Yakima Candlemaker Jen Trammel is Rooted in Community

Yakima Candlemaker Jen Trammel is Rooted in Community
Photo credit, Darian Kaia Photography

Jen Trammel is the founder and owner of Rooted In Collective. All ingredients used for Rooted In Collective candles are carefully chosen for their high quality and clean burning performance: a combination of organic coconut-soy-beeswax; plant-based and essential oil blends; raw wooden wicks that provide a soothing, soft crackle; phthalate-free; dye-free; paraffin-free; and practical and simple candle jars that are easily repurposed.

We asked her how she turned a disappointing crafting experience into a viable creative business, and how to nurture your creative side with self-care.

Rooted In Collective was born from a disappointing home candle making kit. Can you elaborate on how that experience transformed into a business?

Yes, what started out as curiosity in the craft store turned to disappointment in my kitchen with a less than quality candle. I was actually visiting craft stores on a regular basis trying to find something that would take care of the creative itch I felt brewing in me for years. I had been an elementary school teacher for a stint, a stay-at-home mom for many years, and as my kids were quickly becoming more independent I felt this deep need to "raise" something else, like maybe growing a business from the ground up.

That disappointing craft store candle experience quickly transformed into a challenge/obsession of figuring out how to make a really quality candle. What I lacked in formal business education and training I made up for in passion and genuine interest. I dove head first in the research of candle making and found that there was a very strong balance between the art of candle making and the science of candle making, which I loved.

I also did research on market trends, learning about the viability of the candle industry forecasted over the next decade or so. Everything I read pointed towards growth and expansion for the candle market, so I took that as my green-light-go.

Candles by Rooted In Collective. Photo credit, Darian Kaia Photography

Fast forward several months and many, many batches of flubs and failures later and I had fine-tuned my candle making into something I felt really proud of, with clean burning ingredients being paramount (no paraffin, no phthalates, no dyes, no additives, no synthetic color stabilizers) and a crackling, raw wooden wick setting my candles apart from the mass of typical candles on stores shelves.

I owe my sweet community in Yakima all my thanks...there's a strong entrepreneurial spirit in this town; "local love" and support is a real thing. It's the reason Rooted In has continued to grow and spread into communities around the PNW and beyond.

Candles are such a self-care item, which seems so important now. What do you do to balance nurturing your creativity with the more stressful sides of being a creative business owner?

That is such an important question. I tend to get laser focused on whatever I'm doing and starting a business from scratch has been no exception. For years now, my go-to stress relief has been exercise.

When I'm on a run I tend to get super creative and ideas become clearer for me; cardio helps me release built up tension; and yoga helps me settle down.

One new habit I've been adding to my bedtime routine is doing a "brain dump" every night. On my nightstand, I keep a notepad/pen and write down every random thought that comes to mind. Not really a journal but more of a list. That way I can close down my active mind and actually sleep. I'm finding it works and, bonus, my to-do list for the next day is already done.

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