Karen Power of Soybean Essentials shows off her pure scented soy candles to Tara Schnell during the Ponoka Farmer’s Market

Burning the midnight soy

Ponoka’s Karen Power believes in the notion that this ‘little bean’ can provide ‘big ideas’

By Dale Cory

“It’s a bean that comes from the earth. It’s 100 per cent natural.”

Entrepreneur Karen Power has recently learned soybeans can mean many different things to people.

When processed, soybeans become a staple food in the diet of a vegetarian. But mention tofu to most people, and they cringe at the thought of eating this white, bland substance.

However, when processed for uses other than food, the possibilities are endless.

So, Power has taken the use of this bean to the extreme, starting a company called SoyBean Essentials.

Having grown tired of working with paraffin wax, Power began researching other ways of candle making, and came up with an alternative use to this powerful bean.

Soy candles are made from soy wax, which is a processed form of soybean oil.

It is typically softer than paraffin wax and possesses a lower melting temperature in most combinations.

Some soy candles are made up of a blend of different waxes, including beeswax, paraffin, or palm wax.

“Soy wax is a vegetable wax, and when it burns, it’s not black. Paraffin gives off black fumes,” explained Power, who has had her SoyBean Essentials display at the Ponoka Farmers’ Market this season. “It’s a moisturizer too!”

The soybeans Power uses to make her candles come in a flake form. After melting it to the appropriate temperature, she adds in dyes and scents. After it cools down, she pours the mixture into a candle.

“I like colours, and try to pour themes for every season,” explains Power. “Right now I’m trying to focus on harvest and fall colours. Christmas will be holiday colours. The beauty of this is that anything is possible. If you are really creative, this is great to get into. You can pick any jar, you can pick any colour, and you can pick any scent.”

Power even offers naming rights to her clients. Find a scent you like, take the idea to Power, and she will pour a candle for you.

“There’s one called hillbilly homebrew,” offers up Power. “I make it so everybody is part of it. You can always mix and match. The sky is the limit. You can put pine together with lavender, and see what you come up with. One particular candle I have is called a banana split, and includes chocolate, banana and strawberry.”

Power figures she has about 300 soy candle scents, and is developing new varieties all the time. She even offers her clients the option of choosing their own jar or candle holder.

With the Ponoka Farmers’ Market coming to a close Sept. 29 for another season, Power plans to sell her soy candles door-to-door to businesses, and is even exploring the idea of leasing space in downtown Ponoka.

With the idea of growing her business, Power has brought in Lauralee Wygiera to help, and even has her son Josef involved in the company.

For more information on soy candles, contact Karen Power at SoyBean Essentials at 403-783-9377, or e-mail her at: candle.cafe@live.com

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