Free-For-All Friday: Book Scents with Nalana Lillie

 Nalana Lillie of Book Scents

Nalana Lillie of Book Scents

As you read your favorite book, you're using your sense of sight. Your fingers brush the pages of the print book or slide across the screen of your e-reader as you use you're sense of touch. If you listen to audio books, you're utilizing your sense of hearing. And now, thanks to today's feature, you can use your sense of smell, too.

When I discovered Nalana Lillie's Book Scents, I did a happy dance. Seriously, I did! She creates candles, and then bumps it up a notch by developing scents inspired by books and their characters. So now, I can read Diana Gabaldon's, "Outlander" while enjoying the "musk, pine, and woodsmoke" scent of the Jamie Fraser candle. Can I say yum? Read on!

What is your name?

Nalana Lillie and I am the owner of Book Scents.

Please describe your business.

Book Scents creates highly scented hand-poured candles inspired by your favorite books and characters. Book Scents also offers Limited Edition and Seasonal scents. Our offerings include 10 ounce container candles, 6 ounce wax tarts, & sample packs. We will work with customers and authors to commission special fragrances for books, characters or special events.

How and why did you open your Etsy shop, Book Scents? Do you do this full-time?

The story about how Book Scents came to be is one of change and friendship. Quite a few years ago a dear friend ran a company called Tartan Candle Company. Her candles were primarily focused on Outlander inspired candles. Over time, as with many creative minds, she decided to focus her efforts elsewhere and now runs a very successful jewelry company, Spirit Horse Designs. As a military spouse, I had recently quit my job and relocated with my family to Central Pennsylvania. One day I was sharing my concerns about starting over again with my friend, Angela, and she asked me if I’d like to take on her candle company and make it my own. I jumped at the chance and Book Scents was born! I do run my Etsy shop as a full-time business. It’s also a family business in which I enlist the help of my husband and two sons. They pitch in to help package boxes, put stickers on samples and sometimes they are even involved in the fragrance creation process. My hope is to pass along a strong work ethic and creativity to both my boys.

Your hand-poured candles recently caught the attention of Diana Gabaldon and were featured in a contest on her Facebook page. What effect has this had on your business and your life?

Having my candles featured on Diana Gabaldon’s Facebook page was an honor. As someone who is a fan of her work, I admit that I was giddy with excitement. The day that the candles showed up on her page, the interest and support was overwhelming. The “Likes” on my Facebook page skyrocketed and my orders went through the roof. Suddenly, I was “on the radar” with a huge fan base. Since the initial surge, my orders have shown a steady increase and I think that they will remain strong thanks to this gift that Diana and her fans have given me.

How do you select the books that inspire your candles?

For the most part, I select books that are special to me. However, as a business person I also have to think about books that are popular or have big followings. It’s a bonus for me when I love a book or book series and it’s also got a large fan base or going to be made into a movie. Additionally, my customers make lots of recommendations – some even commission candles for their favorite book or character. Overall, my goal when selecting a book is that it inspires me to create. I want the characters, setting or story line to stimulate the creative process.

Which do you enjoy the most.....reading or candle making and why?

Wow, this is a tough question to answer! I love reading; it’s truly my escape from life as well as a tool to expand my mind and spirit. I really enjoy candle making, especially when it’s an expression of a book I love. I also love making holiday candles or just playing with fragrances to invent a new candle for my collection. But if I had to pick between the two – I’d pick reading. I’ve been an avid reader since I was young and I can’t imagine my life without it.

Tell us about your life as a military spouse.

I have been a military spouse for fifteen years this month. My husband is a U.S. Marine and one of their favorite phrases is improvise, adapt and overcome. Those same words apply to military spouses (of any branch of service). Whether a relocation, deployment, or promotion - military spouses face many challenges in keeping the family whole, creating consistency and turning challenges into opportunities. Even in the face of some of the most difficult challenges, I do everything in my power to remember that they are an opportunity for growth. I have had to start over many times in the past fifteen years, but it’s been a true blessing to have met so many wonderful people along the way and to see what I am really made of as a person, wife and mother.

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?

Don’t be afraid – of anything! It’s so easy to let fear take away your momentum and creativity. Just go for it! Don’t be afraid to ask for help, or market yourself, or try something new. You have to be able to push yourself past the nerves and often you will be surprised at the success of your ideas. I was SO afraid to take on Book Scents. I got in my head – “What if I fail?” What if I run out of ideas?” Once I got into the details of opening an Etsy store and putting together graphics and creating a business, my fear lessened and I had the courage to go live with my business. And here I am six months later being interviewed and my products are being featured by an international bestselling author. I never would have guessed I’d be here and am so thankful I took the chance of opening Book Scents.

What are 3 things most people don't know about you?

Well a few people know these things, but not many. 1. I am an office supply junkie. Some people collect shoes or purses or scarves. Me? I get excited about planners, fancy ink pens and post it notes. 2. When I was a kid, I wanted to be the lead singer in a rock band. I was sure that if I spent hours singing “Hit Me with Your Best Shot”, by Pat Benatar into my mirror I’d make it big. 3. I have a hard time doing the bare minimum. I’m always working to do my best or improve. I never want to be seen as a person who didn’t give my all to whatever it is I put my mind to.

Are you working on any new projects this year?

In regards to Book Scents, I have quite a few goals for this year. I’d like to continue to add scents inspired by Children’s Books. I plan to add some new book inspired fragrances as well. My customers are asking for Game of Thrones, Jane Austen, Harry Potter and many more inspired candles, and I’d like to give them what they want.  I’m also working on some fun summer inspired scents that will be sold in sets. I am still working out the details on several other ideas, but I’m excited for all this year has to bring.

Connect With Her

Here are all the ways you can reach me now, but I hope to be adding a blog in the near future.

I also write a monthly newsletter and your readers can sign up here:

Posted on April 25, 2014 and filed under Free-For-All Friday.