After Searching the World Over, Chesapeake Bay Candle is Finding the Way Home

Having started the company in the basement of their Annapolis, Maryland home in 1994, husband-and-wife team Mei Xu and David Wang are preparing to bring part of our production back to our roots near the Chesapeake Bay. More than sixteen years after everything started, we are proud to announce the opening of our first domestic factory in the beautiful state of Maryland, where our brand’s dreams were born. Our new Glen Burnie factory in Anne Arundel County is our fourth manufacturing facility, but our first in the United States.

Equipped with a state-of-the art research and development center and laboratories for fragrance evaluation, fragrance stability testing, and burn testing, this facility will be used to produce an extensive range of filled vessel candles through standardized, automated production. With over 125,000 square feet of space, the space will soon also house a warehouse and operate a distribution center.Having a factory only a few miles away from our headquarters in Rockville, Maryland also allows us to strengthen collaboration between our creative team at the headquarters and research and development and production at the factory.

From the very beginning, Chesapeake Bay Candle has established a reputation as a consumer-inspired, design and fragrance driven company. Every home fragrance collection is anchored in a macro trend responding to current consumer attitudes and reflecting the latest trends in fragrance, color, design and texture relevant to the home industry. Macro trends are identified by our Product Development & Design team in Rockville through a complex, global research process including domestic and international trade show visits, store visits, as well as analysis of emerging trends in fashion, the arts, and pop culture. Our research is filtered into the creation of macro trends relevant to the world of home fragrance – culminating in trend-forward design that has earned our company a reputation as an undisputed style leader in the industry.

With a deep understanding of the magnificent power of scent, Chesapeake Bay Candle collections are grounded in our “Fragrance First” philosophy: fragrance design is always the first building block in every new product line. Our unique alliances with the best fragrance vendors in the U.S. and Europe allow us to bring sophisticated, multi-note scents to the market at affordable pricing. Our collections offer well-balanced fragrance assortments – typically representing all eight fragrance families and providing a captivating scent for every taste and personality. Once fragrance and color stories are finalized by our PD&D team in Rockville, the new product must go through a rigorous development & testing process to ensure it meets our premium quality standards and will entice the consumer when it hits the market.

For domestically produced candles this development and testing will occur at our Glen Burnie Research & Development and Testing Centers. Proposed candle ingredients are tested for stability and compatibility in our Stability Testing Lab. In the R&D Center we develop a unique formula for every new candle – optimized for the given format (size, shape), wax type, color and fragrance combination for a premium fragrance delivery and a clean burn. The formulation is burn tested in our Burn Performance & Fragrance Evaluation Laboratories to verify optimum burn, fragrance throw, and safety both of development and mass production product.

A typical fragrance can have many different raw ingredients and not all ingredients are automatically compatible with a selected wax formula. To ensure the highest quality product, we partner with our fragrance suppliers in the development process to ensure that the fragrances are developed to best perform in our wax formula. The selected fragrances go through verification testing to ensure that they are fully compatible with our proposed wax formula upon arrival at the factory.

Once a candle formula is fully established, the product is ready to go into production. With our fully standardized, automated production process, the Glen Burnie factory has the capability to produce 2000 candles per hour.

The production process includes the insertion of the pre-waxed wick into the vessel, followed by the pre-heating of the vessel ensuring a nice clean finish on each candle, and the pouring of the wax formula into the vessel. Depending on the style of the given product, our production process allows for up to four pours of wax.

Over four hundred feet long, our conveyer line is long enough to allow for ample cooling time as the candles travels into the labeling and packing area. Once it arrives here, the candle receives its side and bottom label and its lid before it is packaged in the appropriate packaging.

After the candles are fully packaged, the product is ready to begin its journey to the retail store – Target, Kohl’s, and Hallmark are just a few examples – where it is waiting to be purchased and enjoyed by the consumer.

Comfy Cozy: CBC Home

Barely into warm weather, and still weeks away from the official start of summer, it’s a bit soon to be thinking about autumn. However, in the world of the product cycle, it’s something our design team has been thinking about before the last mounds of snow even melted from the ground.

In order to have everything ready for the shelves before the autumn leaves appear, each new product requires ample time for brainstorming, research, testing, and tweaking. And when it comes to a new collection, that pre-production portion of the product cycle spans even longer. So, while this may be a bummer for our designers, living seasons ahead of reality, it’s actually quite fun for the rest of us who get to indulge in a special Sneak Peak!

