By Anna J. Anthony
Interview wtih Diane Martino from Relax by Scent
Anna J Anthony(AA): Diane, you have a very interesting background before starting your artisan candle business. Tell us about it!
Diane Martino(DM): I was a police officer in Chicago for 25 years. I like to serve and help people. I always knew from very early on as a little girl watching “Cagney & Lacey” on tv that this is what I was going to do. There was no doubt in my mind. I was very lucky; I attended the University of Chicago for social work, and later transitioned into law enforcement.
AA: You have recently transitioned from your law enforcement career into another very different way of serving others with your new business. How did all this come about?
DM: I was kind of forced to do it. I broke my back. I was angry at first that this was happening to me. It wasn’t my choice. Every day I would come home from work, and light a candle to de-stress. Once my time at work was up I needed something to fill my time. I am a very hands-on person, so I ordered a kit, and I started making my own soy candles. Once I started learning about all of the benefits of soy, and where paraffin wax came from it turned my stomach. So then it turned into me making the soy candles, putting them out there for people to buy, and then educating them about the benefits of soy. My website is not just a place to shop; it is a place to get an education.
AA: Making candles is an art and a science. Was it smooth sailing from day one?
DM: No, it was not smooth sailing! It was day in and day out of working to get the formulas right. There is a science behind it. You have to get the right temperatures. You have to add the correct amount of essential oils and coloring. This is all to ensure that the candles will not frost, curdle or mess up in any way. They are very sensitive, so you must get it right.
AA: What scent or product are you most proud of?
DM: The one that everybody likes is the Oatmeal, Milk & Honey. It’s the go to, and one of my mildest scents.
AA: Your product recently received some very cool exposure! How did this happen?
DM: In November I received an email from a company called “Celebrity Connected” in Hollywood, and they said that they had scouted my website, and invited me to give the celebrities at the Academy Awards my product. I thought it was a joke, so I did a little research on the company. I found out it was true! They have scouts that look for up-and-coming companies that have to meet their criteria for the clientele. They selected 45 companies from all over the world. I was the only one from the Chicagoland area. I was flattered! We flew out there and had a wonderful time! We met around 200 celebrities, as well as people in the industry. We gave away the Oatmeal, Milk & Honey Candles, and the soy soap and lotion. We received a great response, as well as re-orders from celebrities. My product was also one of 15 chosen to be listed in the Hollywood news publication “Vanity.”
AA: That’s amazing! I originally learned about your product at the Body Mind Spirit Expo. Your booth was so busy I could never even get to the candles during the open hours! Did you expect this type of reaction?
DM: Once people approached the booth we started talking about aromatherapy. I have carefully researched the benefits of each scent, and have applied them to my candles. I think people were interested in gaining an education on the benefits of soy. They appreciated it.
AA: What inspired you to show your product at Body Mind Spirit Expo?
DM: It all just comes together. Candles are calming. We have been burning them since the beginning of time. They are great for meditation. They help us take care of our body, mind, and spirit! I thought it was a great fit, and I was right! I think I will have to do it again.
AA: The candle business is a competitive market. What sets your product apart from the competition?
DM: I use all recycled packaging. It is important to me that I use the highest quality products. I use 100% American grown soy. No blends. I use premium essential oils. All coloring is vegetable dye. It has to be top notch!
AA: What is currently in store for the future of “Relax by Scent?”
DM: I would really like to get my product into more stores. If anyone is interested in carrying my product they should reach out to me, and we can see if it is a good fit.
Diane offers an exclusive scent each month, as well as a discounted scent of the month. You can purchase products at relaxbyscent.com. All upcoming events are listed on Facebook and Twitter. Contact Diane Martino at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anna J. Anthony is the Advertising Coordinator for Conscious Community Magazine. She is passionate about collaborating with and promoting local artisans, Lightworkers, and conscious business owners. In her free time, Anna studies the art of tarot, the paranormal, and is curious about various forms of consciousness, and spreading light and magic to others.