Candle career sparked by Grateful Dead - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Candle career sparked by Grateful Dead

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NORTH HYDE PARK, Vt. -

"I was a dead head," Jim Rossiter said with a laugh.

Rossiter became an entrepreneur in college to support his journey following the band the Grateful Dead. He sold his kaleidoscope or tie-dye candles all over the country.

"These were a big hit with the right marketplace," Rossiter said.

But something changed.

"We were using some pretty funky candle making ingredients and we realized they weren't very healthy," he explained.

Rossiter ditched the toxins and made a new niche in natural soy candles with his company Way Out Wax 18 years ago.

"They're all veggie," he said. "When you're using soy wax and essential oils, it's all from plants and it's a lot cleaner to burn plants into your living space than burning dyes and synthetic scents."

Essential oils are the heart of this North Hyde Park business.

"Lavender is calming and relaxing, sage is clarifying, eucalyptus will wake you up, orange is balancing," said Anna Barrett of Way Out Wax.

"There's no regulation in the candle industry, but if people found out what was in candles they were burning they'd probably choose not to burn them," Rossiter said.

Now with over 300 different products, including natural bug repellent and clean air sprays, Way Out Wax is one of the top five players in the natural candle industry, selling over 100,000 tumbler candles a year. Over 90 percent is wholesale and Whole Food is its biggest customer.

Reporter Gina Bullard: How should you burn a candle?

Anna Barrett: Candles should burn an hour per inch of diameter until the wax pool reaches the edge, and then they should be extinguished.

The candles range in price from $4-$20. Since oils like patchouli and sage are commodities, prices change daily and Way Out Wax never knows what it will be spending on supplies. But to them, that's something they can be proud of. Hoping people take a second sniff like Rossiter did at these all natural candles that are Made in Vermont.

Rossiter doesn't have a store now, but he used to have one on Church Street when he was making those Grateful Dead candles. Click here for the Way Out Wax website.

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