GREENVILLE -- Maine Mountain
Soap & Candle Company has been in business for 14 years. Owner Sandee Appaneal,
former partner Gary Dethlefsen and a number of full and part-time employees worked
over those years to carve out a successful niche in the world of natural products. Late in
2007 construction began to double the size of Appaneal’s retail space and consolidate
production under one roof at 17 Moosehead Lake Road.
Appaneal, whose father is a carpenter, is working alongside family, friends and part-time staff to make the larger space a reality. She is excited about the new products
that space will allow.
“Because my interests lie in the natural world I am looking forward to offering a greater variety of products that are created using natural elements. Lighting, birch bark
jewelry and wooden toys are some of the things we’ll be offering,” Appaneal said. “I like
to find ways for people to bring nature into their lives, to have it in their homes or give it
as gifts. It’s really fun to be able to find those kinds of things for people.”
The expansion will allow Appaneal to carry home décor items that feature rock, wood, natural fibers and flowers in their design. There will be lamps made of rock,
wooden sugar mold tea light candleholders and other beautiful woodwork.
“We have end tables and other creative furniture,” she said. “The fellow that makes them has a small sawmill and planes felled trees. One of his designs is a
table/lamp combination that has lilac branches and apple branches and hornbeam. The
lampshade has little acorn caps at the ends of branches. It’s quite beautiful. We will also
have a line of bronze bells made in Prospect Harbor by a company that has been around
for 30 years. We like to sell things that are unique and of quality.”
Maine Mountain will also carry handcrafted greeting cards made locally. Most
items in the store are Maine-made; Appaneal strives to find products made in the United
States and the Americas. Customers will also find candle holders made out of semi-
precious stones and other items of interest.
But it is the products that Maine Mountain Soap & Candle creates that have kept
customers coming back for more.
“We are actually recycling a by-product of the petroleum industry, when we use
paraffin wax in our standard candle line,” Appaneal said. “We also have a line of soy wax
candles and a line of beeswax candles that are all natural and made with essential oils.
We don’t color the beeswax. It can be lighter or darker depending on what the bees were
eating, which is kind of neat. It’s my favorite wax and has an incredible smell all by
Maine Mountain also offers a wide variety of bath and beauty products including
natural soaps, hand balms, lip balms, liquid castile soaps, body washes and bath salts.
“The liquid castile soap is olive oil based,” Appaneal explained. “Ours has aloe vera in it and is biodegradable. It’s really gentle on your hands so people who wash a lot
really love it. It’s concentrated so you can actually dilute it, which is great. We sell a lot
of it at the Common Ground Fair – we have people who buy it once a year there and use
it all year long.”
Bath salts are made from evaporated sea salt and essential oils. The body scrub
contains those ingredients, plus shea butter. There are body washes and massage oils, and
a complete line of popular men’s products that include bay rum scented soap, lip balm,
body wash, body lotion and aftershave.
Although calming clary sage, soothing lavender, revitalizing lemongrass and
sensual ylang ylang are four of the most popular scents in all the bath and body products
“probably the most popular bath product is the bar soap, which lasts forever and works
wonders on all skin types,” Appaneal said. One of her secrets is adding beeswax.
“It’s important that people get the best quality for their dollar,” Appaneal said. “I would like to see people experience comfort and joy when they come into this shop. I
usually have interesting music playing – everything from big band and jazz to current
things. They like that atmosphere.
Customer service is number one,” she concluded. “I believe that’s the reason we have survived for 14 years. You can sell most anything to people once, but to sell it again
it has to be of good quality because dollars don’t go as far as they used to. It’s important
to provide people with something they will come back and buy again because they love it.
I love people and I like to make them happy. I think my products and what we provide
here do just that.”
For more information about Maine Mountain Soap and Candle, call 800-287-2141
or (207) 695-3926 or visit www.mainemountian.com.
Photo #5 Sandee Appaneal has created a full line of wonderfully scented liquid castile soaps that are olive-oil based, contain aloe vera and are kind to the skin of those
who must wash their hands frequently.
Photo #7 These sparkling amethyst candleholders are just one of many natural wonders that Sandee Appaneal has in store for customers at Maine Mountain Soap &
Stay tuned – Sandee Appaneal has a second business in the works. The website will be www.greengivingandliving.com so check in for developments on that front.
Maine Mountain Soap and Candle works with a company that obtains its shea butter from
Africa, where a group of women formed a small cooperative to help their children and
their community. These women pick the nuts and lay them under a solar evaporation unit
they created. When the nuts have hardened, they are cracked open and the meat is
removed and processed.
Appaneal was once an English teacher. It was when she arrived in Maine with a small
nest egg and found no teaching jobs available that she decided to try her hand at creating
soaps and candles. The company started out displaying products at craft shows. A small
space eventually became available for rent, and later the building became available for
purchase. It was a large order of various baskets of men’s bath products by shoe manufacturer G.H. Bass that sent Maine Mountain Soap and Candle into a successful
It is extremely difficult to get some of the scents that people are used to in an all-natural
essential oil form. Essential oils are the part of the plant that gives it its essence,
particular taste and smell. For example, it is very easy to remove the essence of an orange
but not so easy with a blueberry. Vanilla beans have oil, but the process to remove it
becomes cost prohibitive. The easier an essential oil is to extract, the more plentiful and
affordable that oil will be. One third of an ounce of something difficult to extract, like the
essential oil of a rose, can cost over $500.
