J&M Wax Works is creating more than just candles. They’re creating timeless scents that are sure to help you unwind with every use, and eye-catching, decorative pieces to brighten up any room.
More importantly, company owners Joe and Marissa Brennan are producing local, all-natural, handmade products that are just as good for you as they look in your home or office – with the labels designed, hand-drawn and colored in-house.
“They’re safer to be around than traditional candles in stores,” said Marissa, proud of the company’s foundation in “simple ingredients.”
”They’re vegan so we don’t use any paraffins or phthalates. We try to keep them as pure [as possible] with no dyes…that was pretty much our game plan,” Joe Brennan explained.
That game plan started years earlier when the married couple was looking for a shared hobby to bond over.
“We wanted to do something hands-on together – especially to highlight Joe’s artwork. So we started burning down candles that we would get out and about, but didn’t like. We would try to [remake] them. Eventually we thought, “We should make our own. Why can’t we come up with a better product?” said Marissa.
“After recycling and remaking old candles in jars we weren’t happy with, we learned what worked and didn’t work with the candle-making process. This ultimately lead to us making our first scent, ‘Good Vibes,’ and the birth of the company,” Joe said.
J&M Wax Works was founded officially in March 2016, with their website launch just a few weeks later. They originally began producing candles out of their home in Endwell, but now utilize their Johnson City apartment as the company workspace.
Marissa calls it “the entrepreneurial sacrifice,” but explained how their set-up is an asset, rather than an obstacle.
“We have a separate nook in our kitchen where it all happens. We have a big kettle that holds about fifty-five pounds of wax…You could see [doing all the art and production] in-house as a challenge, but it’s also very lucky for us that we don’t have to go through a middleman to get those resources.”
Their small operation hasn’t inhibited the company from quickly exploding, producing roughly 150 to 300 candles per week during the fall and holiday season.
“If we have wholesale, or custom orders, we’ll have to make twice that – sometimes we’re making upwards of forty cases of candles in a few days. A lot of those will be all different scents and all different sizes…we usually do three or four scents a week,” said Joe.
The business’ all-natural, simple catalog has evolved to include more than candles, offering products in a variety of sizes and over fifty scents, for both self-care and home decor purposes.
“We try to do a mix of the self-care, bath-and-body type candles, as well as soaps and waxes…we also try to make [the jars] decorated so you can put them on your shelf and they’ll complement any space – especially the seasonal scents,” said Joe.
J&M Wax Works’ scents range from Good Vibes, to Coffee Shop, Brownie Batter and more for everyday, while the seasonal scents cover fall must-haves like Roasted Pumpkin Spice, Pumpkin Bread Pudding, and cozy winter aromas, like Winter Fir, Peppermint Bark and beyond.
These one-of-a-kind products reach a wide swath of consumers across local marketplaces and nationwide.
You can find J&M Wax Works candles and other products in ten local stores, including Tesorina Boutique and Tom’s Coffee, Cards & Gifts in Binghamton, Health Beat Natural Foods and The Chalk Market in Johnson City, as well as the Broome County Regional Farmers Market.
The Farmers Market is the business’ “best outlet,” according to Marissa, with the couple’s beautiful display, stationed in the same cozy corner every Saturday.
Another major outlet for the company has been the Taste of New York stores throughout the state.
“We’re in a handful of them – anywhere from Binghamton, to out in Kirkwood at the New York State Border Welcome Center, upstate towards Niagara Falls and downstate towards the city. We’re scattered all about,” Marissa began.
“We have our website as well and are shipping coast to coast…We kind of started based on that e-Commerce platform,” she went on.
“Pretty much anything out of state goes through the website,” Joe added.
While Marissa and Joe are thrilled to have their local products reach people nationwide, they are happy to have Broome County as their homebase. Joe is originally from Maine-Endwell and Marissa is a Johnson City native. Both left the area for a few years before returning home.
“This is a good place to start a business…I know so many people and there are so many resources,” Marissa said.
One of the biggest resources is being at the Broome County Regional Farmers Market, which is one of Marissa’s favorite parts of the business.
“Being able to be [there] and talk to people and get this experience…learn[ing] what people like, hav[ing] them like our stuff, have their favorite scent here, have them like the artwork – that is everything. It’s also being able to see people’s reactions too. We get a lot of really good feedback…We get a lot of regulars too,” she said.
For Joe, the best part is the independence the company affords him.
“I get to do this full-time. I got out of the typical forty-hour work week and that’s really all I ever wanted. I could [do] this for as long as need-be.”
What’s next for J&M Wax Works? Continued expansion.
“We want to add new scents. We want to add new products and we want to focus on doing more bridal showers, baby showers and other custom candle orders,” Joe said.
Marissa echoed those sentiments.
“[We want to] keep expanding, keep saying yes and keep trying new products. Hopefully soon, we’ll have more space so we can expand even more…We want to just keep doing more” #MadeinBroome #Broomeisgood #agoodlife.
J&M Wax Works is part of why #Broomeisgood and the #MadeinBroome program.