Fast forward to Fall 2011, and the CBC Home Collection is beginning its debut. A soft but chic palette contained within sleek and simple vessels works naturally with the common home decor neutrals we often see indoors. Just as ferns, geraniums and azaleas are indigenous to the area of the Chesapeake Bay, these comforting colors and complementary fragrances are native to the rooms within our homes.

“We all know someone with a room of sage green walls, cream-colored sofas, or soft blue duvet covers, don’t we?” asks Laura, Senior Designer of this collection. “We surround ourselves in these neutral and serene colors at home because they are warm, welcoming, and cozy.”

“Soft to the touch and soft diffused in color, the ceramic’s matte finish echoes that sentiment,” explains Laura. Highlighting the approachability of the collection, bulb-shaped ceramic jars boast a beautiful luxe, yet tactile, matte finish.

This new approach to color provides an everyday collection with a touch of sophistication. Pigmented brights seem to saturate through unprocessed pastels to create shades perfectly adaptable to any home. Including foggy blues, muted reds, and garden greens, the palette, alone, makes us feel at ease–partially because we can sit back, rest assured that whatever items of this relaxing line we choose, they will have no trouble blending in easily with existing statement pieces at home.

When combined with nostalgic, comforting fragrances, the overall effect is quite calming. Your home smells like nature intended, as soothing aromas and colors allow even the most urban environment to harvest the energy of the great outdoors.

Just a few more months until it truly is Fall 2011, and you can find your mind transported to the nearby tranquility of nature.



The Love Triangle of a Multifaceted Fragrance

Stemming from the first hints of charm and attraction, to the moment hearts skip a beat and reveal more, to the lingering support you find within each other as time goes on, the multi-note fragrance experience seems to share an awful lot with falling in love.

Reaching us first, like the kind eyes or inviting smile you might initially set sight on, the top notes of a fragrance, (also called the head notes), form a first impression. This is the point when we decide if we want more. If the top notes are not attractive to you, personally, and fail to draw you in, you will probably walk away–similar to a first date without a sufficient “spark.”

However, if you feel that lusty spark and choose not to abandon your new love, your sense of smell will move on to enjoy the middle (or heart) notes of the fragrance. As its name implies, this is the heart and soul of the fragrance and expectantly the single best representative of the scent as a whole. For instance, if you’re checking out a fragrance with the label name Orchid Guava, chances are the aromatic blend of the heart note will contain sweet exotic fruit and blossoms of some sort.

Completely infatuated, you begin to get comfortable, spending more and more time in each other’s company. It’s no longer a matter of what time will tell but growing increasingly fond of the scent that lingers–now that all has been revealed. The base (or bottom) notes are the solid support of the fragrance that hold up the heart and head of the scent. Just as lasting love is not much of anything without unconditional, mutual support and encouragement, the fragrance could not exist without the base notes as its backbone.

This complex makeup of a single scent is often explained with a pyramid diagram, beginning with the top notes, moving down to a slightly expanded mid-region for the middle notes, and concluding with a wide base reserved for bottom notes in order to imitate the sequence in which scents emerge.

However, other experts use the metaphor of the body to explain the experience of a multifaceted fragrance, with the fleeting head notes inhaled first, moving on to the longer-lasting heart notes, and finishing with the lingering aromas of the sensual base notes.

Delicate citrus and floral scents tend to make up the top notes, while the middle notes generally emerge from hardier florals and plant parts such as stems and resins. Meanwhile, bottom notes which can last for over a day–and are arguably the most important–come from resilient aromas like that of musk, sandalwood, or vetiver. Returning to the example of Orchid Guava, you may find it surprising for a fruity-floral fragrance, but its base notes actually do contain some musk–along with vanilla orchid and berries–to help balance out the sweetness of the scent. Only so many words can be used in a fragrance’s label name, but it’s important to “note” that much more lies beneath with this complicated love triangle of aromas responsible for a single fragrance.

Kerri Souilliard
PR & Marketing Specialist

CBC Employee Spotlight

Merchandising Executive, Natalie Giannone, Shares a Slice of her Experience at Chesapeake Bay Candle

Polaroid - Natalie_ Favorite fragrance: I love the scent of White Peach Bamboo, found in Inspire from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Collection and Inspire Daily from the Journey Collection. I like the sweetness mixed with the natural green scent of the bamboo. I like clean natural scents, but the sweetness is what initially grabs my attention.