People hear a lot about candles that can eliminate smoke and emit negative ions into the
air that attach to particles in the air and clean it. If you scent a bee’s wax candle then you
put essential oils into the air, but if you burn a pure unscented bee’s wax candle, you
clean the air.
There’s a right way and a wrong way to burn candles to get the best performance, safety
and value. Appaneal labels all of her candles.
“They tell you how to burn them,” she said. “We’ve done hundreds of
experiments with them. It’s important not let the flame get higher than three-quarters of
an inch. Ideally what you want before you light the candle is only about one-eighth inch
of wick showing. Depending on how long you burn a candle, if you just let it go, you’re
going to have trouble and smoke. If you leave the room or the house, blow it out. If its
been burning for a while, see how big the flame is and if it’s too big, blow it out, trim the
wick and then relight the candle. It’s really important not to let the flame get too high
because once it does it affects how the candle burns.”
Mountain Mama of Maine
858 Pease Hill Road
Anson, ME 04911
Email: email@example.com Website: www.mountainmamaofmaine.com
Janet Edwards became interested in herbs when she moved to Maine nearly 40
years ago. Her wildflower identification book noted that one plant had “medicinal
properties,” but didn’t provide any additional information.
“That inspired a lot of research and recipe development and testing on family and
friends for years,” Edwards said. She began selling her creations under the Mountain
Mama of Maine moniker in 1997. In 2001, the Mountain Mama of Maine website was
Edwards bought her Maine farm in 1970. She finds “peace and pleasure” in the
hours spent responsibly gathering wildflowers and her own cultivated herbs.
“Picking calendula barefoot or watching bees work violet comfrey flowers in my
gardens in the mountains of Maine is a joy and blessing,” she notes. “Soothing the mind with the calming scents of flowers grounds and centers us in our busy lives.
Centuries ago, women used herbs and essential oils for bath and beauty,”
Edwards’ website missive continued. “Today there is increased interest in all-natural skin
care products as we learn about the dangers of synthetic ingredients. Since your skin is
your largest organ, it just makes sense to treat it naturally.”
Under the “About Us” section of the website, Edwards assures customers that each product is made in small lots to ensure freshness.
Edwards shares her knowledge at the Common Ground Fair, sponsored by the
Maine Organic Farmer and Gardener Association (visit www.mofga.org for more
information). Mountain Mama of Maine exhibits at several fairs and events each year. A
schedule of appearances is included on the website.
158 South Oakfield Road
Houlton, ME 04730
“I have been fortunate to have lived all my life in a rural area farming and
gardening,” said Naturally Bee-Ewe-tiful owner Sandra Hare. “I love nature and love to
create from nature’s own flowers and beeswax. I am passionate about designing and
creating nourishing, wholesome, natural and affordable skin care products.”
Hare, who lives on a farmstead in Aroostook County, is a nurse, gardener and
nature lover. In 1990, she grew weary of having cracked, raw hands from constant
washing and exposure to the elements.
“After much research, I developed Naturally Bee-Ewe-tiful hand balms and lip balms from my own beeswax using high quality vegetable oils and nut butters with
essential oils in all of my products. All products are lovingly created in small batches in
Oils used include sweet almond, coconut, jojoba, palm, grapeseed and olive,
while nuts include coco, shea and mango butters. Naturally Bee-Ewe-tiful products
contain no dyes or mineral oils.
Over the years the line has expanded to include several bath and body products, a
line of men’s products and even a “Welcome Baby Gift Pack” for Hare’s youngest
customers. New in 2008 are three new scents: coconut, Moroccan fig and freesia.
Another addition to the line-up is the new Facial Masque Kit, an eight ounce jar of dry
ingredients, four ounces of aloe vera gel and one ounce of pure Maine honey that, when
mixed, will yield about 15 facial masques. There are also new goat’s milk soaps, and
hand lotions and men’s aftershave balms in new Malibu tubes.
“I listen to customers for ideas, variations, new products and packaging,” Hare
said. “Naturally Bee-Ewe-tiful products are all natural beeswax based and include lip
balms, hand and foot care products, shea butter lotions, beeswax stick deodorants,
deodorizing body powers (talc free), and vegetable/nut oil goat’s milk soaps. I use only
natural ingredients, and many of those are home grown.
Naturally Bee-Ewe-tiful beeswax-based natural skin care was designed and
created on the basis of healing, softening and moisturizing our most exposed organ, our
skin,” Hare concluded. “My aim has been to create the best and most affordable skin care
using predominately natural ingredients. I am passionate about using only the best quality
and organic materials.”
Naturally Bee-Ewe-tiful products are currently available at numerous shops in
Littleton, Weston, Eastport, Rumford, Rockport and Robbinston as well as on site and via