Doing business in rural Nebraska

A rural candle company proves you can do business anywhere.

Amanda Johson started the "Prairie Girl Candle Company" about five years ago. On Pure Nebraska, we visited her shop north of Benkelman. "I enjoy burning candles, but I wasn't always confident I was burning a safe, clean candle," Johnson said. So, she set out to do it better, and did her research. "I now make a soy candle. It uses products made in our own backyard, and it supports the American farmer," Johnson said. "My candles are 100% soy wax, and then there is a fragrance added."

Johnson says there's some preparation and math involved when making the candles. "You have to bring up your wax to a certain temperature, so it holds just the right amount of fragrance. I have large pour pots that keep my wax at a constant temperature, and then I measure out by weight how much wax I need, and then I figure out how much fragrance I need," Johnson said.

At the Prairie Girl Candle Company, Johnson says she has around 30 different fragrances. "When I'm taking a shower, or when I'm cooking, I will think of a name for my candles. One name that I really like is my 'Niobrara Rose' candle. I want scents that are familiar to the prairie and to Nebraska," Johnson said. "Maybe you grew up on a farm, and you remember the smell of sage in the pasture, or you remember certain wildflowers, or a storm that rolled in."

Some of the more popular names of Prairie Girl candles are Niobrara Rose, Sandhills, Farmhouse, and Sandhills Storm. Johnson says her business is growing and her wholesale market runs from border to border in Nebraska. She encourages anyone living in rural Nebraska to pursue a business dream like this. "We are slowly spreading and growing," Johnson said.