Dallas designer Jaclyn King repurposes vintage keepsakes as one-of-a-kind, sustainable candles.

As a third-generation treasure hunter, Jaclyn King has collecting in her DNA. "I remember standing in line at 6 in the morning to hit an estate sale when I was 7 years old," says King, whose grandmother and aunt owned an antiques business. "I learned so many valuable things and grew to love it."

The Dallas-based mom would go on to parlay her antiquing bug into a career as a decorator. But for King, the difficult part of the job wasn't finding pieces that were beautiful but figuring out what to do with them. "Anytime I would see an old candy dish or ginger jar, I'd think, 'That's pretty, but I don't need another one,' " she says. Meanwhile, her other habit of collecting luxury candles presented the opposite conundrum: They were useful but not interesting enough to display.

Old Flame Candle Co. Brass Candle Vessels
Credit: Robbie Caponetto; Styling: Mary Beth Wetzel

That's when the idea clicked. Fusing her love of the two, King decided she was going to transform her decorative finds into keepsake candles. So she sourced the best-quality wax she could (an FDA-approved blend of apricot and coconut wax) and got to filling containers, selling first at a local trade show before turning online. "And then we couldn't keep them in stock," says King.

Jaclyn King of Old Flame Candle Co.
Credit: Courtesy Jaclyn King

Just over a year later, her brand, Old Flame Candle Co., has blossomed into a successful e-commerce business. Working with antiques dealers and pickers around the world, King sources unique relics in a variety of shapes and materials from brass to colored glass. Some have former lives as tea tins or copper cookware. Others, like betel nut boxes (quirky, often animal-shaped vessels once used for storing tobacco-like betel nut leaves), are rare collectibles. "What's interesting about selling candles online is that no one can actually smell them before they buy one," she says. "But it's been much more about the vintage pieces themselves."

That certainly doesn't discount the quality of what's inside. In addition to the premium wax, the upcycled candles have Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified wood wicks and captivating scent blends with names like Peach Rosé + Vetiver. Despite the containers being the stars, the filling is a coveted product too. In addition to offering a wax-refill service, King also provides a Relic Reformation option, allowing customers to mail in their own heirlooms for candle transformations.

Old Flame Candle Co. Vessels
Credit: Robbie Caponetto; Styling: Mary Beth Wetzel

For King, whose early goal was to help eliminate waste caused by single-use products, it's an important part of the business plan. "I always hated the idea of using up a candle and then tossing it," she says. "My hope with these is that each buyer will care as much about the antique as they do the candle and that it will ultimately be something they keep forever."