about the process...
Our candles are poured in small batches in East Tennessee, nestled in the foothills of the Smokies. Our shop's furry mascot (and Instagram star), Toby, can usually be found napping in the corner or supervising the day's activities. We do all of our label design, scent creation, and packaging in house. I customize each candle with a unique blend of natural and fragrance oils...kinda like a mad scientist, minus the mad part. The candles are made with an eco-friendly soy wax that not only looks beautiFUL, but burns cleanly. We only use soy wax because (unlike paraffin which is a petroleum byproduct), it's a natural, renewable resource. It cleans up easily with soap + water and is healthier for you and the environment. For more details visit our FAQ page.
My goal was to design a candle that was eco-friendly, smelled amazing, and was pretty to look at. Mixing modern, rustic, and farmhouse styles is my jam (does anyone say that anymore?). So I designed clean, black and white labels for the modern element and paired them with jelly jars and classic, black lids to infuse a bit of farmhouse style. It's a beautiful marriage of laid back + tidy and as an added bonus: they blend in perfectly in any decor.
about the name...
We chose the name FUL Candles because life is FUL of little moments to take in, acknowledge, and appreciate. Feeling joyFUL, peaceFUL, and beautiFUL are such sacred acts. Our hope is that whenever you catch a lingering scent of our candles or see the words: GRATEFUL, BEAUTIFUL, BLISSFUL, or POWERFUL on the label, that you'll be reminded that you are all of those things. Even if you can't feel it in that moment, you are. Trust us.
We're so happy to bring a little sunshine into your home. Hopefully you can feel all the joyFUL vibes added free of charge. (We put a lot in there.) You deserve it.
Hi! I’m Laura: candle maker, dog snuggler, and brownie connoisseur. FUL Candles was born several years after a severe injury sidelined me from my day job as a graphic designer. In 2010, I injured a disc in my spine that began creating nerve problems throughout my back, pelvis, and hip. The next 5 years were filled with doctor appointments, surgeons, physical therapists, steroid injections, nerve ablations, and countless other treatments. Sitting at my computer and doing design work was becoming next to impossible. There were days of not leaving bed, days of wondering if things would ever get better, and many moments of questioning what my purpose was. Chronic pain was casting a huge shadow over my life. I knew if the darkness was ever going to lift, I needed to find another creative outlet to fill the space where graphic design used to be.
When I was in college, the design program I was in required a lengthy list of fine art classes. I took watercolor, sculpture, pottery, printmaking, drawing, and metal smithing. I found that whenever I was making something, time flew by. Creating things brought me a lot of joy. So in 2015, since pain was preventing me from doing my graphic design work, I decided to try something new—something that wouldn’t require me sitting, but would still keep my hands (and mind) busy. I started playing with soy wax. It began with me making candles for friends and family. It was a reason to get out of bed and a way to focus on something other than the pain. As soon as I started creating, I could slowly begin to feel some joy seep back into my days. It was like being handed a glass of water in the desert. After several months, it grew from a hobby into a business. I had to ice my back and rest in between candle batches, but I was creating. I was feeling that spark of joy again. Then I started to see the impact it was having on others, and that joy multiplied. Stories came flooding in about people receiving candles as thank you gifts, or during chemo, or to celebrate wedding showers. Shops started contacting me to carry our line. It was amazing. I was feeling so much joy making the candles, and people were feeling joy receiving the candles. It was this reciprocal circle of joy.
In 2017, doctors found out my injury was worse than they initially diagnosed seven years prior. I had a torn hip labrum. I needed hip surgery to repair the tear. It was an extensive surgery, resulting in bone shaving, 3 anchors, and intensive physical therapy. Months into rehab, my body wasn’t responding as expected. Another MRI showed more damage. Because the hip labrum had been torn for so long, other areas of my pelvis had been affected. The ligaments that hold the pelvis in place had been injured, as well as several other discs in my back. But it wasn't just the pelvis that was affected. Soon my shoulders, hands, feet, and knees began hurting. Tests showed I had RA.
Today, I have a team of doctors that I work with closely to continue the healing process. There are good days and not so good days. I have to constantly listen to my body and let it guide me throughout the day. Some days I’m able to do more, other days not so much. The pain is better now than before the surgery, but I don’t know if it will ever be completely gone. There are moments I’ve made peace with that truth and moments that I struggle. But I do know that having a creative outlet is one of my saving graces. As is humor. As is my husband, our fur babies, and my long distance bff. Finding a mental health therapist that specializes in chronic health and pain issues has been extremely helpful as well. (As have the right combo of drugs. And brownies. So many brownies.)
I know that chronic pain can be draining and isolating. It’s difficult for people who have never been in pain for an extended amount of time to relate. Some of my friendships have faded, but others have strengthened. Jobs and expectations have had to evolve. There has been a huge amount of change and uncertainty. If you’re going through something similar, just know that you’re not alone. You aren’t your job. You aren’t your injury or diagnosis. You are so much stronger than you know.
I share my story because I think it’s so important for us all to see examples of people in the middle of the hard stuff—people who don’t have everything figured out, who are still in pain or struggling and aren’t sure what tomorrow looks like. We’re used to seeing the “hollywood ending” with everything tied up in a neat little bow, or everyone’s highlight reels on social media, but I’m here to assure you that other people are going through hard stuff too. You are not alone. I’m glad you’re here. I love hearing your stories. I love hearing how our candles show up in your life—during the joyful times and the difficult ones. I love hearing from you even if it has nothing to do with candles. Feel free to send me a message HERE or on INSTAGRAM. I’ve created a space on Instagram where we can all go to laugh, marvel at how adorable Toby is, and above all, to connect. So pop over and say, “hello.” And if you’ve made it to the end of this, I think we’re going to be the best of friends. Let’s go eat some brownies.