Danielle Polizzano launched Waxing & Waning two years ago when she was worried about job security during the pandemic. Now the Great Kills resident has a booming candle business, supplying made-to-order products for parties, showers and more. (Photo courtesy of Danielle Polizzano)(Photo courtesy of Danielle Pol
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Danielle Polizzano has always been mesmerized by the scent, crackle and soft illumination that a candle can provide. Warm and comforting, capable of encapsulating Christmas, fresh linen, or a rainstorm on a summer’s day – her collection of pillars, votives, tea lights and jars have always made her house feel cozy and inviting. So, when the pandemic hit and every part of her life was a little uncertain, she quietly began making candles in her Great Kills home.
“I have always loved making things — cooking, and crafting – so at the beginning of the pandemic, I bought a candle-making kit to keep busy. There was a lot of difficult adjustments at the time. My work life changed, the entire company was remote, and we had to cut back on hours. And, of course, the threat of COVID was extremely worrisome. But making these candles brought me peace.”
A multiple wick dough bowl candle is wrapped in a buffalo plaid ribbon. (Photo courtesy of Danielle Polizzano)(Photo courtesy of Danielle Pol
So Polizzano, a legal secretary for more than 30 years, began spending her downtime blending wax, testing fragrance oils and experimenting with various types of wicks. Her hand-crafted products became better with every single pour. She gradually began to realize that her hobby could be something more.
“This started as something my daughter and I did together to relax and unwind,” Polizzano said. “We gave the candles out as gifts to friends and family. They were such a big hit – people started telling us that we needed to launch a business.”
Polizzano formed an LLC and researched all the nuances of small business ownership. She created labels and boxes, bought a cache of packaging products and tools. Waxing & Waning Candle Co. was born.
Danielle Polizzano designs, pours and wraps all of the candles in her Great Kills home. (Photo courtesy of Danielle Polizzano)(Photo courtesy of Danielle Pol
“This could absolutely be a full-time endeavor,” Polizzano said, detailing the amount of orders she now handles, creating personalized candles for parties, weddings and other celebrations. “But it will always be my therapy. I love candles, but I think I love making them even more.”
Constantly learning and experimenting with waxes, oils and wicks, Polizzano said she has really come to understand the science of a candle over the past two years.
“There’s a lot of trial and error,” she said. “I use soy wax and have found that some scents don’t throw well in soy. So, you adjust. I’ve also had to learn about the positive and negative effects of different wicks. If you’re candle is burning too fast, you have to downsize the wick. It takes time. But I put in the work to deliver a superior product.”
Jar candles can be customized or personalized according to the customer's desires. (Photo courtesy of Danielle Polizzano)(Photo courtesy of Danielle Pol
Explaining the difference between a candle’s hot throw (how it smells when it’s burning) and cold throw (how it smells in the jar), Polizzano says she continually burns her candles throughout the day to make sure they’re producing the best possible scent.
“They have to smell good and not produce too much soot,” she said. “Did you ever have a stain of soot on your bathroom ceiling after burning a candle? That’s not supposed to happen.”
Polizzano recently began making her own cement containers and has also launched a line of perfumes and room sprays.
A new line of perfumes and room sprays were just added to the Waxing & Waning Co.'s product offerings. (Photo courtesy of Danielle Polizzano)(Photo courtesy of Danielle Pol
“The perfumes and room sprays have been extremely popular at my pop-up shops,” she said, detailing her presence at several local events. “I also started making bath bombs and shower steamers and those have been a big hit too.”
She mainly markets her products on her website and displays plenty of pics and video tutorials on Instagram.
“When I launched the Instagram, I immediately received an order for 50 custom candles,” she said. “I do participate in local events and school fairs, but the majority of my orders are placed online. I’ve shipped to so many different states – it’s amazing how much this small little endeavor has grown.”
Polizzano has created several limited-edition candle collections for local charities, donating all of the proceeds to groups like the Trevor Project and Victory 4 the Voiceless. Her ultimate goal for the business? To create a presence in several Staten Island stores.
Waxing & Waning bath bombs are also available for purchase. (Photo courtesy of Danielle Polizzano)(Photo courtesy of Danielle Pol
“I think my candles would do well in a spa or clothing store,” she concluded. “I hope to start selling in a retail atmosphere at some point, but for now I’m content with creating party favors and making these beautiful custom designs. This has been a great learning process and I am not done. I can’t wait to see what Waxing & Waning will grow to become.”
Some of Danielle Polizzano's favorite scents include lemon, lavender and verbena. (Photo courtesy of Danielle Polizzano)(Photo courtesy of Danielle Pol
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