Inspirations: I’m inspired by a wide range of things–nature, fashion, other countries and cultures all inspire me. Color is a big contribution to these inspirations. I absolutely love earth tones in clothing and home décor, but I also respond to that pop of bright color.

Most enjoyable aspect of your job: I love the process of seeing a product develop from start to finish. It is always rewarding to believe in an idea and see it physically well executed.

Favorite thing about Chesapeake Bay Candle: I love that CBC has the ability to cater to multiple tastes of fragrances and aesthetics. We can constantly create new programs and products to satisfy everyone’s desires and needs.

Best Chesapeake Bay Candle memory: I’d say my best CBC memory to date was getting to meet my Hallmark buyers at their offices. It is always helpful to put a face with a name and get to see their reaction to our product, first-hand. Direct contact provides the best feedback.

Scentsible Tips from Natalie: To me, displaying lit candles is always a quick and easy way to enhance your environment. It can contribute feelings of comfort, elegance, intimacy, relaxation, and escape. These feelings can translate into a dinner party or simply lounging in your living room.

Designed by Creatives, Inspired by Nature

Have you ever taken a walk in a park, (or even just near a few green trees), after hours of staring at your computer screen, being bombarded by all angles with unsolicited information? The great things brought to us by this ever-advancing state of technology–the same ones that make each and every day a bit more “user friendly” and often allow us to access worlds of resources and tech tools we never even knew we needed—can sometimes also just be plain overwhelming.

This type of information cbcb_coll_graoverload can be so overpowering, in fact, that a breath of fresh outdoor air and a glimpse of some local greenery that may not otherwise be impressive can serve as a much needed, incredibly serene burst of energy to your core. Take the time to take it all in as you appreciate the beauty created by mother nature, quickly forget the excess of “important” information swirling round your head, and you’ll see what I mean.

Working for a brand whose name itself was inspired by nature means remembering to seek out this kind of pristine tranquility daily while searching for ideas and inspirations from the serene beauty of Maryland’s idyllic shoreline. Simply ask Senior Designer, Corina Heymann, who worked closely with the team to develop the beautiful botanical graphics of The CBC Collection, which debuted earlier this season.

“Producing the visual elements and packaging of a collection, comes with its own array of challenges. My job is to create balance not only within the actual design itself, ensuring clean lines and simple, yet eye-catching compositions related to the featured fragrances, but also to incorporate functionality and various degrees of inspirations and concepts which the collection was made to represent,” Corina shared.

clarityThe CBC Collection, for example, was designed to convey a “Clarity” trend, (trend board featured at right), centered around invigorating aromas that clear the air and soothe the mind, body and soul, allowing you to close your eyes and escape the clutter and chaos of an everyday environment. However, reflecting our brand, this collection was also created to celebrate the pristine purity of the Chesapeake Bay, tying back to our roots with nature.

With a white backdrop, we see a blank creative canvas–and almost always turn back to mother nature for her earthly advice on where to go from there.

Kerri Souilliard
PR & Marketing Specialist

A Sweet Escape for Mom

The beginning of each May, stores present us with mountains of gaudy, pink and floral-printed items tied in bows and trimmed with lace—all intended as gifts for Mother’s Day. It can be exhausting to sift through these cliché items in hopes of finding something that our own unique mother might truly enjoy.

However, even the seasoned pro-shoppers that know exactly what to give begin to run out of ideas at some point. Stop to think about what mom’s hinted at recently—or state the obvious and ask what it is she wants–and the answer is something like, “Oh nothing, mommy wonderful family is gift enough.”

Moms are tricky like that. They never ask for anything so it’s our job to dig deeper, think about how she lives and what she likes best, before we can come up with a gift that screams, “Wow!” and presents something she never knew she needed.

So, if you’re out of ideas and trying to get creative this Mother’s Day, how about an at-home spa? One cliché that fits just about every mom is the need for relaxation and a little, well-deserved “me-time.” She’s always on the go and always worrying about everybody else—after all, that’s her “job as a mother,” she would say. Setting up an at-home spa to surprise her with is a great way to say, “Take a day off, Mom. Relax.”

