Sweet Note Candles brings creativity to the forefront at new Bemidji location

Dec. 13—BEMIDJI — Miranda Slykhuis and William Hines bring complementary skills to their business, Sweet Note Candles, a three-year-old venture that opened a storefront at 142 Paul Bunyan Drive NW last month.

Slykhuis makes the candles, and Hines makes sure potential customers find out about them through marketing and design work.

"We make a good team," Hines said. "I get you with the eye, she gets you with the nose."

The couple met in Slykhuis' hometown of Las Vegas. Hines, who is originally from Chicago but moved to Bemidji with his family as a young boy, was visiting Vegas on a business trip.

"We started dating and traveling back and forth between Vegas and Bemidji," she said.

Hines added with a laugh, "We met on my first trip out there. So what happened in Vegas didn't stay in Vegas."

They moved to Bemidji about three years ago. Hines was self-employed, and at one point Slykhuis was working three jobs. The idea of owning a business had been percolating for some time.

"William asked me what I wanted to do," Slykhuis said. "Initially it's really just pulling the trigger. Eventually, I gave all my time to candle making. I finally just found my niche."

She learned the candle-making business by trial and error.

"I've always been very creative and the candles have allowed me to show my creativity," she said.

The couple started their business slowly about three years ago and spent the first year developing their products and marketing plans.

"We wanted to make sure we'd have a safe and effective product," Hines said. "When you have an open fire in somebody's home obviously you want to make sure you have a clean, well-made product."

Most of their early sales were online, but since that time they have been able to get their candles into stores, including Lueken's Village Foods in Bemidji, Bows and Britches in Bagley and Hanson Greenhouse and Floral in Shevlin. A big break came when they teamed with Gertens Garden Center in the Twin Cities. They're also not averse to cold-calling businesses in the Bemidji area.

"We took the online approach for 7-8 months," Slykhuis said, "but with in-person sales and doing market shows we've had a way better response."

In addition to regular store hours of 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, Sweet Note Candles offers a kids "wickshop" on Sunday afternoons and special candle-making events. Both are by reservation; call

(332) 999-6856

to learn more.