Laura Simonds of Dixmont pours scented candle wax into concrete containers. The candles are sold through Your Day Just Started, a company she started during the COVID-19 pandemic alongside her husband, Christopher Hathaway. Credit: Courtesy of Laura Simonds and Christopher Hathaway
When Laura Simonds and Christopher Hathaway of Dixmont found themselves burning a slew of candles while working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, they realized it may be cheaper to make their own. So, they did, and turned it into a brand that’s on the cusp of its first birthday. “During the pandemic, we, along with the rest of the world, were very stressed and there were a lot of unknowns,” Hathaway said. The couple found lighting scented candles during the day helped make their home a more peaceful place in an otherwise uncertain and frightening time. That habit, which proved to be expensive, developed into an idea for a business centered on “making people comfortable in an uncomfortable time,” Hathaway said.
The couple began researching and developing their products in 2020, then officially launched Your Day Just Started in October 2021. The couple sells candles, wax melts, room sprays and more in their online store while maintaining full-time jobs. “We do everything including designing the labels, creating our website, and creating all our products,” Hathaway, 29, said. “Anything you can think of, we do it.” Laura Simonds and Christopher Hathaway of Dixmont created Your Day Just Started, a local business that sells candles, wax melts, room sprays and more. The couple design and create everything from the candle’s scents and wax to the concrete vessels that hold them. Credit: Courtesy of Laura Simonds and Christopher Hathaway In their free time, Simonds and Hathway create their products — and the concrete vessels that hold the candles — in a spare bedroom in their home, which they’ve transformed into a studio. Simonds said one of the most difficult, yet most important, steps was figuring out how to describe their scented products for customers who are almost exclusively online and can’t smell the candles for themselves before buying them. “We did our best to not only give people a description of the scents, but also what people might feel or envision when they smell them,” Simonds, 30, said. For example, the couple’s “breathe” candle smells largely of sea salt and fresh air. On their website, the couple wrote the product smells like “a warm summer day walking along the coast of Maine.”
While the couple’s products are available at Tiller and Rye in Brewer, they said they’d like to bring their products to more local retailers so more people can see, smell and interact with their candles. Eventually, Simonds said she’d like to bring the brand to more retailers state and nationwide. Hathaway said they put any profit they make into developing new and improved products to advance the brand. Should the business continue to grow, they said they’d also like to graduate from their home studio and find a new production site. “We want to grow to be as big as we can because I think we have a good mission behind our business,” Simonds said. “We want our customers to feel joy when they use our products and find comfort in the uncomfortable parts of life. If our products help them get there, that means a lot to us.”