Project description

Business Owner: Maggie Dwyer
Business: Cape Cod Soy Candle
Location: Marstons Mills, Massachusetts

Meet Maggie
In 2007, Maggie was laid off her teaching position and with no other teaching positions available in the area, she sought out different ways to provide for her two children. She was able to find several jobs to provide a stable income for her children. In between working various jobs, Maggie set aside time to discovering more of her creative passions in life. She began to research how to make handmade, organic candles.

“I started Cape Cod Soy Candle in 2008 in my kitchen because my daughter was allergic to paraffin candles. Research brought me to soywax – a cleaner burning, vegetable based alternative. With a love of the Cape, it’s sand dunes and natural coastal beauty – the soy candles were named and quickly became a sought after souvenir. 7 years later CapeCod Soy Candle has expanded into a much larger workshop. I continue to be the chief candle pourer, creative director, graphic/web designer + social media guru. Sometimes my two teenagers fill in as production assistants.”

Soy Wax
Maggie always had a love for candles but was unable to burn any in her home due to her daughters paraffin allergy. After discovering a need for clean burning candles, she used a wax that is chemical free to produce a healthy solution. In her own kitchen she began experimenting with beeswax, palm, and soy wax. Soy wax was her favorite, “This vegetable alternative burns cleaner and does not emit carcinogens into the air like petroleum based paraffin candles. It was a no-brainer and would satisfy my candle obsession so I bought a bag of soy wax and the rest is history!”

Spread The Word
During the last 7 years, Cape Cod Soy Candle has immensely grown.  It started off in small consignment shops and now establishes a growing customer clientele online, “First I started selling them on consignment at a friend’s gallery. To my surprise, they quickly became a sought after souvenir. I then made a Facebook business page and soon the word spread that there was a local soy candle maker and now, no vacation is complete without taking home a Cape Cod Soy Candle!”

Soy Candle Super Mom
As a single mother you can only imagine the roadblocks Maggie faced when starting Cape Cod Soy Candle. Maggie utilized her master degree in education, time, and her limited financial resources to ensure a quality product as well as to establish a stable home environment for her two children, “I designed the labels, taught myself Photoshop, made a lightbox, took all my own photos, built my website, tirelessly combined pleasing scent combinations, poured the candles, hand delivered them to my clients and established friendships that I would never have found in a normal 9 to 5 job. I have been able to be home for my kids when they get off the bus and have showed them what it means to grow a small business. More importantly, I’ve shown them that a woman can be super mom and run a successful business on her own. To me, that’s worth its weight in gold.”

Purchase Power
Cape Cod Soy Candle is not just on a mission to make handmade soy candles. Maggie also wants to bring positive awareness to shopping small. Many of us do not realize the positive impact we make when we shop small. We are not just supporting a small business, we are also assisting families and sharing someone’s art, “I think it is increasingly important to be aware when you are buying a handmade product because you are also buying a piece of someone’s art or craft—their hard work and livelihood. You’re supporting not only the soybean farmers but someone’s mother, sister, friend and we are grateful! People need to be more conscious of their purchase power!” This certainly has shed new light on the impact we have as customers to help America’s Small Business Owners. We all can contribute our purchasing power and help make a difference with supporting local small businesses.

Mistakes Lead To Learning Experiences
To all of you who are facing small business roadblocks, Maggie advises you to, “Stick with it! Success doesn’t happen overnight. It’s dedication, constant evolution, learning and growing. Even the mistakes are huge learning experiences! If you feel strongly about your product/idea/skill, jump in with both feet and go for it! The world always needs new products from creative minds. Don’t leave it to the big box companies. Small, humble and unique is where it’s at.” How true this is? Maggie faces similar roadblocks just like all small business owners do. She has learned many things from enduring through the rough patches but also from many helpful mentors along the way, “Keep learning from other small business owners by finding a mentor. Make sure to keep a finger on the pulse of the market you are in, stay involved locally and give back.”