While Mother Nature was plotting her record-setting snowfall several months back, the owners of a local candle-making shop were knee-deep in developing new products that would undoubtedly transport users smack-dab into a summer afternoon. As the entrepreneurs sniffed fresh grass, mint, cucumber, cilantro, and other summery enticements in their “scent lab,” outdoors the snow piled up. The two knew, as sure as their candles burn brightly, that the scents they were about to introduce would be wildly popular among their retail and wholesale customers come spring and summer.
“With the horrible winter we had, we knew we had to create something special, like our new Fresh-Grass candle,” says Green Daffodil co-owner Siouxsan Miller. “It smells just like fresh-cut grass, without the allergy,” explains Miller’s business partner, Anne Simonetti.
The two also concocted a cucumber-mint variety that’s “fresh, light, clean, very summery,” says Miller, “like sitting on your back porch on a summer’s day.” Mango-cilantro, another seasonal introduction, “seems like it would be a weird combo, but the scents balance out,” Miller says — not unlike the way the owners complement one another. Simonetti has a marketing/advertising background, while Miller pursued photography and ceramics in college. For some 20 years, the two Ferndale residents have lived across the street from each other — and that led them to becoming fast friends and, eventually, business partners.
It all started with soaps. “I’d make scented bars at home and give them as gifts,” Miller recalls. “People told me I should sell them.” The rest is history. Eight years later, that home business has bloomed into Green Daffodil, now firmly planted on Livernois just off Nine Mile Road in Ferndale. Here, the two make and sell candles (stop in on a random afternoon and you’re likely to spot Simonetti pouring and scenting melted soy — she’s now handling more of the hands-on part of the business, while Miller has taken on the sales end of things). Customers will also find handmade soap, room mists, lotions, and lip balm, and part of the shop brims with vintage-themed décor, greeting cards, linens, and more (“we wanted to diversify a bit,” Miller says). Last year, Green Daffodil, which wholesales to more than 100 stores, sold more than 20,000 tea lights and 11,500 small and large candle tins. All of the handmade items are eco-friendly (made of U.S.A.-grown soy, with no dyes), thus the “Green” in the business’ name.
“We’re hand-pouring it — the hard way — for a reason,” Miller says. “We want it to be right. We’re idiots for being in this business, as the bath and body industry is huge, but we set ourselves apart from the norm.”
Other popular summer scents evocative of an old-time garden include vintage rose, which “smells like old-fashioned climbing roses,” Miller says; lilac; and sweet pea. Great for garden parties are the citronella candles, which help to keep mosquitoes at bay and are “made of 100-percent citronella oil,” Simonetti says. They also recently introduced a more high-end candle line: the cocktail-inspired “Top Shelf.”
“These candles are the essence of the cocktail and are not to be taken literal, more like in the spirit of spirits,” Miller says with a laugh. Various scents include Rum & Coke (with vanilla, lime, and other spices), Mimosa, Whisky Sour, and Mojito. The duo worked with a local chemist to create the scents, which feature high-end essential oils — thus the name, Top Shelf. “It’s very Mad Men,” Miller says. The smaller ones have a screw top, “like opening your drink,” Simonetti adds, while the larger candle is in a lowball tumbler, “so you can use it as a drinking glass when it’s done burning.”
While browsing this new line, it’s hard to miss the bright pops of yellow growing just outside the window. Every spring, 200-plus daffodils pop their sunny heads out of the soil; come summer, herbs like sage and lavender sprout to life.
“We’re creating an honest product,” Simonetti says, “that’s good for you.” Adds Miller: “It’s an everyday luxury.”
Green Daffodil is at 624 Livernois, 248-547-4172. Candles come in tea lights, two tin sizes, and two glass sizes, all recyclable or reusable. Also, find products at various gift shops. Of special note: Top Shelf sells at the Detroit Historical Museum’s gift shop, tying in with the museum’s Out on the Town: Drinking and Dining in Detroit Since 1920 exhibit (detroithistorical.org), which runs through January 2015. The shop also customizes candles/labels for special events.