Becoming World's Best Loved Scented Candles
International Candles - Hat Creek Candle Goes International!
We are proud to have our Hat Creek Candles represented in the chain of Maki stores in South Korea!
Hat Creek Candle Company was started in a Watertown kitchen in the fall of 1999. One of the founders, Kari Barnes, was introduced to the candle making process by her aunt and was inspired by the artistry of combining the various colors and fragrances to the hot wax. Not long after experimentations began, Kari knew that if the idea of Hat Creek Candle was to come to fruition, she would need a lot of help. She approached her long time friend and former college roommate, Wendy Sallam. At that time, Wendy was teaching elementary school and had been for 10 years. She truly loved the kids and the people she worked with but was becoming burnt out. In addition, she had just given birth to her first child a few months earlier and was hoping to find something that would give her additional freedom and flexibility.
Hat Creek Candle - Early Days...Pouring In the Basement!
Neither partner had a lot of extra money to spare, but Wendy offered to contribute $700 from her savings account, and Hat Creek Candle was born. The startup days were extremely challenging. The candles were mixed and hand- poured, two at a time from aluminum saucepans that were purchased at Wal-Mart. The wax was melted in an old Nesco Roaster and utensils were begged and borrowed from the partner's kitchens for wicking and stirring. The smell and the mess soon got to be too much for Kari's husband, Dan, and the company relocated to a basement in Oconomowoc that belonged to Kari's Dad. The neighbors delighted in trying to guess which scents would be next to come pouring out of the makeshift dryer-vent exhaust. Each was working at their "real" jobs during the day, and they would meet in the evenings to pour candles. Kari and Wendy had hoped to find extra free time to spend with their friends and family by starting their own business, but instead they found themselves neck deep in candle wax! One thing was certain, they knew that they would have to grow the business in order to see the light at the end of that tunnel.
Chicago Gift Show...
After a successful holiday open house, Kari and Wendy decided to try to broaden their customer base. Kari had some experience in marketing through wholesale gift shows, and the partners secured a booth at the Chicago Gift Show the following January. That first show produced $15,000 worth of orders, and they returned to Watertown to get to work. Keep in mind that the candles were still being poured two at a time! Shortly thereafter investments were made in larger melters and a larger warehouse space, an airplane hangar, in Sullivan.
Hat Creek Home, Our Home Party Division, is Born
A Hat Creek Home party.
Hat Creek Candle continued to offer its products primarily to the wholesale market until the fall of 2001. The economy had taken a noticeable downturn, and the orders from wholesale customers were diminishing. From the very beginning, customers had asked about the starting of a home party division, but the idea never quite took root. As Kari & Wendy faced the possibility of losing their dream and going out of business, they decided to give the party format a try. That decision proved to be a significant turning point in the business. The parties were started with 5 very enthusiastic and very loyal candle customers. They worked without a catalog or a manual to show them the ropes. Many things were learned along the way by listening closely to the consultants to see what was and wasn't working for them. Through sheer word of mouth the parties started coming in, and the Hat Creek Candle Company began to grow. Three years and over 100 consultants later, the home party division known as Hat Creek Home is still going strong. The largest concentration of consultants is currently in Hat Creek's home state of Wisconsin, but "Hat Creek Fever" has also spread to 9 other states including: Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Minnesota, Michigan, Arizona, Missouri and Georgia.
* In fall of 2010, in response to changing economic conditions, the Hat Creek home party plan is given a new face and becomes the new Hat Creek Affiliate program. See additional details below.
A New Candle Factory in Watertown
Kari & Wendy in Hat Creek Candle's New Warehouse and Retail Store
In August 2004 the company moved back to its birthplace in Watertown. The new facilities house Hat Creek's manufacturing facilities, administrative offices and a retail store.
For the first time in Hat Creek Candle's history, we were able to offer a public storefront. Our factory retail store is located at 311 S. 3rd Street in Watertown. The store is open seasonally from October - December and for special sale events throughout the year.
Food Network Filming Flameless Candle Process
In February of 2010, the Food Network sends a camera crew to Hat Creek to film our Cookie Melt process for their show "Unwrapped."
The camera crew kept us busy for over eight hours as they filmed the process from raw wax to finished cookie! The show is set to debut on October 11th, 2010 at 7:30pm on The Food Network.
Scented Candle Affiliate Program
The new Hat Creek Candle affiliate program will enable you to share your love of Hat Creek products with friends and family, and you'll earn 20-25% on everything you sell! The Hat Creek affiliate program has NO ACTIVITY REQUIREMENTS, and you can even tell your friends about the affiliate program and earn a percentage of the orders they generate on their storefronts!
UPDATE: As of December 31, 2014 we are no longer accepting new affiliates into the program.