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Pharmacist by day, candle maker by night

MONTEGO BAY, St James – What started out as a hobby to pass time has now illuminated into a burning passion for one Jamaican woman, who operates under the business name IllumiScents.

Pharmacist by day, candle maker by night, Romona Stephenson-Myrie, owner of IllumiScents, explained how she got started in the scented candle business.

“I first started in 2016 while on my pharmacy internship at the Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay. I was looking for a way to express myself creatively and one Pinterest search after another brought us here,” she said, flickering a bright smile.

“It wasn’t supposed to be a business but after seeing the potential, I decided to work on my craft and expand a little, that’s when I started to sell,” added the Montego Bay native.

Scented candles, she said, are making their rounds now, as they promote aromatherapy.

The different types of essential and fragrance oils used are carefully chosen to stimulate the senses and help individuals feel at ease, whenever the candle is lit.

“Candles generally are relaxing, they provide a peaceful atmosphere; the flicker of a flame in the dark is one of the most calming things ever. The scent that goes along with it can ease the stresses of any bad day so after a long day work, you can light a candle, take a bath and read a book,” she noted.

“Our Exhale & Unwind candle, from our classic collection, is made with spearmint and eucalyptus oils, which are believed to provide relief from anxiety and promotes calmness in any individual,” she pointed out.

Other scents included in the classic collection are Good Vibes Only! with white sage, lemon and lime essential oils and Bye Bye Skita, which incorporates citronella and lemongrass essential oils, both used for their calming properties and natural repellent factors.

Stephenson-Myrie also noted that the current novel coronavirus pandemic has influenced a lot of Jamaicans to connect with themselves, in ways which they have never had.

“Persons are now being forced to stay home more than ever before, and they have had to find ways to connect with themselves at home. Self-care is now a big thing and candles play a huge roll in that, so the current pandemic has seen a lot of people lighting their candles, as they attempt to remain positive and relaxed,” she argued.

While scented candle is the main product being offered at IllumiScents, Stephenson-Myrie also creates a wide range of pillows mists, room and air fresheners and wax melts, which she says are “a flame-less alternative to candles”.

In five years, she hopes to get her products in more retail outlets across the island and start exporting to different Caribbean countries.

“I want IllumiScents to be a household Jamaican brand name that is recognisable by everyone, wherever they go. I will continue to offer affordable and quality products that people enjoy, all while doing what I truly love,” she said.