NORWALK, Conn. -- As a single mother with three children under the age of 11, Norwalk’s Jenn Heatly struggled for years to balance the work-family-life dynamic.
But when she saw the opportunity in January to buy a candle-making business, restart her creative outlet and work at home, the decision was easy to make.
“It was difficult working away from home,’’ said Heatly, who took over ownership of Zena Moon in July. “With three kids and being a single mom, it was hard to navigate. I wanted to be home for them. I also come from a creative family and always wanted to do something creative. I feel good that I’m keeping that tradition alive with my family. It’s a good marriage of both of those things.”
Heatly worked for the past five years in Stamford for Client Attraction, a business school for entrepreneurs. In the past year, she thought long and hard about going into business for herself. “I’d be at work and think, ‘Wow, I should be doing something like this,''' she said.
Heatly came across Zena Moon when she received a candle as a gift several years ago. She started following the business and noticed last year that the owner, Carla Blazek, was selling it. Heatly hesitated last year because the timing wasn’t right. In January, she contacted Blazek and closed on the purchase swiftly.
She hired a moving company to transport the candle-making equipment from Blazek’s base in Spokane, Wash. Heatly now makes the candles out of a studio in her home.
Heatly’s candles have unique names, such as Happiness, Gratitude and Woof. The candles have different scents and colors, but also have inspirational quotations and gemstones. Blazek opened the business in 2000.
Heatly had the advantage of a built-in client base, but she’s hoping to grow the business beyond what Blazek had started.
“She wanted to keep it small,’’ Heatly said. “She had an opportunity to have the candles featured on Oprah Winfrey’s show and turned it down because she didn’t want to get too big. I am looking to get bigger. That’s going to be the biggest difference. I definitely want to grow."
She plans to create favors for parties, weddings and special events and is interested in doing fundraisers.
Heatly makes the candles by melting 100 pounds of wax at a time. She pours the wax in a mixer with the scent and color and cools the candle in a tank. She then tackles the finishing process. The process takes about four hours to make one candle. She has help from a high school student and her children, Landon, 11; Pace, 9; and Bell, 7.
“They help out with organizing and alphabetizing,’’ Heatly said.
Heatly sells online, as well as in shops and galleries. She also has booked a craft fair in December at The Italian Center in Stamford.
Heatly does not miss the morning drive south on Interstate 95 or the equally harrowing afternoon race home to get kids to their activities. “I don’t know how parents who get out at 5 o’clock do it,’’ she said.
Heatly tried her hand at other jobs, such as a real estate and a stationery store. Her new job suits her lifestyle and her creative side.
“I love the process of creating every day,’’ she said. “Pulling the candle out of the mold and seeing what it looks like. The other day I made a memory candle and put a name on it as a special order. It’s just so touching to be part of that.”
For details about Heatly’s business, visit its website at www.zenamoon.com .
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