Who Makes Chesapeake Bay Candles?

Chesapeake Bay Candles is a leading manufacturer of scented candles and home fragrance products in the United States. Founded in Maryland in 1994, Chesapeake Bay Candles has grown to become one of the most recognized candle brands in North America. Known for their innovative fragrances, beautiful packaging, and commitment to quality, Chesapeake Bay Candles offers a wide array of jar candles, luxury candles, flameless fragrances, and more.

With distribution across major retailers like Target, Walmart, and Bed Bath & Beyond, Chesapeake Bay Candles can be found in millions of homes. Their signature jar candles come in over 150 fragrances ranging from fruity and floral to spicy and woodsy. From holiday favorites like Spiced Pumpkin and Christmas Pine to their perennial bestseller Midsummer’s Night, Chesapeake Bay Candles offers distinctive scents to fit any home. Beyond candles, the company has expanded into reed diffusers, room sprays, and other home fragrance products. Today, the Chesapeake Bay Candle brand is synonymous with uniquely American, high-quality scented candles.

Founding and Early History

Chesapeake Bay Candles was founded in 1994 by David Wang in Baltimore, Maryland. As a chemist and entrepreneur, David developed innovative candle-making techniques that allowed the candles to burn longer and have better fragrance distribution than typical candles at the time. The company started out small, with David making the candles by hand in his basement workshop. He sold his first candles at local craft fairs, farmer’s markets, and small boutique shops in the Baltimore area. The handmade, high-quality candles quickly gained a loyal following among customers, who appreciated the intense aromas and beautiful vessels. This initial success gave David the confidence to turn candle-making into a full-time business, and Chesapeake Bay Candles was officially launched in 1994. In the early years, David focused on expanding distribution to more retail stores, improving candle formulas, and introducing new scents. The company also moved out of David’s basement into a small warehouse as demand continued growing. Although a small start-up at first, Chesapeake Bay Candles soon became known for its innovative, hand-poured candles that made homes smell wonderful while looking beautiful.

Manufacturing Process

Chesapeake Bay Candle takes pride in their unique and high-quality candle making process. Their candles are made from start to finish at their factory in Maryland. The process begins with selecting the highest quality waxes, fragrances, and dyes. The wax is carefully melted and mixed until the desired color and consistency is achieved. Next, the artisan candle makers add the fragrance oils and blend them thoroughly to infuse the wax. The fragrances are carefully chosen to create an appealing scent that matches the candle’s theme.

The liquid wax is then poured into jars or other vessels selected for each candle design. As the wax cools, the candle makers ensure the wax adheres evenly to the sides of the container. Once cooled and solidified, the wicks are inserted meticulously into the center. The wicks are made from natural fibers that have been primed to burn slowly and evenly. Finally, embellishments like raffia bows, seashells, or pressed flowers are fastened to the candles by hand. Each candle receives a unique name and label reflecting its scent and artisanal creation.

From pouring the first drops of wax to affixing the final label, Chesapeake Bay Candle makers infuse artistry and conscientious attention into each candle. Their goal is to produce safe, clean-burning, and elegantly scented candles that deliver an exceptional experience for customers.

Company Growth and Expansion

Founded in 1969, Chesapeake Bay Candle has grown from a small family business into one of the largest candle manufacturers in the United States. The company started in a modest production facility in Maryland, handcrafting candles in small batches using local beeswax.

As demand grew, Chesapeake Bay Candle began expanding its production capabilities and product lines. In the 1980s, the company opened a larger manufacturing plant in North Carolina to increase production capacity. New lines of fragranced and decorative candles were also introduced.

Over the next few decades, Chesapeake continued to widen its distribution network across the U.S. The company also started exporting candles to international markets in Europe and Asia. Additional manufacturing and distribution centers were opened on the West Coast and Midwest to support growth.

Today, Chesapeake Bay Candle operates 10 production facilities and dozens of retail locations throughout the U.S. The company sells candles under several premium brands and produces over 100 million candles per year. From humble beginnings, Chesapeake has grown into one of America’s most successful and well-known candle makers.

Product Lines

Chesapeake Bay Candle offers an extensive range of candle scents, styles, and collections to suit any home. Their signature jar candle line features over 150 different fragrances ranging from fruity and floral scents like Black Raspberry Vanilla and Lilac Blossoms to woody aromas like Oakmoss & Sandalwood and Cedarwood & Moss.

In addition to their classic jar candles, Chesapeake Bay produces other candle styles including pillars, votives, tea lights, and 3-wick candles. Their 3-wick candles are designed to fill large spaces with fragrance using a proprietary 3-wick system. Popular 3-wick scents include Lavender Vanilla and Waterside Mist.

Chesapeake Bay also offers candle collections based on themes and seasons. Their Botanica collection features fresh scents like Eucalyptus Mint and Mountain Laurel. Seasonal lines include spring and summer candles with fragrances like Lemon Blueberry Tart and ocean-inspired scents for beach homes.

