Photo Courtesy Inhar Chong

Six years ago, Meghan Cook was burning the candle at both ends, working an office job by day and waiting tables by night with no creative outlet. Inspired by the wonderful, rich smells of her Southern upbringing and a respect for the environment, she began dabbling in her Arlington, Virginia, home kitchen.

Working with natural materials, such as soy wax, and essential and fragrance oils including magnolia, rosewood, and tobacco, she tried to re-create such childhood scents as sweet tea and honeysuckle. Today, her Sydney Hale Co. produces a line of 17 aromatic candles. $28;

Photo by Becky Luigart-Stayner

The Scent: "My favorite is the eucalyptus and sage. It's cool and a little spicy. It provides a fall feeling year-round."

The Name: "Sydney and Hale are both family names. My paternal grandfather was James Sydney, and my husband's middle name is Hale. I wanted something classic with roots."

The Cause: "Ten percent of our profits go toward animal rescue, something that's very important to me."

The Packaging: "Our containers are reusable as 14-oz. glasses. When there's a quarter of an inch of soft (not liquid) wax left, pull the wicks out and wash the candle in the sink."

The Main Ingredient: "Paraffin makes a fine candle, but soy wax comes from a renewable source and burns cleaner."