30 Years of Coventry Creations: A Tour of the Candle Factory
(Crystal A. Proxmire, May 9, 2022)
Ferndale, MI – A candle is not a complicated thing to make. As Coventry Creations founder Jacki Smith said, “Wax and a wick. That’s all you need. Anything else you do with it is subjective. That’s how you make it yours.”
But taking the simplicity of a wax and wicks and turning them into an internationally beloved brand celebrating 30 years of success is something that required a touch of Jacki Smith magic – accentuated by clear intentions, hard work, and a lot of love.
Smith made her first candles at her kitchen table, delighting in the process of melting wax, adding the colors and scents, and watching her work take shape into something that made a perfect gift for friends and family.
It didn’t take long before she wanted to spread that joy further, and the Prosperity Candle was made. A beautiful green color with the scent of bergamot and clove, the candle helps it’s owner set the intention for healthy enrichment.
The candle of green I see before me,
Holds the seeds of prosperity.
I call on forces higher than I,
To awaken the wealth that I hold inside.
May I be enriched in the most correct way,
Harming none and helping all
As it fills my stay.
I call on them in perfect trust and love,
To create abundance from above.
This I make true and so it will be,
Bring what is needed times three.
The philosophy of that prosperity candle is one that reflects that kind of entrepreneur that Smith always set out to be – one that can be proud of their work, one that treats everyone they deal with well, and one that gives back to the community that supports them.
That first candle in the Coventry Creations line helped launch a business that would grow to include a robust wholesale business, a magical online following, a network of witchy friends, a quaint and popular shop in Downtown Ferndale, a factory in Ferndale’s industrial district that constantly smells like flowers, and a team of nearly 30 people who make it all happen.
Smith partnered up with her sister Patty Shaw, making it a family business. Together they perfected the blends of colors and scents and came up with the names and intentions they wanted to share. They then went to gift shops, candle shops, and variety stores to have her products placed there.
“We had stacks of phone books from all over and we’d just go through cold calling places we thought might want our product,” Smith said. “This was the nineties, so we still had those big yellow phone books. I love telling people I’ve been in business since before the internet.”
In time they went through distributors, and eventually grew an in-house sales team. A proud moment came in 2008 when they were able to take over the established Candle Wick Shoppe business in a basement level shop in Downtown Ferndale. There customers could enjoy shopping for candles as well as other gift items like incense, tarot cards, décor and more. In 2015 they moved up to a more prominent location, where customers continue to delight in the magic and variety.
While the store thrives in the quirky, artsy downtown setting, the internet has meant the most growth for Coventry Creations, and those determined networking skills translating well on the web. Not only did Smith and Shaw find success reaching out to stores, they built connections in spiritual circles with candles, leading to the Chakra Magic candle line. According to their website, “Chakra is the Sanskrit name of the little power center that pull in and distribute the mana (energy/light) from heaven (the source of energy/light). Each chakra supports functions of the body, mind and emotions.” Those unfamiliar may recognize the silhouette of meditating person with rainbow colored lights or crystals for each power center. In the Coventry line, each candle is the appropriate color, with a mandala design to go with it. Among them are the solar plexus yellow of the confidence candle, the orange blossom, sage, and carnation-scented love candle for the sacral chakra, and the royal violet of the crown chakra’s “Answers” candle.
The mastery of networking and the reputation of the products also led the women to team up with celebrity witch Dorothy Morrison. In 2010 they set out to craft a specialty line called Wicked Witch Mojo candles.
Dorothy Morrison has been a practicing witch since the early seventies and is the award-winning author of 14 best-selling books on magic and witchcraft. She’s the owner of Wicked Witch Studios, an online store specializing in handcrafted items designed for witches, and the creator of the Wicked Witch Mojo line of occult products.
“Outta my way,” is a teal-blue pillar with scents of Frankincense and Lemongrass and the powerful words “Outta my way I say! I have things to do, wishes to fulfill, and dreams to manifest. Outta my way I say! I have ideas to share and plans to realize. Outta my way I say! Cuz I will run you over if I must!” Others include the Extreme Bad Ass Candle, Red Stillettos, and Makin’ Tracks. There’s also a full line of scented oils to help set the right mood.
Keeping with the witchy theme, but growing beyond just wax and wicks, Coventry created the Witches Union – a club with a Facebook group, membership card, special patches and more.
“Being a witch is about embracing your power and manifesting it in every aspect of your life,” says the website. In the group members can “Ask for advice on spells, review a book that inspired you, share a funny cat-witch meme, you name it. Feel free to add to discussions and ask questions! We want you to feel comfortable and get the most out of your practice.”
The newest line in the limited edition Blessed Herbal Awakening Goddess line, with magical stones adding beauty and energy to the flowery designed labels, and percentages of the profits support Planned Parenthood. Inner Justice, for example, and has an affirming wish “Forgive and make up with one of the most important people in your life — YOU. It’s time to awaken that which governs your life, to grant yourself a full pardon, and to give yourself permission to live your best life. Be your own best friend with the Awakening Goddess Inner Justice candle.”
The candles are made by a team in their Ferndale-based factory. Oakland County Times went there recently for a tour. There pallets of plain opaque paraffin are melted down in magical-looking drums, where the liquid is mixed with colors and scents and then poured into cylindrical molds where the wick is added. Once hardened, team members smooth the edges, add the labels, wrap in plastic, and stock them in the inventory area where they get boxed up for orders or to be sent to the store.
The Coventry Creations factory feels like a special place, with the smells swirling together and sticking on the clothes of visitors even after they’ve left. Workers enjoy a casual atmosphere, and several of the employees are related to the owners. “I love being able to work with my family,” Smith said. “It really is a family business.”
It’s also a community-focused business. They’ve been a huge part of supporting and volunteering for Ferndale Pride, and they’ve supported other efforts like The Ferndale Library, Ferndale Schools, Ferndale Youth Assistance, and Renaissance Vineyard Church.
“We are honored to be part of this community,” Smith said. “Being involved and supporting the community is part of who we are and what we do. We’re all in this together and we learn from each other and support each other.”
And that is part of how the prosperity candle – and the over two million candles they have made for the world since – works. Now Coventry Creations is the number one company for intention-based candles in the world, shipping magic around the globe from their factory full of love here in Ferndale, Michigan.
Learn more about Coventry Creations at www.coventrycreations.com, and more about their shop, located at 175 W. 9 Mile in Downtown Ferndale, at www.candlewickshoppe.com