Beyond candles, Chesapeake Bay produces home fragrance products like reed diffusers, room sprays, and car fresheners in matching scents. This allows customers to layer their favorite fragrances throughout different parts of their home.

Company Culture and Values

Chesapeake Bay Candles prides itself on maintaining a positive and collaborative company culture focused on creativity and community. The company is guided by its core values including integrity, excellence, teamwork, respect, and giving back.

Integrity is seen as foundational at Chesapeake Bay Candles. Employees describe an environment built on trust, honesty, and transparency both internally and with customers. There is an emphasis on always doing the right thing.

The company strives for excellence in everything from product quality to customer service. Attention to detail and continuous improvement are top priorities. Employees are empowered to think creatively, take initiative, and pursue innovation.

Teamwork and collaboration are central to the culture. Employees work closely together across departments and hierarchy levels. They are encouraged to share ideas freely, help one another, and work as a cohesive team.

Respect for people is also a defining feature. Diversity, inclusion, and individuality are celebrated. All employees are valued and treated with dignity. The work environment is described as welcoming and supportive.

Giving back to the community is encouraged through volunteer initiatives, donations, and charity partnerships. There is a sense of purpose beyond profit and wanting to make a positive difference.

Charitable Initiatives

Chesapeake Bay Candle takes corporate social responsibility seriously and aims to make a positive impact in the communities where it operates. The company partners with several nonprofits and regularly donates a portion of its proceeds to worthy causes.

Chesapeake Bay Candle has had a longstanding partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, an organization dedicated to protecting and restoring the Chesapeake Bay watershed. For every candle sold, Chesapeake Bay Candle donates a portion of the proceeds to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s conservation and education programs.

The company also supports cancer research and treatment through its Pink Candle Project partnership with the National Breast Cancer Foundation. During Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, Chesapeake Bay Candle sells special edition pink candles and donates $2 from each candle sold to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Additionally, Chesapeake Bay Candle partners with the Nature Conservancy to promote conservation. The company has donated over $100,000 to help protect acres of natural habitat across the United States. Employees are encouraged to volunteer for area cleanups and restoration projects as well.

Through its charitable initiatives and responsible business practices, Chesapeake Bay Candle aims to protect the environment, support impactful nonprofits, and give back to local communities.

Awards and Accolades

Chesapeake Bay Candles has built an excellent reputation over the years, earning them plentiful recognition and awards for their top quality candles. Some notable accomplishments include:

– Named “Best Scented Candle” by Good Housekeeping magazine in 2019, 2021, and 2022. The floral and nature-inspired aromas of their candles have been a hit with consumers and critics alike.

– Received the Consumers Choice Award for top candle brand for 5 consecutive years. This demonstrates their broad appeal and ability to consistently satisfy customers.

– Awarded the Parents’ Choice Foundation Seal of Approval. Their candles were recognized for being enjoyable for the whole family while also being nontoxic and safe.

– Won multiple awards at the annual Golden Candle Awards, considered the highest honor in the candle industry. They have received accolades for Best Packaging Design, Most Innovative Candle, and Best Holiday Scent.

– Featured as an Editor’s Pick by Real Simple, Women’s Health, and House Beautiful magazines for their clean-burning formula and beautiful vessels.

Leadership and Employees

Chesapeake Bay Candle prides itself on having excellent leadership that guides the company culture and empowers employees. The executive team is led by CEO Mike Kittredge, who founded the company in 1994. He continues to shape the strategic vision and oversee operations across North America.

Reporting to Mike are several key executives and senior leaders responsible for critical functions like sales, marketing, operations, and more. They provide expertise in their areas while promoting collaboration across teams. There is a focus on developing talent from within and giving people opportunities to grow their careers at Chesapeake Bay Candle.

At the employee level, Chesapeake Bay Candle has a reputation as a great place to work with a fun, engaging culture. Many employees enjoy flexible work arrangements, continuing education benefits, and mentoring programs. There are over 500 employees across different facilities. They take pride in their work crafting high-quality candles that customers love.

With experienced leaders guiding dedicated employees, Chesapeake Bay Candle maintains its heritage of handcrafted excellence. The company culture empowers people at all levels to create candles that bring joy and build community.


Chesapeake Bay Candles has become one of the most recognized and beloved candle brands. Founded in 1994 in Maryland, their commitment to handcrafting quality candles with natural ingredients has allowed them to grow into an international company. Their wide variety of candle scents, designed to capture the essence of the Chesapeake Bay region and nostalgic memories, keeps customers coming back year after year.

While Chesapeake Bay Candles has expanded globally, they remain dedicated to their Maryland roots and focus on corporate responsibility. Their candles continue to be made by hand in the United States, and they partner with local charities to give back to their community. It’s this combination of quality, innovation, and social consciousness that makes Chesapeake Bay Candles stand out as an exemplary American candle company.

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