Light Hearted: A look inside Steel Magnolia Candle Company

During the pandemic, Jamie Strother Meares and her daughter took up candle making to pass the time. What began as a way to share homemade gifts with family evolved just a few months later into the Steel Magnolia Candle Company. Now, Meares is bringing that hands-on experience to Baton Rouge through her workshops at The Royal Standard.

“I had been looking for a spot to do this for over a year and a half,” Meares says. “This is where it felt really right.”

When she first started the business from the confines of her home kitchen, Meares was searching for a formula that would burn cleanly and not cause the headaches she had grown accustomed to from other brands. She settled on 100% soy wax, lead-free wicks and phthalate-free fragrance oils to produce the highest-quality burn while still delivering inviting scents through the air.

Since then, her instruments have gotten more high-tech, but her eye for quality has stayed the same. “You get to learn about the whole process,” she explains. “Until I started as an adult getting headaches, I never really thought, Hey, what’s going on in this candle? I just thought, Oh, this smells good. It was nice to learn about how to make it just so much cleaner and better.”

During her workshops in the candle kitchen, participants go through the same process that Meares does when making one of her Steel Magnolia candles: Choose a vessel, place and secure your wicks, mix and pour the wax, and allow your creation to set. Instead of choosing a premade formula, however, attendees are encouraged to get creative with their own custom scents—perhaps blending some of her existing top sellers, or branching out and creating a totally unique fragrance with the oils she has available.

The workshops are open to all ages (with parental guidance for younger participants, of course), and tickets are available for purchase through The Royal Standard’s website.

“I didn’t want to just do a class or a service,” Meares says. “I wanted to create an experience.”