Here are a few simple steps you can follow to create a great spa-like ambiance at home for your wonderful mother:
mom21) Find her favorite room inside (or outside) of the house and choose calming colors as accent décor—just a few pillows to cozy up her favorite reading corner or new towels for the bathroom can give an instant makeover.
2) Next, decorate the area with lots of mom’s favorite scented candles, reminiscent of the relaxing aromas of a real spa.
3) Arrange some fresh-cut flowers nearby and a heart-felt card for mom in a prominent place to ensure she sees it right away.
4) Last but not least, light all the candles for an impressive ambiance and welcome mom to her special new relaxation spot!

Fragrant Memories

Sometimes, it’s easy to remember your first experience with certain scents—like the fresh aromas I recall from my grandmother’s house on Easter day as she lined up rows of potted hyacinths and white lilies that she’d been gifted, while hints of rosemary and thyme crept out from simmering festive dishes in the kitchen. Now, whenever I catch wind of early springtime flowers laced with the essences of an herb garden, my mind returns to a living room filled with sunshine, chatting family members, and beautifully hand-glazed ceramic eggs displayed in a basket.

Then, there are the whiffs you get of something so mallorcavaguely familiar it causes confusion as you stop in your tracks, struggling to remember the origin of that smell. It took me almost two years to identify the mysterious “scents of Spain” that I continued to pick up on even after I had returned to the United States. It turned out the fragrance I associated with my trip was actually just Gucci Rush 2, with which my travel buddy had consistently spritzed through our temporary abode.

Chances are you have had similar occurrences involving aromas, and if so, you’ve experienced the emotional connection of fragrance. That’s not to say you will recall Easter morning from the intertwined scents of florals and herbs, or your first time abroad from a popular perfume combining gardenia and jasmine with vanilla and patchouli. Those are my memories, and almost certainly, mine alone.

The beauty of memories evoked by fragrance is that each person’s experience is different, and therefore allows each of us to remember and feel something completely unique as the brain responds to specific odors. This is one of the primary reasons why fragrance is so personal.

In fact, studies show that memories remembered through sense of smell are more emotional than those called to mind by sight, sound, or touch. With the power to bring us back to a breathtaking moment and awaken memories that have long been forgotten, the importance of fragrance quickly emerges.

Daydreaming about what memories will come back to you with the assistance of scent? Find your fragrance personality with the help of our new quiz!

Kerri Souilliard
PR & Marketing Specialist

Susan G. Komen for the Cure comes to Chesapeake Bay Candle

Having worked for Chesapeake Bay Candle for close to 5 years now, I was proud that we’ve formed a partnership with the Susan G Komen organization. This is a cause that is very dear to me, as both my mother and mother-in-law are survivors.Rachel Villareal

On 11/16, we had the pleasure of having Mona Locke, National Operations Director Washington DC and Judy Macon, two time breast cancer survivor give us a little “Breast Cancer 101” learning session and also tell us more about the Susan G Komen organization.

You’re probably thinking why at work? What does breast cancer have to do with my job? Funny thing, this is a disease which affects every single one of us in some way. We may have a mother, mother-in-law, sister, sister-in-law, friend, cousin, aunt, co-worker who has been affected. So why not take the time to learn a little more or refresh your knowledge of breast cancer.

There were 3 facts which caught my attention immediately:

-       “1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime”

-       “Someone dies of breast cancer every 68 seconds”

-       “This year alone – 40,000 people will die from the disease in the United States.”

Thoughts of what I can do to prevent this or how I may help someone else prevent breast cancer were running thru my mind. Unfortunately, with this disease there is not one specific thing that can cause breast cancer. Some of us can do the genetic testing to see if we are gene carriers but for the majority of those diagnosed, there is no hereditary link—simply no explanation.
The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Collection by Chesapeake Bay Candle, the result of our partnership together.

Now we all know this isn’t comforting to hear – so there are things that we can do to help reduce our risk (these are just a few steps that can be taken) but these steps aren’t fool proof and one should always consult their physician for advice.

-       Maintain a normal body weight

-       Eat a heart healthy Mediterranean diet

-       Limit alcohol intake to drinking less than 7 drinks a week (one per day or less)

-       Vitamin D supplement and getting 15 minutes a day of sun light

-       Exercise 3-5 hours per week

As a mother of two girls, I’ve committed myself to doing the above things. If I can take any opportunity to help reduce my risk of breast cancer, then I’m doing this for me, my girls, husband, family and friends. This fight to end breast cancer won’t be over until a cure is found. This is where the Susan G Komen organization and Chesapeake Bay Candle come in.

