STATEN ISLAND, NY — Danielle Polizzano has always been mesmerized by the scent, the crackle and the soft illumination that a candle can provide. Warm and comforting, able to encapsulate Christmas, fresh laundry or a rainstorm on a summer day – her collection of pillars, votives, tealights and jars have always made her home cozy and inviting. So when the pandemic hit and every part of her life was a little uncertain, she quietly started making candles in her Great Kills house.
“I’ve always loved doing things – cooking and crafting – so at the start of the pandemic I bought a candle making kit to keep myself busy. There were a lot of difficult adjustments at the time. My work life changed, the whole company was isolated and we had to reduce our hours. And, of course, the threat of COVID was extremely worrying. But making these candles brought me peace.
So Polizzano, a legal secretary for more than 30 years, began spending his free time mixing wax, testing scent oils and experimenting with different types of wicks. His craftsmanship got better with every pour. She gradually began to realize that her hobby could be something more.
“It started as something my daughter and I did together to relax and unwind,” Polizzano said. “We gave the candles as gifts to our friends and family. They were so successful – people started telling us we needed to start a business.
Polizzano formed an LLC and studied all the nuances of small business ownership. She created labels and boxes, bought a cache of packaging products and tools. Waxing & Waning Candle Co. was born.
“It could absolutely be a full-time business,” Polizzano said, detailing the number of orders she now handles, creating custom candles for parties, weddings and other celebrations. “But it will always be my therapy. I love candles, but I think I love making them even more.
By constantly learning and experimenting with waxes, oils, and wicks, Polizzano said she’s truly grasped the science of a candle over the past two years.
“There’s a lot of trial and error,” she said. “I use soy wax and have found that some scents don’t lend themselves well to soy. So you adjust. I also had to learn more about the positive and negative effects of different wicks. If your candle is burning too fast, you need to reduce the wick size. It takes time. But I have strived to deliver a top quality product.
Explaining the difference between the hot spurt of a candle (how it smells when it burns) and the cold spurt (how it smells in the jar), Polizzano says she burns her candles continuously throughout the day to ensure they produce the best fragrance possible.
“They should smell nice and not produce too much soot,” she said. “Have you ever had a sooty stain on your bathroom ceiling after burning a candle? It’s not supposed to happen.
Polizzano has recently started making its own cement containers and has also launched a line of perfumes and room sprays.
“Perfume and room sprays have been extremely popular in my pop-up shops,” she said, detailing her presence at several local events. “I also started making bath bombs and shower sprays and those were a big hit as well.”
She mainly markets her products on her website and posts many photos and video tutorials on Instagram.
“When I hit up Instagram, I immediately received an order for 50 personalized candles,” she said. “I attend local events and school fairs, but the majority of my orders are placed online. I’ve shipped to so many different states – it’s amazing how much this little company has grown.
Polizzano has created several limited-edition candle collections for local charities, donating all proceeds to groups such as Trevor Project and Victory 4 the Voiceless. His ultimate goal for the company? Create a presence in several Staten Island stores.
“I think my candles would do well in a spa or clothing store,” she concluded. “I hope to start selling in a retail atmosphere at some point, but for now I’m just making gifts and creating these beautiful custom designs. It’s been a great learning process and I’m not done. I can’t wait to see what Waxing & Waning will become.