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Foton Candle’s design is a unique spin on candles since they primarily sell the wax and the wick but not the holder. The pearled wax design allows the melted wax to be discarded and replaced with fresh wax. This allows customers to reuse holders, keep their candles fresh and burning cleanly, and even improve fire safety.
Foton Candle is a safer, more sustainable candle. They are made of pearled sustainably sourced plant-based wax. They are also made with safety in mind, one of the features that makes Foton special is that they self-extinguish when left burning too long or tipped over.
Heidi and her sister knew that one day they wanted to start a business together. Their idea was to create something they were both interested in, use and would solve a real problem. Heidi noticed paraffin wax, “petroleum based candle was the most common wax used for candles today” which does not burn cleanly. With her background as a chemist she immediately began brainstorming opportunities to create repurposable candles. They began researching different waxes and materials to find environmentally friendly alternatives to paraffin based wax. Heidi said “within 6 months we had a product that not only was natural but we also chose all the packaging very carefully to be as user friendly as possible.” They were able to create a plastic free candle that leaves no leftovers.
Foton was originally created by Heidi and her sister Sirli, and they brought on their husbands to help give advice. Heidi’s sister-in-law helped with the design aspect and marketing. Foton is a “fully family creation” and the advice from their family members that “helped mold the product into what it is today.”
Foton Candles are created with a purpose. It sets out to solve several problems with the current candles on the market. One is related to sustainability, this new concept allows customers to “repurpose old containers rather than creating new waste that ends up in landfills” and plant-based wax is in all their candles. Another problem solved is that Foton Candles “self-extinguish when they are accidentally left on,” adding an additional level of safety not found in other candle companies.
Ever since Heidi and her sister, Sirli were young, they wanted to start and run a business together and have been looking for ideas that they would both be interested in, use themselves, but also would solve a real problem. Sirli found little crafting candle beads and ordered some to use with her kids as a fun kind of crafting activity. When she received them, they came in a small plastic bag but without a wick, which she had to figure out. She then poured the candle beads into the glass it came with and made a candle out of it. Sirli told Heidi about the candle beads and Heidi took a look at it and noticed a black smoke burning off and after some research, she found out it was paraffin wax, petroleum based; the most common wax used for candles today, causing it to burn uncleanly.
As a chemist, Heidi immediately started thinking about the candle beads and trying to figure out a better way to do it. Heidi and her sister saw opportunities to improve the basic concept of candle beads and turn it into a product that solves some real problems.
Heidi and her sister wanted to create a candle that solved problems such as container repurposing, extended average burn time, clean candle appearance/natural candle ingredients, and self-extinguishable. They wanted to mitigate container waste and allow users to repurpose containers that would become a candle holder. Foton’s pearled candles are made from plant-based wax, allowing the wax to burn cleanly. Since the product comes with thirty wicks, users can replace them when needed so that they can enjoy a clean candle appearance for any event. Lastly, Foton candles are self-extinguishable (when used correctly) by keeping the wick away from the edge and bottom of the container so that once the flame reaches the end of the wick, it will stop burning. Heidi mentioned that they “were talking to a firefighter and explaining this to them and their eyes got so big and they said “Hey you guys are really saving lives with this product; it's cool and all but this is actually solving real problems that are going to help save people’s lives.”
The Foton Candle innovation impacted the business. Businesses reacted immediately. Foton Candle revived and repurposed candles. This was a new idea, and people wanted to test it. Also, the candles' fire safety added an extra layer of protection against unintentional fires. The demand for the product by businesses like wedding planners was high, and they wanted candles that could be reused and refilled.
On the societal and environmental side, the impact was also significant. One of the core goals of Foton Candle was to reduce the amount of waste ending up in landfills. By encouraging people to repurpose their containers, the amount of waste created can be significantly decreased. Additionally, the self-extinguishing feature of the candle has been particularly beneficial for fire safety, as it can reduce the risk of an accidental fire.
Foton Candle's environmental impact is twofold. First, it repurposes containers to reduce landfill waste. Reusing old containers instead of buying new ones reduces waste. Second, burning Foton Candles instead of paraffin-based candles reduces black smoke. This reduces air pollution from paraffin-based candles, which is harmful to health and the Environment.
These short-term implications upon launching the company include explaining the problem and how the product might address it. Long-term implications include the quantity of glass containers individuals reuse instead of throwing away. The company is also developing systems to monitor product impact over time.
The interviewee cited Foton Candle's favorable effects on the environment, society, and business. The respondent said the product helps the environment by reusing containers and reducing landfill waste. All product packaging is recyclable and biodegradable, they said. Regarding societal influence, the respondent remarked "education is extremely crucial with this approach.”
Due to this innovation creating a much better product as a whole to sell to consumers, the Foton Candle benefits the business as a better alternative to regular candles will definitely drive sales up. It has already been mentioned that demand for a sustainable, reusable candle was very high from wedding planners. This demand will only increase as the general public looks to transition to a more sustainable lifestyle. The Foton Candle will also be more cost effective for the average consumer as they are able to reuse the holders without having to buy new ones. This allows it to be a much more financially sustainable option for customers compared to their competition. While also being more cost effective than their competition, they also offer a much safer aspect to their candles as they are also self extinguishing when left lit for too long or tipped over. When making a decision on what candles to purchase, a major factor for many potential customers is safety, giving Foton Candles another major edge over their competitors, thus driving up their demand and profit for the business.
Foton’s one of a kind design has brought numerous benefits to society and the environment. Notably, Heidi highlighted that a lot of areas in the United States do not have access to recycling plants that take glass waste, common for candle holders, which causes them to go to the landfill. When this system is coupled with a throw away consumer mindset it creates a lot of waste. Foton’s design allows customers to repurpose cases and other household items to increase their usable life and limit what goes into the landfill. Further, Foton’s design also is self-extinguishing meaning that if the candles falls or runs out of wax the flame will die. Numerous firefighters have praised Foton’s design in preventing the common occurrence of candle fires. In conclusion, Foton’s innovation has opened the door for consumer education and waste reduction by preventing fires and limiting throw away culture.
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Heidi Stojanovic, Founder
Foton Candle is a family-owned pearled candle manufacturer founded by Heidi Stojanovic and her sister Sirli Luht in Arkansas over two years ago. What started as a school art project quickly turned into a growing candle business sparked by Heidi’s background as a chemist. Heidi began studying current candles on the market and noticed a few flaws: they didn’t burn cleanly, had a tendency to tunnel, and created a lot of waste. This sparked Foton Candle’s mission to make a candle that was environmentally friendly, burned cleanly, and was reusable.