Susan G Komen organization and its affiliates raise money each year. “Of the money raised, 25% is sent back to Susan G Komen headquarters to fund breast cancer research while the remaining 75% stays in the communities for treatments, screenings, and education.” It was comforting to hear that the money donated to this organization stays with this organization!

Chesapeake Bay Candle has created a beautiful line of candles and donated $100,000 to help in this fight against breast cancer, and I’m truly proud to work for a company who sees the importance in this fight.

Everyone should take the opportunity to educate themselves about breast cancer. Everyone should make sure the women in their lives are following these 3 steps to screen for breast cancer, early detection is key.

1.     Mammograms performed once a year at age 40+, unless otherwise instructed by your physician

2.     Clinical breast exam performed by your physician

3.     Breast self awareness

My hope for this article is to help inform as many people as possible, both women and men, some basic facts and just my thoughts on breast cancer. If it helps just one woman be more aware of breast cancer, get themselves examined then I’ve also helped contribute to this fight against breast cancer.

Rachel Villareal

Senior Merchandising Executive

Babson Forum on Entrepreneurship

I have said it before, and am saying it again – accompanying Chesapeake Bay Candle Creator Mei Xu on speaking engagements is one of the responsibilities I enjoy the most in my position as her publicist. Whether we are visiting a business school, women’s organization, or a home fragrance industry event, it is always a great inspiration to see audiences respond to Mei’s story of making her first candle collection in the basement of her home and growing Chesapeake Bay Candle into a multi-million dollar global enterprise over the past sixteen years. Polaroid - Mareike_new

Most recently, Mei was invited to speak at the Ninth Annual Babson Forum on Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Babson College,  located in Wellesley, MA, is recognized internationally for its entrepreneurial leadership in a changing global environment. The first Forum took place in 2002 and was organized to highlight and reinforce Babson’s reputation for global leadership in entrepreneurship.

Believing that entrepreneurship can be a solution to many of the social and economic challenges we face today, Mei gladly accepted the invitation to join the opening key-note discussion hosted by Leonard Schlesinger, President of Babson College and former Vice Chairman and COO of Limited Brands.

She was joined by Ben Fischman,  CEO of Rue La La, on a lively opening panel on which both shared their experiences in founding and growing (and selling) successful ventures. Len Schlesinger, proving to be a superb – and humorous – host, steered the conversation to highlight parallels and differences in the business models of Mei’s and Ben’s companies. He also managed to draw a well-kept industry secret from Mei: the fact that pumpkin fragrances are always a best seller – and the aphrodisiac scent most arousing to men.

Back home, Mei and I were delighted to learn the student organizers found the event to be a huge success with the audience. We also had very fun time – not only because we enjoyed meeting a group of sharp, budding entrepreneurs but also because the Babson team took so well care of us and showed us a wonderful time. A huge thank you to the wonderful Alexa Brandt, Laura Littlechild, Janet Strimaitis, Ninad Gujar and Joshua Leffler. We look forward to the next time!

Mareike Finck
PR & Marketing Manager

Weathered Beauty

From the moment I arrived in Clinton, NJ to an overwhelming sea of boxes in need of unpacking–not to mention the stormy weather I endured on the way there–I knew my first photo shoot as an art director may be a bit challenging.

As an energetic force, our small team of 4 (photographer, stylist, assistant, and myself) took on the rain that ruined props, wind that extinguished flames, packaging that took over the first floors of 2 homes, and days that never seemed to have hours long enough. We pushed tired eyes and bodies to work just a little longer, tried to force concepts just a little harder and in the end it was entirely worth the lost sleep and missed phone calls.

With each additional shot, and each emphasis of the natural light, I saw the power of great photography, as with each quarter inch a prop was moved to the left or right, emerged of experienced styling. Rather than letting my nerves turn vocal and reiterating my original visions when a shot did not immediately “feel” right, I stepped back, observed, and let the beauty unfold. Seldom did a single prop need to be altered in order to make each shot look like the initial concepts sketched and feel like the Chesapeake Bay Candle brand once I saw the magic of the first frames appear on the screen. Although I spent long weeks brainstorming concepts and necessary props for each shot leading up to the shoot dates, the actual photo shoot was quite the experience.

Kerri Souilliard
PR & Marketing Specialist