Business, Local News

Candle store Blue Pearl opens on Dixie Highway

Kim Rowe first started making and selling homemade, scented candles online with her 14-year-old adopted daughter Terriaanna Rowe in March 2020. In December, Rowe opened a brick-and-mortar store called Blue Pearl selling candles and wax melts at 17538 Dixie Highway in Homewood.

Kim Rowe, founder with her daughter of Blue Pearl Candles
in Homewood. (Nick Ulanowski/H-F Chronicle)

To make the candles, Rowe and her daughter heat soy wax, add coloring and scents, and pour it into molds. Most commercial brand candles are made from paraffin wax which is petroleum-based, Rowe said. Because the candles at Blue Pearl are made from soy, a renewable resource, they’re more natural and it’s less likely for someone to be allergic to them, she said.

Rowe said her daughter, a freshman at H-F High School, is extremely involved in the business. She knows the entire process of making the candles, and she’s helped sell the candles online and in front of SmallCakes of Homewood, Rowe said.

“I adopted her 4 years ago when she was 10. She had been tossed from foster home to foster home. I was her fifth home, her fifth mom,” said Rowe. “I went into foster care to help. I ended up adopting. And she changed my world.”

Rowe described adoption as “a wonderful thing.” She said, “two lives were saved.”

The candles have many different scents, including Fresh Linen and a scent meant to smell like men’s cologne.

“We’ve got about six different sizes altogether – for the beginner candle lover and the connoisseur candle lover,” said Rowe.

Rowe describes scented candles as something that can “engage the memories” and bring you back to a time and place from years ago.

“When you light a candle and you get that aroma, it really does mentally and emotionally take you to a whole ‘nother place,” Rowe said. “We are guided by our senses – our ears, our eyes, our nose. And candles are sensory. It’s really hard to just buy a candle online if you don’t know the smell.”

In addition to more conventional candles, Blue Pearl sells wax melts. This is a candle that doesn’t require lighting a flame. The wax is melted by a lightbulb that you can turn on, creating the same aromas that other Blue Pearl candles make. Wax melts aren’t significantly cheaper or more expensive than lighting regular candles, Rowe said.

The store is called Blue Pearl because blue is Rowe’s favorite color and her daughter’s nickname is Pearl. This nickname comes from the character Pearl Shay from the 1980s sitcom “227.”

Pearl Shay “used to always sit at the window watching everything that went on the neighborhood,” Rowe said. “My daughter is the same way. […] Who’s coming? Who’s going? Who has a new car? Who hasn’t taken out their trash? Is that a new dog? She sees everything.”

Rowe said she was inspired to make and sell candles after she was watching the documentary “She Did That.” According to the online database IMDb, “’She Did That’ offers an intimate peek inside the lives of four Black women who continuously raise the glass ceiling for future generations.”

Rowe said she watched “She Did That” at a friend’s apartment. One of the women featured in the documentary started a candle-selling business after losing her job.

“She didn’t want to work for anybody else. She didn’t want to take the chance of [having] her world flipped because someone fired her,” said Rowe. “I looked at my friend and I was like ‘I’m going to sell candles’. And right there in that apartment, Blue Pearl was born.”

Rowe currently works as a sales rep for her day job. She said there’s no way she can quit her job yet but that’s the plan if Blue Pearl goes well.

Rowe’s in her fifties and said she’s dreamed of owning her own business and being her own boss since she was a kid.

“It was either now or never,” said Rowe. “Either I do something now or I let it go and I die with it.”

Blue Pearl’s hours of operation are currently Wednesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. The store is closed on Monday and Tuesday.

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