Local candlemaker turns hobby into business

Emma Remer
Uptown resident Emma Remer finds secondhand containers for all of her hand-poured candles. She recently began selling her wares at the Linden Hills Farmers Market. Photos by Andrew Hazzard

A couple of winters ago, Emma Remer found herself short on cash as the holiday season approached, so she got creative.

That year, her friends and family received homemade candles, and they gave Remer some insightful feedback: These are pretty good.

Remer, who lives in Uptown, took that advice to heart and launched her own brand, Burn Boss. Now she sells the candles on consignment to Carousel and Folk in Standish and Polka Dot in St. Paul. In July, she started selling her wares at the Linden Hills Farmers Market.

Burn Boss specializes in soy and coconut wax candles. Those materials have a lower melting point than kerosene and burn cleaner, she said. Both have distinct fragrances as well. But what makes Burn Boss unique is the containers, all of which are reused vessels Remer tracks down at flea markets and antique shops all over the metro.

Burn Boss candles
Remer scours antique shops and farmers markets to find unique vessels for her candles.

“That’s my favorite part of it,” she said.

She hand-pours all the candles in her Uptown kitchen. She makes a batch of wax over the stove, which is usually good for 2–5 candles, depending on the container size. It takes about an hour for the wax to set, depending on the temperature in her non-air-conditioned apartment. Somehow, her cat has managed to not get hurt.

“My roommates are very forgiving,” Remer said.

In December 2018, Remer went all-in on Burn Boss and left her job in the tech industry to pursue candlemaking full time. She’s trying to find more consignment work and get into more local markets. She said she doesn’t regret leaving her desk job.

“I really love working with my hands,” Remer said.