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Today is July 12, 2020

Candles from the most southern place on earth

By Steven Ward

Candles from the most southern place on earth

Ten years ago, Lea Margaret Hamilton was driving on Highway 82 near Itta Bena and heading to Greenville in the Mississippi Delta when she had an epiphany. The time was the harvest season for soybeans.

“I looked out and saw thousands of acres of soybeans. I thought, nobody is using soy wax to make candles.

We have this wonderful Mississippi resource,” Hamilton said recently from her Greenville home.

Following that 2010 drive, the idea for SoDelta Candle Company was born.

Hamilton said she researched everything she could to “figure it all out” and started making them and selling them at a consignment store in Leland. The first batch at the consignment store sold out in 15 minutes, Hamilton said.

According to SoDelta’s website, “The result is a line of southern-inspired, high quality, long-burning candles with fragrances that remind us of what we like the most – huntin’ camp, cotton fields, church, and mama’s sweet tea.

“Each SoDelta candle is lovingly hand-poured in our restored, turn of the century tenant house. We feature our candles in vessels of glass, locally-made pottery and repurposed containers. Only the highest grade of American grown soy wax, cotton wick and natural materials go into each candle,” according to the website. Hamilton wound up opening a retail studio that she operated out of for about 8 years. These days, Hamilton runs her business out of her home.

“From there we just got to be known through word of mouth. It was an organic thing,” Hamilton said.

Word of mouth hit California when an Academy Award-winning actress with Mississippi ties heard about the candles. Hamilton wouldn’t name the recent Oscar winner but said she and her mother haven been regular customers ever since.

Hamilton makes thousands of candles a month, she said. She makes them all, sometimes with a little preparation help from her husband and son.

Hamilton and her candle company have a strong presence on Facebook. Through the social media website, people from all over have reached out for masks Hamilton started making about the time COVID-19 struck the country hard.

“When I was a child, my grandmother and I always had projects. She taught me how to sew and we would make aprons,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton and five friends started making masks after seeing medical professionals on social media ask for them. Hamilton alone has made between 200 and 300 masks that she has donated to local hospitals and paramedics.

Hamilton said she is always creating something.

“If a day goes by and I don’t create something, it’s a day wasted,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton said her business is supported by her community and that concept is more important than ever today.

“It’s so important to support local, family-owned businesses. They are the ones who will donate to your schools and charities, who will support your soccer teams and who will donate gift certificates when you need them. The big box stores just won’t do that,” Hamilton said.

 

Visit www.sodelta.com for more information

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