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(Even Keel Candle Co. Facebook)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Tribune News Service) — With a background in hazardous substance training, Savannah Kuntz is aware of the science behind candles and indoor air quality.

So when Kuntz, a Coast Guard lieutenant, started Even Keel Candle Co. in October 2020, she focused on sustainably sourced and ethically made hand-poured vegan soy candles.

“By making your own, I know exactly what goes into them and exactly what doesn’t,” Kuntz said.

Her candle-making dates back 10 years when she started it as a hobby. Friends and family members received candles as gifts and as her knowledge expanded, it kindled her interest in the clean candle industry.

During the pandemic, Kuntz, like many, spent more time in her Virginia Beach home and decided to create a side business.

Within the first three months of launching, Kuntz said she had shipped her products to every state in the U.S.

Although she maintains a busy schedule working full-time, Kuntz makes time on the weekends and off-duty for her role as a candlemaker.

She said social media tools such as Facebook Business Manager have enabled her to plan out her posts for weeks in advance.

Her collections include more than a dozen fragrances in winter, essentials, and apothecary scents. She also created a line of reed diffusers. The Even Keel website explains clean candles as “no unhealthy chemicals, additives, dyes, or funny business.”

Candles are sold in 8-ounce ($16), 14-ounce ($20), and 21-ounce ($30) jars. Customers can recycle candle jars for discounts on future purchases.

Her nod to the nautical term runs deep for Kuntz, who grew up in a small Ohio town on the South Shore of Lake Erie.

“My family runs a marina; I was always on the water and loved sailing,” she said.

By the age of 5, Kuntz donned a life jacket and soloed at the helm of an Opti sailboat.

A 2017 graduate of the Coast Guard Academy, Kuntz majored in management and is working on her Master of Business Administration through the American Military University.

As a response officer, she said her primary job is to serve as a federal on-scene coordinator representative leading a team that provides investigations for pollution response, proper cleanup, and environment restoration along the Virginia coastal zone.

“We get to do some pretty amazing missions every day,” Kuntz said.

Erin O’Brien, a real estate agent with Howard Hanna, burns Even Keel candles at home and at her office. She said she loves to support locally owned small businesses and loves that Even Keel is owned by a member of the military.

“I love knowing that they are all natural and the time that Savannah puts in to making sure they are clean and sustainable,” O’Brien said.

As for Kuntz, it’s all just another part of her mission.

“It’s a great stress reliever for me because you’re creating something,” she said. “This is the chance that I get to step back and say, ‘We’ve got smooth sailing days ahead.’”

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©2022 The Virginian-Pilot.


Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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