Lynne’s Candles and Inspirations brings a potpourri of products to Milton Avenue
BY KEVIN J. ROGERS
Lynne Shea’s journey to entrepreneurship was a winding one. The Colonie native began her professional career as a nurse after graduating from Albany Med, but found out relatively quickly the job wasn’t a good fit. “”I got burnt out real quick, did some private-duty nursing,” she said. “That wasn’t for me, too boring. So I became a police dispatcher for the Colonie Police.”
That career was cut short as well by the arrival of her children, first a daughter, then twin girls a year later. Shea chose to become a stay-at-home mom, spending the next 20 years “doing odd jobs” and taking care of her kids and home. “Then six years ago my husband and I started doing craft fairs,” Shea said.
The exposure to handmade crafts and unique items got the Sheas to thinking. “We just started fooling around with things,” Shea said. “After going to enough craft shows we wanted to be crafters.”
The Sheas came up with a line of custom made candles and air fresheners and began selling on the craft fair circuit, including shows as far away as Long Island and Connecticut and heavy attendance at Bolton Landing. But after years of being on the road “we got tired of lugging the stuff around,” Shea said. “And then we found this place,” the vacant storefront on Milton Avenue where Lynne’s Candles and Inspirations opened a little over two weeks ago.
“We didn’t want to do Saratoga Springs,” Shea said. “It’s very overpriced for what we feel it is. We thought Ballston Spa was large and upcoming, it was more affordable, people were nicer to deal with, and there were a lot of artistic shops. And every day there’s a new store popping up, or a new restaurant, and we wanted to be part of it. It’s a real community.”
The shop features handmade crafts by a variety of artisans. But the focus of the store are the Sheas’ own unique products.
The first of their creations, and still among the most successful, are Smelly Jellies, scented air fresheners in mason jars designed for small to midsized rooms. Shea is quick to point out their unique qualities. ”It’s not a wick, it’s just a gel and a polymer crystal, with dye, distilled water and fragrance,” she said. The Jellies emit fragrance as the water evaporates. When they dry out, adding a little more water can prolong their useful life for up to ten months, or in some cases even more than a year.
Distilled water isn’t necessary for replenishment, Shea said. The Sheas use distilled water because of the high mineral content in the water they get in their basement manufacturing facility at their home in Clifton Park.
Another hot item are the potpourri lights Shea’s husband designed. Also scented with oils, the mason jars are filled with whatever potpourri matches the oil, plus a small set of white Christmas lights. “These things fly,” Shea said, “especially around the holidays. My biggest seller is Hot Apple Pie. We ship them all over.”
The third big item in the Lynne’s Candles and Inspirations catalog are hand-poured soy candles. One variety comes in sugar shakers, the other in mason jars.
The overall theme of the shop is Americana. “We’re big into the antique thing, or primitive,” Shea said. “Prim, country, that’s where we’re at. Rustic.”
Shea emphasized all of her products are handmade and made in the USA. Shipping is available to anywhere in the country, something many of Shea’s customers have taken advantage of, she said. “After doing craft shows in Connecticut and Long Island, all the shows at Bolton Landing we have a following,” Shea said. “It’s been six years of crafting and craft shows.”
There is a flat $6.95 shipping and handling charge on all shipped orders.
Lynne’s Candles and Inspirations is located at 102 Milton Ave. in downtown Ballston Spa. Business hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on First Fridays. The shop is closed on Sunday and Monday. For information call 518-885-1972 or email Lynne@Lynnesinspirations.com, or visit them online at www.lynnesinspirations.com. A Facebook page is in development and should be available sometime in the next two weeks.