Crafted with care: Duquesne student makes candles on the side

Courtesy of Arianna DiMatteo

Courtesy of Arianna DiMatteo

By Liza Zulick | Staff Writer

Remember when you used to pretend to sell things to your friends and family? Create crafts and try to sell them? Nothing ever really came out of it, other than your family going along with it. However, as a senior at Duquesne University, Arianna DiMatteo is accomplishing her dreams of being business owner through her company,  Aria Bella Candles, all while juggling her school work and working as a medical billing specialist for a psychologist.

I have always been a crafty person,” DiMatteo said. “Before I made candles, I used to hand-paint canvases and sell them on Etsy. When I realized that I could make a business out of my craft I decided to do some research. There wasn’t any true rhyme or reason as to why I began making candles. I’ve always loved them, but to me, it seemed like the best strategy in terms of a handmade business based on my skills.”

Since first starting her business in April 2015, she has already sold over 1,000 candles.

Aria Bella Candles offers many different scents. Special fragrances like Fraser Fir, Gingerbread House, Three Kings, Sugar Plum and Santa’s Cookies are sold during the holiday season.

As if selling over 1,000 candles wasn’t impressive enough, DiMatteo makes all of her candles by hand in a small room in her basement at home in Aspin, PA.. Her boyfriend Brandon Posa also helps with the financial and accounting work for Aria Bella Candles.

Although she has been able to make so many candles, the process isn’t easy. There are actually quite a few steps.

“Making the candles requires a lot of know-how and patience,” DiMatteo said. “I start by melting down my soy wax. Once the wax reaches the right temperature, I add in fragrance oil and a dye chip. I then let the wax cool and pour the wax into my pre-wicked jars. That’s the simplified version.”

Aria Bella Candles even offers a personalization or custom order request option on its website.

“My mission is to create a unique scent experience with each of my candles,” DiMatteo said. “For example, my tranquility candle is a lavender scent to help calm you after a long day.”

DiMatteo learned how to craft her perfect candles simply by watching hours worth of videos and reading many magazines to better learn the craft.

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“There’s a lot that goes into candle-making! I didn’t realize how much you need to know before you perfect your craft,” DiMatteo said.

Because DiMatteo is still currently a student, sometimes time can be an issue, especially with so many new ideas for her business. She is currently planning on making some big changes before April 2017. One of her ideas involves creating a new logo for her company’s name.

Although Aria Bella Candles is already a successful business, DiMatteo’s next plans don’t involve candles at all.

“My biggest goal for my future is to open a literacy foundation to help children and adults,” DiMatteo said. “Aria Bella Candles is in my focus right now and will be after graduation.”

If you are interested in learning more about Aria Bella Candles, you can visit www.ariabellacandles.com, or find DiMatteo on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook @ariabellacandle.

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