Book A French Quarter Hotel

Akeewakee Waxes Poetic

By: Tara McLellan

Candles from Akeewakee

When designer Akee Sukkajongwong first came up with the idea of a clean burning soy candle, he and Corey Walsh, fellow owner of the French Quarter boutique Akeewakee, had no idea they had actually hit upon a luxury product that would take their business to new heights. This grass roots design movement has transformed how many New Orleans customers, as well as customers across the southeast, California, Chicago, and abroad see candles and a lifestyle that embraces only the very best.

Made from 100 percent natural soy wax, Akeewakee candles are a step above and beyond most luxury candles on the market. “Our candles are totally organic and unique,” says Mary Munger, one of the boutique’s knowledgeable sales associates. “Many other soy candles on the market contain varying levels of paraffin. Ours are different in that they are totally made from soy and will burn 50 percent cleaner and longer than regular paraffin candles and soy-paraffin candles.” In addition to cleaner and longer burning, Akeewakee candles have proven themselves to be a cleaner option for the environment. “Regular paraffin candles emit dangerous levels of formaldehyde while burning,” says Munger. “A clean burn can make a big difference to a person with allergies and special needs, as well as for those simply looking for a pure, sensory experience.”

Reflecting a lifestyle

A unique, total sensory experience is at the top of the list of goals for Akeewakee candles. “Our candles are not just candles,” says Corey Walsh. “Our candles are a reflection of a lifestyle.” Designed for people looking to create a lifestyle embracing the best of everything, these candles are hand crafted in a sophisticated three day process. Each one is specially blended for a superior product. Fragrances such as Irish Mosse and Thai Jasmine are intricately layered for a subtle, not soapy or perfumy, aroma. “One of the things I like best about our candles is that they smell so clean,” says Munger. “You’ll never have a perfume headache from these.” The final step is in the presentation. Each candle is wrapped and packaged in Japanese lantern inspired boxes, ready for gift giving. The process from start to finish is detailed and intricate, but the end product shows the extra effort.

From St. Ann Street to Chicago’s State Street, and beyond, Akeewakee has not forgotten about its French Quarter roots. The boutique embraces the eclectic and artistic spirit of New Orleans, and has used local resources to develop a product that is growing by leaps and bounds. “We are a true hometown product,” says Munger. “Our candles were designed in the French Quarter and made exclusively on the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain.” And it’s perhaps that unique local flavor that has made Akeewakee what it is today, a thriving and innovative small business that inspires beauty, love, art, and the very best. According to Munger, “The Quarter attracts such a diverse group of people and visitors. It’s full of the arts. It embraces the off beat. And that’s exactly the kind of place Akeewakee thrives in.”

“Simply pure. Simply beautiful,” is one way Akeewakee describes itself. It goes to show how the power of a simple, but beautiful idea, made to the highest standards, can transform a small, hometown business into a national success. The luxury candle company recently opened its latest boutique at Marshall Field’s State Street store in Chicago. What’s next? Paris. Perhaps, but to New Orleans and the French Quarter, this chic boutique will always be ours.

Tara McLellan, a freelance writer, book author, and columnist, has been featured in Metropolitan Home Magazine, New Orleans Magazine, New Orleans Homes and Lifestyles, and St. Charles Avenue Magazine. She lives and works in the New Orleans area.