A Traditional Artisan: The Candlemaker

Ella B. Candles
Ella B. Candles

Certain smells are tokens of events, of seasons, people and places. Julie Tassy has harnessed the emblematic power of smell and made it work for Charlotte’s distinctive localities. Along with her husband and business partner, Christopher, Tassy and her team at Ella B. Pure Soy Candles create and blend fragrances evocative of Charlotte neighborhoods and neatly package them into gift-wrapped boxes.

While operating a personalized gift business in 2011, Tassy recognized her clients’ need for a “ready-to-give present,” deducing that candles fit the bill. Already equipped with a few entrepreneurial ventures under her belt and a passion for personalized gifts, Tassy marketed an inaugural twelve scents to local businesses. Since then, customers’ requests have spurred her to expand the line into twenty-four scents, all named after familiar vicinities, such as Ballantyne, Lake Norman and Davidson, and produced at a space in Matthews that Tassy fittingly christened “The Hive.”

Passionate as she is about the candles she and her team hand-pour daily, Tassy admits the decision to stick with pure soy candles wasn’t easy. “We call [the candles] the ‘Divas’ because they are so sensitive to conditions. Pouring temperature and cooling conditions have to be just right.”

Julie Tassy
Julie Tassy

Dealing with the Divas pays off, though, because of the distinction Ella B. enjoys from its competitors. “Many companies add color or create a blend with paraffin to simplify, but we want our Ella B. candles to remain a ‘natural beauty,’” says Tassy.
Tassy also espouses the benefits of soy candles, noting a cleaner burn of up to sixty hours from American-grown soy, and an impressive fragrance “throw,” even when the candle isn’t burning. The simpler pleasures of candles are what Tassy seems to enjoy the most, though. “It’s amazing how a fragrance can alter a mood, create an environment or just make you happy!” she says.

Ella B. employs one team member devoted to creating new candle scents, so don’t expect any candle to offer a one-dimensional olfactory experience. “You won’t find a single fragrance in any Ella B. candle,” says Tassy. Her current favorite is “Davidson,” which “layers components like leather, tea and pomegranate.” Other scents include “Myers Park,” a light bouquet of grapefruit, citrus and evergreen, while “NoDa” candles incense the air with more seductive Tuberose, musk and Patchouli aromas.

An enthusiastic businesswoman, Tassy acknowledges the need for balance, not only in candle-making, but other facets of life, as well. Since her husband left “a promising career at IBM” to devote more time to Tassy’s ventures at Ella B., Tassy relates a healthy family life – sans work, at times – to “the quest to find a balance of the right amount of fragrance, the right fill height, and the right wick that provides a perfect burn.”

Ella B. also creates “Private Label” custom candles for weddings, fundraisers and other special events, and retails at Sweet Grass in Mooresville, Jeffre Scott Apothecary in Myers Park, Cottage Chic and Paper Skyscraper in Dilworth, Blis in Uptown, Green with Envy in Plaza Midwood, Traditions in South Park, Sercie in Cotswold Marketplace, Creative by Nature in Blakeney, and Main and Gray in Fort Mill. The candles are also available online at www.sercie.com, seven other states and in the Caribbean.