• Decor

    The Candle Market Burns Brightly

    Candles do more than produce light; they are lit for celebration, ritual, fragrance and romance, all reasons why consumers are buying up votives, pillars and tapers in record numbers. In 2002, U.S. candle sales reached $2.3 billion, up by more than 10 percent from the past year, according to the American Candle Association.

    What does a naturals retailer need to know about candles? They seem harmless enough, a simple wax with a cloth wick. But throughout the years, candles have been made with not-so-healthy materials, including tallow and lead, which can fill a room with noxious fumes and scar walls with soot. Today, natural candle manufacturers are discovering ways to create bright- and long-burning candles with nontoxic materials.

    What’s In A Wax

    Humans have been searching for the ideal candle medium for about as long as they’ve been using fire. Early candles were simply tallow—animal fat—with a piece of cloth for a wick. Later innovations included spermaceti oil from whales, bayberry wax and beeswax. When paraffin was introduced in the late 19th century, it revolutionized the candle industry. The petroleum byproduct produces odorless, long-burning candles at a fraction of the cost of other materials.

    Whether or not paraffin is a healthy candle wax is a matter of debate. Some people question whether a gasoline byproduct and a nonrenewable resource should be on naturals shelves. Others say highly refined paraffin burns cleanly and, when combined with other healthy materials, is an affordable option for quality natural candles.

    “We use paraffin because we are a candle company and it’s a great wax,” says Dave Cacciamani, vice president of Morrisville, Vt.-based Way Out Wax. Its pillar candles contain food-grade, 100 percent biodegradable paraffin, beeswax, vegetable wax and hemp seed oil. “We’ve been researching for over six years now to get a good paraffin-free pillar and not had anything that’s come close to satisfactory for us in terms of appearance and burn quality,” he says.

    Paraffin-free pillar candles can even be dangerous, Cacciamani says. “Without paraffin, a pillar candle can be brittle and get fractures, increasing oxygen to the flame and causing a blowout where wax can go everywhere and be a fire hazard.”

    Many naturals companies make paraffin-free container candles because consistency is not an issue. Way Out’s container candles are primarily soy along with other vegetable waxes. The container candles come with lids for easy transport and are scented with pure essential oils.

    For some manufacturers, paraffin is not a wax option. “Paraffin is carcinogenic,” says Tami Bazies, owner of Portland, Ore.-based Greenspace Candles, which makes 100 percent paraffin-free container candles. “It creates a lot of petrocarbon soot, which is ugly and can damage furniture and wall paint.” She says the company does not offer pillar candles because soy wax doesn’t work well enough in the stand-alone form.

  • Home

    How to Find Good Deals on Rental Homes

    Navigating rental properties, it can be tricky. Most cities are subdivided, and some areas are pricier than others, and the sheer number of available rental properties is daunting. However, renters can find a good deal by following a few of these simple guidelines.

    Do some research on the different counties and townships. They will have different taxes; higher or lower costs of living; and varying types of rental properties. This will help you determine what area of the city will most likely be within your budget.

    How to Get a Good Deal on Homes

    Searching for properties that offer perks is one of the best ways to find good rental deals. Some complexes offer months of free rent or discounted maintenance fees for new renters. Other properties include the costs of water and trash service within the monthly rent, which can lead to substantial savings. If you’re a pet owner, search for properties that don’t require pet deposits.

    Another way renters can find good deals is to consider their living arrangements. Many homeowners offer rooms or suites to outside renters to help with their mortgages. If you’re not set on living alone, these arrangements are often quite affordable. Consider roommates. Renters can live far less expensively when they share the burden of monthly payments and bills.

    There are also organizations that serve to help renters find good deals; whether you’re seeking a large downtown condo or small apartment right outside of the city, there are resources you can turn to for help with your search.

    Think about consulting a property management company. Property management companies have a plethora of rental properties at their disposal, and if you’re not sure what you’re looking for, they can help. Have a budget in mind and let them know that you’re seeking a cost-controlled living arrangement; that way, neither you nor they waste time with properties outside of what you can afford.

    There are also apartment listing companies that work to consolidate available rental properties into one database. By working with one of these companies, you save yourself the time. They’ll make a list of appropriate and available properties; help you decide which ones fit your needs most exactly; and work with you on your budget to ensure you get in a place that you can afford. While challenging and often time-consuming, finding affordable rental properties is possible. Here are a few helpful tips. Keep a notebook and camera with you at all times. Make notes and take pictures when you pass potential properties. When you schedule a viewing, be sure to note the positives and negatives of each property.

    A real estate agent will usually have information about the best investment properties long before they hit the market. Also, identifying the right person to deal with at the bank is not a problem for the real estate agent. When such a real estate professional is involved, the banks are more willing to take your phone calls, and eventually your bids.

    Real estate professionals not only let customers maintain discretion while dealing with multi-million dollar transactions but also make everything more convenient for them. They have all the necessary details by maintaining a good network and healthy working relationship with clients, CPA’s, lawyers and executive assistants.

    Before hiring the services, you must have a look at the feedbacks and testimonials given by former clients. All this will help you choose the right agent and crack the right deal. For locating the suitable home for your convenience, internet facility can serve you well.