Scent Snob. I don't mean the name to offend. It isn't in relation to an attitude, but rather, a physiological response. I'm a highly sensitive person. Sun, wind and light all affect me. My family would be the first to scream that I am even emotionally sensitive. Until my 40's I lived and unscented life. Hairspray, moisturizers and cleaning products easily give me headaches. I can't walk into a business that uses artificial fragrance in the form of a plug-in, diffuser or candle - especially artificial vanilla. It instantly makes my stomach turn and my head tighten. It's my body's natural reaction without my personal influence.

When we first started our business in 2005 and began collecting samples and products from vendors I started to panic. A set of sample candles we received from a vendor made me ill. They were 100% soy wax candles from a very reputable brand in tightly sealed travel tins. Even from the other side of the house the fragrance was so overwhelming to me. I put the candles in a plastic bag and twisted it closed. Still ill. I put them in another bag and put the bag in the basement. Still ill. The bag made its way out to the garage and still, I was ill. They landed in the trash and I canceled my order before it arrived.

I panicked some more. Were we about to open a store I couldn't work in? The inspiration for our business was the many traditional style candle stores you find in New England where we are from. Fragrance wasn't the big feature. Beautiful tapers and hand crafted pillars filled those shops. It wasn't until we discussed our business "plan" with a friend that our focus took a very different turn. She started researching all the luxury brands and when I saw the beautiful packaging and decadent fragrances, I was instantly hooked on the glamour. Instead of searching for "candles" we were building a business based on fine home fragrance and seeking all the coveted lines - Slatkin & Co, Tocca, Voluspa, Votivo…. We were well on our way and it was too late to turn back. Besides, I couldn’t bear to return all the beautiful goodies we accumulated - I was smitten with all my new treasures even then.

We began to scrutinize each line, only brining in those that had a unique offering and a strong reputation. Anything that caused any physical upset was banned, even if it was high in demand. If a candle line came into the store that didn't blend harmoniously with the other fragrances, it was weaned out steadfast. Since fragrance wasn't our passion in the beginning, we focused on burn quality and product performance, ensuring we selected candles and diffusers that impressed. The result is a finely selected collection of the most exquisite products available in luxury home fragrance.

Over the years I’ve learned to not only embrace home fragrance but to enjoy it and even become addicted to it. I’ve realized that while I am still highly sensitive to scent, there are a plethora of luxury fragrances I can indulge in without worry. Fragrance brings life and character to a space. It gives a room a personality, ambiance and welcome invitation. It’s a beautifully fragrant world out there and we welcome you to join us on our journey.

David & Susan Adams own Candles Off Main in Annapolis, Maryland.
Candles Off Main features fine home fragrance lines including Voluspa, Votivo, Nest Fragrance, Tocca, Rigaud, Seda France, K. Hall, Anthousa, Antica Farmacista, DayNa Decker, Jonathan Adler, Paddywax, Trapp, Belle Fleur, Vie Luxe, Lafco, Archipelago Botanicals and more.