Mix your own unique scented candles in the new Birmingham business


When looking for a place to open her new candle making business, Marlene Mansour knew it had to be in a downtown setting.

She and her daughter, Elise Mansour, started looking for spaces and fell in love with Birmingham city center. They signed a lease earlier this year and began preparing the space at 172 N. Old Woodward. Several months later, Urban Wick Candle Bar is a reality for those looking to create customizable candles.

“We love Birmingham. We are here all the time,” said Marlene Mansour. “It was like being at home and we wanted to bring something super cool to this community.”

The concept is simple: guests arrive and choose from over 90 scents, determining how strong they want each scent to be in the candle. There is a wide variety to choose from: select traditional candle scents like spicy cinnamon, lavender, and sea breeze, or go for a more unusual scent like cannabis, bacon, or wasabi.

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Mixing of scents is encouraged to help create a unique scent. Staff tried several combinations and found winners.

“I did a few different combinations, but did one last week,” said Elise Mansour. “It was wormwood, lime and hops.”

Once the scents are selected, guests head to the bar and work with an employee to create the right scent for their candle. After combining the scent oils to the desired ratio, the candle is poured and rests to harden. Guests are then encouraged to return later to collect their candle.

The duo, who live in Clarkston, signed a lease for the space – formerly occupied by Refresh Bath and Body – in February and planned to renovate it before the pandemic shut down business and construction. It now sports a refreshed look, with plenty of bar space for visitors to sit down and create the perfect scent blend.

It was an idea the Mansours got while visiting a similar business in Columbus, Ohio. After trying this experiment, Marlene Mansour knew she had to take him to the Detroit subway. After talking to the owner of the store there, she started working with them to help bring the concept north.

“I fell in love with the whole idea,” she said. “They give you the concept and you have to reinvent your branding.”

The store opened on Thursday and has a big opening sale all weekend through Sunday. Part of these celebrations will include a prize wheel for guests to spin, along with unique jars of candles available just for the opening.

Cleanliness a priority

In a world where COVID-19 continues to be at the forefront, the mother / daughter team has several procedures in place to keep the space as safe as possible. From constant wiping down counters, doorknobs and candle samples to constant hand washing and wearing masks, both seek to keep customers safe.

Marlene Mansour said they will also use a space nebulizer once a week to help remove unwanted germs and viruses that may be present.

“It gets all the surfaces and it gets into the HVAC system,” she said. “Just one more level of protection and try to keep things as sanitary as possible.”

Even their product line reflects the new reality the world finds itself in: in addition to candles and reed diffusers, customers can also create a scented hand sanitizer to take home.

It is a product, said Marlene Mansour, which was added to the line after the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic.

Space is available first come, first served for those seeking the experience, and space is available for special events.

The boutique is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Tuesday to Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. More information, including how to reserve space for a special event, can be found at urbanwickcandlebar.com.

Contact reporter David Veselenak at [email protected] or 734-678-6728. Follow him on twitter @davidveselenak.

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