Sequim candle business growing like wildfire

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Sequim Gazette

In 1996 Joy Castaneda decided she’d like to make candles as gifts for her sister, niece and friends. That spark of inspiration eventually led to Full Moon Candles, Castaneda’s more-than-full-time business. Full Moon this month moved into its new, expansive digs at 161 W. Washington.

Business is so good she’s working practically non-stop to meet the demand for her candles, which come in 40 different fragrances.

Castaneda said the learning curve was fairly steep. “When I started, I didn’t know what I was doing,” she said. “They smoked, they dripped.” So for two years she experimented non-stop. Eventually she was able to produce a perfect product, and so she started wholesaling her goods to stores and boutiques in the area. After purchasing a home on West Cedar in Sequim, she realized she had the potential to retail her candles, and opened up a small shop in her home.

“After four months, people were lined up outside,” she said. In 2001 she added additional space to the small shop “and it skyrocketed from there.”

Made in Sequim

Castaneda still makes the candles in a small shed in her backyard. But home-made doesn’t mead lower quality: she uses “ultra-refined food grade paraffin” to make the candles. The fragrances are purchased from the very best sources in the U.S.

The best-selling candle is “Jamaican spice,” a fragrance so popular Castaneda says it has taken on a life of its own.

With five times the retail space of her home shop, Castaneda has stocked her new Washington Street shop with  more home decor and other decorative items, with virtually all of it produced by American artists.

Four of the artists are local, with the rest “across the country,” Castaneda said. The pieces include copper wall hangings, pottery, fabric coil baskets, oil lamps and “Wally Pockets” — recycled bottles for mounting potted plants on the wall.

The only exceptions to the American-made rule are the works of four European glass blowers and the China-made “melts.” Melts are a flameless way of providing the fresh fragrance of a burning candle.

Beginning January 1, a new infrared sauna will also be operating at the Washington Street store.

Castaneda says the sauna provides a number of benefits, from detox to an immune system boost.

Full Moon Candle is open seven days a week. Monday through Friday it’s open 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday from 9:30 a.m-5 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

For more information, or for long-distance orders, drop by

Reach Mark Couhig at



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