By Emily Griffin
Fans of locally-made Paddywax candles keep coming back for the insanely addictive smell and the high-quality containers that look gorgeous in any room – a strategy that is all by design.
Paddywax is well known in the Nashville area for their Berry Hill storefront where all the candles are hand-poured for all of their orders. This was also the first location of The Candle Bar, where people can go alone or in groups to mix scents and pour their own candles. Earlier this year, a second location opened in East Nashville.
Sally Ward Woodyard joined the Paddywax team in 2012 where there were just five people on staff. Things have changed quite a bit since then – the company has moved factories twice, the team is over 50 members large and Woodyard is now the creative director.
“It has really created an experience,” Woodyward says of being able to create your own candle. “People can come and actually learn about the process we cater to. It’s how we make the candles and how our products come to life.”
The storefront is very popular for bachelorette parties, birthdays, other various celebratory events, or just for a night out. Woodyard thinks this venture was a great way to connect with the community.
“We’ve been historically a B2B business, so we’ve just always gone to trade show’s and we have great relationships with our retailers,” Woodyard says. “But when it comes to Nashville, a lot of people didn’t even know that we were based out of here. So, it was a way to be like, ‘Hey guys, we make the product here and love what we do and want to share it with you.’”
As the creative director of Paddywax, Woodyard is involved in the design of the vessels for the candles too. She works closely with suppliers to create the perfect shapes, sizes, and colors of their containers from the sketches and renderings she presents to them.
“I kind of build a story around that container or vessel and we try to really appeal to home décor, so anything that we would want to put in our home is what I basically try to design,” Woodyard says. “Something with mixed materials, elegant color palette and unique shapes and sizes is really what I shoot for.”
Woodyard really believes that Paddywax candles enhance your home, even past the life of the candle itself. The team behind the candles puts care and detail into every product they create to make sure they are perfect for their customers.
“I would say from my angle, every product is like a little miracle in a sense, from design standpoint to production, to manufacturing, to shipping, to getting in into a consumer’s hands,” Woodyard says. “Everything comes alive and there’s so much detail in every step… it’s a really simple candle, but it’s actually a huge process.”
While many candles these days are in glass containers, Paddywax is designing containers that are much more sustainable and reusable. Woodyard’s job as a creative director is unique because instead of simply designing how the candles look, she is also using her creativity to find ways to reuse the containers afterwards.
“While the vessels are consumable, they have a life after the candle is burned, whether it be a vase or a holder of your paper clips,” Woodyard says. “We have one collection that can be re-purposed as creamer and sugar containers. That’s really one of my favorite things about designing is coming up with purposes beyond just a candle that might only last four of five months.”