After studying ballet for 17 years and earning degrees in political and social sciences from Loyola University, Lisa Jo Hienz decided to take her career in a new direction –– up in smoke.
“I returned from a month-long Katrina evacuation to find that the accounting firm I worked for had relocated out of state,” says Hienz, now the owner of Fleur de Lisa Candles. “Not wanting to go back to an 8-to-5 job and in an attempt to keep the boredom at bay, I started making soaps and bath salts and eventually worked my way up to making soy candles. After much encouragement from my husband and sister, I decided that I could sell the products that I had been giving away to friends and family. Fleur de Lisa Candles was born!”
Following modern trends, Hienz uses eco-friendly products to craft candles.
“I use soy wax because it is a renewable resource and it burns cleaner and longer than paraffin wax,” she says. “I also use at least 50 percent recycled products in my packaging.”
Glassware is one such product: “My friends and family will bring me their almost-empty containers, and I clean them out and reuse them. I also collect bottles and turn them into reed diffusers for presents.”
Loved ones do more than just donate bottles, however. “My friends and family are usually my biggest inspirations, as are most things that are New Orleans or Southern,” she says. Natural influences, such as a piece of driftwood she found on the beach in Daphne, Ala., permeate her work, a fact exemplified by three of her most popular scents –– Sweet Olive, Gardenia and Magnolia.
Hienz recalls one creation she’s particularly proud of, a candle set in an antique crystal soap dish that she made as a special request. “I had no idea how it was going to turn out because it was larger than any of my glassware,” she says. “I was terrified I’d break it, but [the client] loves it and wants me to keep refilling it.”
Currently, Hienz operates her business from a renovated garage in the home she shares with her husband, Robert, and her “spoiled-rotten cat,” Pyewacket.
Hienz’s jovial enthusiasm for gifts and loved ones is certainly in fashion at this time of year. Like the rest of America, Hienz has been preparing herself for the hectic holiday season and has a bevy of new products on deck to dazzle even
the most persnickety gift recipient.
“I am putting my candles in a friend’s online gift shop in the coming months,” she says of her future plans. “I have also recently revamped the glassware and the decorations I use. For Christmas, I will have candy cane votive glassware with various Christmas scents.”
For more information, go to fleurdelisacandles.com.