January 23, 1999|By Susan Chandler.
If you haven't noticed, candles are one of the ttest New Age bartering trends around. With their overtones of "aromatherapy" and romance, wax votives, columns and floaters are actuality pushed by anybody from Marshall Field's to Banana Republic to Walgreen's.
Pottery Barn, in particular, has gone candle-happy, alms a array of chandeliers and bank sconces that would acquiesce addition to absolutely brighten a allowance with candlelight.
Romantic, sure. But do candles accept retail blockage power, or are they aloof addition fad--the aroma of the 1990s?
Steve Traxler, admiral of Jam Theatricals, believes candles are actuality to stay. Three years ago, he teamed up with Kansas candlemaker and merchant Bob Werts to accessible Waxman Candles at 3044 N. Lincoln Ave., a abundance area the account burns blithely and is fabricated appropriate on the premises.
What's the affiliation amid Broadway sws and tapers? Traxler abounding the University of Kansas at Lawrence, area Werts had opened the aboriginal Waxman Candles abundance in 1971.
"I begin myself absolutely absorption smelling all the candles and attractive around. It was an alternate blazon of store," Traxler recalls.
So Traxler, w sed alive at concert apostle Jam Productions afterwards academy in 1989, approached Werts with a business plan to accompany Waxman to Chicago. Altugh he had been approached with offers afore and said no, Werts agreed this time.
So far, the Waxman Candles abundance in Chicago--equally endemic by Traxler and Werts--has been a hit. Sales for the Chicago abundance beat $500,000 a year now, Werts said.
In the accomplished year, the abundance has acclimated over 12 bags of wax to accomplish several dred tusand candles.
That's not aloof because candles are contemporary these days, Werts said.
He believes the key to success is that the barter can watch advisers accomplish the candles in the aback of the store. "The bodies that ignment there accept an allurement and an absorption in accomplishing the job."
Is he afraid that the candle bang could end? No way, man. "Candles are an bargain luxury. There's consistently allowance for a affection candle," Werts said.
Cl act: No question, Kmart Corp.'s affiliation with super-cook and decorator Martha Stewart has played a arresting role in the discounter's turnaround.
Now Target Stores is arresting back.
Target, which markets itself as an "upscale" discounter, has apparent a band of adorning me articles advised by acclaimed artist Michael Graves.
Graves, best accepted for his expensive, arbitrary teapots, has created aggregate from clocks and accoutrement to account frames and toasters for Target--all for prices alignment from $3.99 to $119.99.
"Michael and Target allotment a accepted acceptance that bodies allegedly acknowledge abundant architecture and that acceptable architecture doesn't accept to be expensive," said Ron Johnson, carnality admiral of me adornment at Target.
Quips Graves: "At aftermost we can allow to buy some of the things we design."
And now, so can the mes.
Contact Susan Chandler at SChandler@Tribune.com.
MORE ON THE INTERNET: Read antecedent "Inside Retailing" columns at chicagotribune.com/go/insider
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