Even as a child, Dianna Gilmore was always drawn to good smells.
“I was a little kid, and I would pull the clothes out of the dryer and smell them,” she said. “I was always disappointed if my mom didn’t use dryer sheets. I could tell.”
As an adult, Gilmore won’t leave the house without spraying on a little perfume, usually Chanel Coco Mademoiselle or Calvin Klein Euphoria.
And in her Versailles home, there’s a candle or tart warmer in every room. It’s a museum of smells.
Three years ago, Gilmore followed her nose and decided to start a candle business. After lots of experimentation with soy and paraffin waxes, wicks and scents, she’s come up with potent-packed jar candles that burn for 100 hours.
Simply Heritage Candles sells jar candles, tarts and specialty candles poured into original handcrafted pottery wine goblets made by Pottery Rowe in Louisville.
“What sets my candles apart is that they’re all handmade,” she said. “They don’t sit on a shelf waiting for a home. I make them when you order them.”
Gilmore’s happy to make any scent and color combination.
“Say you love a scent but don’t like the color it’s associated with – not a problem,” she said. A blue watermelon candle is just as easy as red.
One customer who’s a chef recently requested a chipotle-scented candle, so Gilmore asked him for some of his spices and, voila, she cooked up a new one.
She sells her products online and in stores across the Bluegrass, including The Fix Computer Store in Frankfort. Gilmore said she also likes selling at art shows and expos in Frankfort where many of her customers live.
Her own favorites change with the seasons, but right now she’s enjoying Kentucky Bluegrass and Sunday Breakfast. Her newest scent, which she plans to reveal during a show at the Hartland Clubhouse at the end of the month, wafts through her own home and teases the nose with “something from spring.”
She also makes a candle she calls the Odor Eliminator. She’s been a veterinarian technician at a Midway clinic for 25 years and has smelled her share of bad scents.
Cats are the guiltiest odor makers, she says, though she has two herself.
“My Odor Eliminator can take any smell away,” she insists, adding that her Chocolate Chip Cookie candle is perfect for when you don’t have time to bake, Day at the Spa helps when you need a 5-minute break, and Banana Nut Bread makes any house a home.
Gilmore also likes a good challenge. While she was on a Lexington talk show, one of the anchors told her that her Lavender candle smells like grandma.
“Just don’t make a grandpa one,” the anchor said. “That would be stinky.”
So now, she’s marketing a scent called Santa’s Pipe – a scent inspired by grandpa.
Simply Heritage Candles has been the most fun venture of her life, she says, and she’s looking forward to see where it takes her.
Simply Heritage Candles