Fresno-Based Scent & Fire Candle CompanyJan 22, 2021 03:35PM ● By Melissa Mendonca
All is BrightBy Melissa Mendonca
Photos courtesy of Scent & Fire Candle Company
December 2020 | January 2021
There’s a paradox to this festive time of year, and it’s that the shorter days and colder weather can turn some from cheerful to blue, despite the joy of holiday activity. Fresno-based entrepreneur Monisha Edwards knows the realities of seasonal depression disorder and anxiety well enough that she went searching for a solution and emerged with a business: Scent & Fire Candle Company.
“I love the holidays, but for some reason, those are the times when I do get depressed,” she says. “I just started feeling down. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I didn’t want to go to work. I was tired all the time,” she says of her initial diagnosis. “I didn’t want to go the medical route at first so I started researching holistic options. I didn’t want to run from it.” What she found was that certain scents and the warm glow of a candle flame helped her immensely.
“When I’m smelling my scents, they really brighten my day,” she says. “A really great scent will put me in a better mood. It helps keep depression at bay. The illuminating flame is really relaxing. Light can be used to soothe and calm you in certain situations. The illumination of the flame and the disbursement of scent from the candle is really mood enhancing.”
Edwards turned to YouTube videos to learn candle making and committed herself immediately to developing them in the most eco-friendly and sustainable way. “I have asthma so I’m very conscious of the air,” she says of her desire to create only a clean-burning candle. Her candles are 100 percent soy, with no additives or paraffin. They are poured into sustainable amber jars which can be recycled or repurposed, and all packaging is recyclable.
“I’m very big on doing my part to keep the earth clean and sourcing sustainable materials to create an eco-friendly product,” she says. Her company is certified with the California Green Business Network, and is part of the Made in California manufacturing program. Scent & Fire products are available online and should be finding their way into local retail outlets soon.
Initially, her quest was simply to make candles for herself, but her entrepreneurial spirit, honed at Fresno State University and through self-education, had her putting a few of her new creations up on Facebook for family and friends.The response was immediate and positive. A small side business developed that has now become more critical as her main business, Truth Branding Agency, weathers COVID-19-related slowdowns.
People are drawn to Edwards’ unique scent blends and creative naming, as well as the calm they can infuse into their personal spaces. Candles come richly scented with such names as Fireside Chat, Cashmere Sweater, and Edwards’ favorite, Spill the Tea, which blends white tea, peach nectar, bergamot, jasmine and ginger. For the literary minded, there’s Aged Books and Wisdom, and for those for whom a cashmere sweater may be too posh, there’s Hoodie Season. All are blended with pure essential oils and botanicals that meet Edwards’ discerning sniff test and desire to create a better mood.
While Edwards emphasizes her DIY ability to find information she needs to build her businesses, whether learning candle making or Photoshop or web design on YouTube – “I have literally over the years started enhancing my skill set out of necessity,” she says – she is also quick to point to mentors who have helped her grow over the years.
Back at Fresno State’s Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Nelson Sebra helped her launch a clothing company, PurpleJunkie, as an undergraduate. Sean Tambagahan at Butler Branding Brand Strategy has shared his wisdom freely with the 32-year-old, and Corey Jackson of ScrubCan, Inc., has actively supported her efforts. “Those three helped shape me into who I am now,” she says. “I reached out to some of them, but some of them reached out to me. When people see me doing great things, they just want to help.”
That spirit of support is what’s motivating Edwards to develop Scent & Fire into a platform that promotes mental health and reduces stigma of disorders. “It’s beyond the scent and beyond the fire,” she says. “I want to create a culture where people seek help and resources if needed.” •
Scent & Fire Candle Company