Chad and Kayla Roslan just may have found their niche. The United States Navy veterans, turned entrepreneurs, are both the brains and the humor behind Sparks Fly Candle Company, Sassy Candles for Sassy People.
It’s a company they began shortly following Kayla’s separation from service in 2017 and a few months after the birth of their son.
“So, when my son was born, the world shut down and we had nothing to do and really no ways to make an income,” Kayla Roslan said, noting that while her husband remained enlisted through July of 2021, she remained in their Washington home with their new baby and no outlet, be it employment or education.
“We wanted something we could do as a hobby for the two of us, so we started making candles,” Kayla continued. “We were really, really good at it and our family loved it. My husband is really good at graphic design, so we wanted to figure out how to bring a little bit of joy to the world because we were so shut down and everything seemed so gloomy.”
Fast forward to August 2021 and the family found themselves relocated to the 209 via a job opportunity for Chad.
Kayla, an Enochs High School 2012 alum, desired returning to the 209 to be close to family.
“We chose to come home, all of our family’s here, I’m from here and my son — James, three this November — was very alone out there,” Kayla said of the family relocation.
Yet the job opportunity that brought them here proved to be short-lived. In the summer of 2022 Chad walked away from corporate life to join his wife full-time in the candle business.
“It’s better,” Chad shared, pointing out that prior to his resignation he was doing double duty, at his corporate job and helping Kayla with the home-based business, and he believes he made the right decision. “Having more control over my schedule is giving us so much more freedom to take care of ourselves and our business.”
Now calling Oakdale home, the family has set up their candle making production in the tandem third car garage of their new home.
“Our logo is Sassy Candles, for Sassy People, that’s kind of our motto,” Kayla said of Sparks Fly Candle Co.
The “sassy” she speaks of are the candle names and descriptions which are accompanied by specific scents, which might prompt one to make the connection. Examples of their creativity with candles like: Coffee; “Because hating your job should come with enthusiasm,” or Outdoorsy; “Smells like drinking wine out on the porch.”
While the wood wicked, soy candles with essential oil fragrances are pleasant to the senses, it was their essence of fun and creativity which caught the attention of Oakdale Mayor Cherilyn Bairos.
Bairos crossed paths with the Roslan family and their Sassy Candles, serving in her role as an Oakdale Chamber of Commerce Ambassador. Drawn to the candles and their originality, the mayor shared she began thinking of an opportunity.
“I started thinking, hey, what about if they could make a candle for Oakdale? What would that smell like?” Bairos said of their initial introduction. “Leather, dust, cowboy, almonds, dairy … everything together and how would that look?”
The mayor quickly began brainstorming with the couple about hosting a contest for the scent, as well as the label and the name. The Roslan duo loved the idea and its originality.
“They’re inspired after our real-life circumstances,” Kayla shared of the candles.
“This DD 214 that’s the paper you get when you’re released from the military,” Bairos said of the candle which first caught her attention. “I got my nephew that one.”
After deciding to pursue the contest idea, in March of this year the “Oakdale” candle was created by a community member. Images of a cowboy hat, oak tree and boot are featured on the label capturing the image of the “Cowboy Capital of the World” with the listed scents of Oak, Leather, Bourbon and Country Music.
Since then, the veteran-owned and operated company has continued to grow. Expanding to 209 farmers’ markets, as well as upcoming fairs, including Dutch Hollow, Manteca Pumpkin Roll and Oakdale’s Downtown Christmas in early December.
The couple has also begun partnering with non-profits, giving back and offering support, which they credit for so much of their own individual success.
Kayla is a recipient of a scholarship from the non-profit Sentinels of Freedom, which helped the family with housing for disabled vets.
“They’ve just been so helpful to us that we wanted to give back,” Kayla said.
The couple recently made a custom candle for attendees of the non-profit’s annual gala event.
“We really got a lot of help from Sentinels of Freedom,” Kayla continued, explaining the non-profit helped her go to school and provided financial aid as well as connected them to a business which helped them network for their candle business.
“A lot of the non-profits are very, very active in helping veterans start a business,” Chad added.
As veterans with service-related disabilities, the help and support of the veteran non-profit community does not go unnoticed with these two US Navy Veterans.
“There’s no way I would even be near where I am now. Even at my college that I went to in Washington they had a veteran service, entire department and that’s where I found my family and friends that helped me with the transition,” Kayla noted about veteran support. “It’s really nice to know that there are people out there who are willing to help veterans that are going through some of the same stuff and be able to form that community.
“That’s why we work with them so much,” Kayla continued. “We know what we’ve gone through. We know what others have gone through so we want to support them.”
While the support of the veteran community has become an additional focus of the company, ultimately their driving force is to simply bring joy and happiness to their customers.
A variety of scents as well as “sassy” influenced candles can be found on their website: www.sparksflycandle.com. They even host a scent of the month club for members. Custom labels and scents are also popular with their clients.
“I love bringing people happiness. It is like the best thing to me,” Kayla said of the hobby which quickly became a booming business. “Seeing them read the labels and they actually laugh. That’s amazing to me. At that point I don’t even care if people are buying my candle. They’re just coming and they’re laughing and having a good time. I just love that.
“This is exceeding expectations already.”