started giving them as gifts to friends and family. Slowly the idea of selling candles started to take shape.
“It got my wheels turning on what am I seeing and what am I not seeing in the candle market, and what am I looking for and why isn’t it out there,” Wallace said. “That led into a lot of research on a sustainable candle and the wax being used.”
For Wallace a sustainable candle means more than a refill program.
“I like to choose waxes and essential oils that are ethically sourced,” Wallace said. “I use coconut and bees waxes because they are sustainably harvested. The wicks I use comes from a company that plants new trees and is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.”
Wallace also makes wax drops, diffusers and recently launched candles using hemp wax. She also has plans to start offering natural cleaning products.
“I’m really excited about the hemp wax and to bring something new and different to our local market,” Wallace said.
CocoBee candles all have the signature bee emblem and can be found at stores in the 209 area, including Klean Eatz Market & Bakery in Ripon, Faux Glow Spray Tans and Boutique in Ripon, Mulberry Lane in Modesto, The Owl Box in Tracy, and on the CocoBee website.
Candles range in price from $29 to $65 depending on the size and vessel. The refill costs range as well, but usually are half or less than the original candle. Those wanting the candles refilled typically drop it at the store where purchased, but Wallace does offer a refill kit for those out of the immediate area.
CocoBee candles come in a variety of scents and styles. Wallace can also do custom scents and orders.
For more information on CocoBee products or to order directly, visit cocobeecompany.com.