For years, Darya Kosovan burned candles in her home without a second thought. It wasn’t until she noticed black residue on her children’s noses that she began learning what’s really in many of the candles sold in stores.
“When I started looking into it, I realized how toxic candles are and I was overwhelmed,” said Kosovan, who lives in Matthews with her husband, Valentin, and their three young children. “I didn’t realize we were filling the house with toxins.”
Most modern candles are paraffin wax. They are made from petroleum as a by-product of making gasoline. According to Kosovan, burning paraffin candles releases soot and potentially dangerous chemicals, like toluene and benzene.
Soy candles are a little better, but Kosovan said most are chemically processed from the oil of genetically modified soybeans that are commercially farmed with pesticides.
Determined to find a better option, Kosovan began working on creating a 100% pure beeswax candle that would not only be pleasant to burn, but also improve the air in her home. Once she got the recipe down, she turned her personal project into a small business.
Kosovan launched Wellness by Ari, named after her 6-year-old daughter, Ariella, in 2018.
The company sells beeswax candles with certified organic hemp wicks that are hand-poured by Kosovan out of her home.
The wax comes in five-pound bricks from beekeepers across the U.S. Kosovan melts the wax down, adds organic coconut oil to soften it and drops in essential oils for fragrance. She then pours the wax into eight-ounce jars and the candles harden overnight.
Kosovan said beeswax burns brighter, cleaner and longer than paraffin and soy candles. When heated, it releases negatively charged ions that cling to positive ions in the air (dust, pet dander, mold, pollen), weighing them down and helping keep the air clean.
Wellness by Ari products are also free of synthetic fragrances, paraffin, dyes, parabens, phthalates and petrochemicals.
Jar candles cost $28 and come in scents like citrus mint, rosemary basil, peppermint, pachouli and grapefruit, as well as unscented. Kosovan said lavender vanilla and spearmint eucalyptus are the popular year-round smells, but she also has fall scents like pumpkin pie and honey cinnamon. In the winter, she sells Christmas tree and frozen forest.
Wellness by Ari also has honeycomb pillars, taper candles and votives. Kosovan plans to sell smaller jars and tea light candles soon, as well as do-it-yourself candle-making kits. Products are available online and at nearby stores, such as The Loyalist Market in Matthews, HomeStyles Gallery in Mint Hill and Baked Well in Matthews.
“I love knowing exactly what goes into the candle and I know it’s actually something that’s beneficial for people to have in their home, so I’m excited to have that,” Kosovan said.
Want a candle?
Visit www.wellnessbyari.com to browse available scents. Orders over $28 ship free.