By Ryan Waldrep, Assistant Director for Entrepreneur and Small Business Development
Now that the 2016 Georgia Small Businesses ROCK STARS have been announced, we’d like to highlight other small businesses throughout the state who are growing, innovating and seeing great success.
Walking into Southern Soy Candle, I was fascinated by two things. The fragrance was intoxicating. The scent of magnolias, lilacs, honey and of course, peaches immediately brought back memories of growing up in South Georgia. And then there was the amazing view out the glass door over the pond.
Southern Soy Candle in Candler County has experienced phenomenal success since its founding just over two years ago. Started in Robert and Theresa Lytle’s family kitchen, the company has quickly grown into a new 800 square-foot manufacturing facility located on the family farm. They have also added two new employees.
Southern Soy Candle began as a way for Theresa, a licensed esthetician, to provide a 100 percent natural candle for use in her Metter spa that was also safe for use on the skin. Candles made from soy are ideal as soy’s melting point is low at only 103 degrees Fahrenheit. The soy lotion is silky, absorbs quickly into the skin and doesn’t leave a heavy sensation for the user.
Robert has gotten in on the process as well. By using his experience as a trainer for area manufacturing firms and technical colleges in Lean practices and 5S principles, he has organized the manufacturing and distribution process to maximize every square inch of the facility.
As Theresa and Robert demonstrated, the candling process, although simple, is quite fascinating. Soy flakes are melted over low heat and desired fragrances are mixed into the melted lotion. Wicks, made either from paper or cotton, are added to jars and the melted lotion is hand-poured. Once the lotion cools and sets, the lotion candle is ready for packaging and shipping. Each candle comes complete with a Georgia Grown label and instructions.
There are three lines of Southern Soy candles: the Coastal Line, the Spa Line and, of course, the Georgia Line. Each line is designed to evoke different experiences for the user. The scents used are also 100 percent natural, not tested on animals and GMO free. Soy-based candles also last about twice as long as traditional candles.
Theresa also showed me many of the custom candles that they have produced not only for retail locations, but also for special events. By working directly with clients, Theresa creates candles with scents and packaging that creates the overall experience desired.
Southern Soy Candle also creates candles and additional products for other Georgia companies and destinations. They produce custom products for floral and gift shops, resorts, festivals and even athletic stores. Southern Soy has also secured contracts with companies such as 2015 Small Business ROCK STAR Savannah Bee Company to create a new product line.
Their service area is typically two and a half hours from Metter, and the company is a proud Georgia Grown member and has participated in events such as the Georgia National Fair.
Candles are only the beginning. Robert has been active in searching for new products that can use the same soy-based materials. So far, they have developed anti-chaffing creams and a deodorant for athletes and pharmacies, and even more products are in various stages of development.
Robert and Theresa believe that the success of these new products and the continued growth of their business will require a doubling of their building in the near future. “Just don’t mess with the view.”
Learn more about Southern Soy Candle’ handmade products and where you can find their products at www.southernsoycandle.com.
Got a Small Business question? Start the conversation! Contact Ryan Waldrep, Assistant Director for Entrepreneur and Small Business Development.