Established by husband-and-wife team David Wang and Mei Xu, Pacific Trade International is a fully integrated global marketer of candles, home fragrance, and home décor products and the company behind one of the most popular candle brands in the country and around the world: Chesapeake Bay Candle.
In early 1994, Mei and David both resigned from their jobs to follow their entrepreneurial spirits and establish Pacific Trade International. To get started, friends and family in China assisted them in importing a variety of products for the home. After a successful exhibition at the Charlotte Gift Fair in North Carolina, one product stood out from everything else: candles.
With a long list of new customers and more than ninety thousand dollars worth of orders in hand, their products became available in about one hundred doors by the end of 1994.
Finding Design Inspiration in Frankfurt
A few months later at Europe’s largest gift fair--the Ambiente show in Frankfurt--Mei noticed interior lifestyle goods in refreshing contemporary styles and modern pop colors like mango, lime green, and lavender dancing before her eyes. Remembering the dull home departments she had explored in Manhattan stores, Mei realized she had truly discovered a void in the American market.
Discussing her findings back in the United States, she was introduced to Peter French, owner of French Color and Fragrance Company, who invited Mei, David, and their first partner, Richard, to come learn the basics of candle making at his offices in New Jersey. Bubbling with anticipation, the small team returned to Annapolis, Maryland and used Campbell’s soup cans as molds in the basement of their home to create their first candles.
A Brand Is Born
Leaving out the additive needed to create a seamless satin finish, Mei, David and Richard coincidentally created a mottled texture that would later become a Chesapeake Bay Candle signature look.
With a striking, contemporary collection and an established network of retailers, only one thing was missing: a name for their soon-to-be successful brand.
Mesmerized and inspired by the beauty of the Chesapeake Bay shoreline near their home, they decided to pay tribute and named the collection Chesapeake Bay Candle.
By the spring of 1995, Mei was scheduling appointments with retailers such as Bed Bath & Beyond, Bloomingdales and Nordstrom’s to show off her first line of hand-made candles. Blessed with success, it seemed no matter where the candles were presented, buyers demanded it for their stores. Over the course of the years, Chesapeake Bay Candle went on to establish partnerships with America’s most renowned retailers including Target, Kohl’s, Bed Bath & Beyond and Hallmark, and was twice recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of America's fastest growing privately owned companies.