Visit Jacob at the Rehoboth Beach Farmer’s Market every Tuesday this summer.

Ask the Chandler

Jacob Anthony – Lion’s Den Candle Company

Chemistry, Candles, and Lions

What do Chemistry, Candles, and Lions have in common? Jacob Anthony of course. He is the Creator and owner of The Lion’s Den Candle Company, making unique custom hand-crafted candles right here in Rehoboth Beach. All of his wicks, wax & scents are free of harmful chemicals, “There are no parabens, no plastics, no metals, and even very little soot if you properly trim the wick after each use,” he says. 

A graduate of Drexel University,  Jacob is a trained chemist. He worked in pharmaceuticals as a clinical training specialist for cardiac devices, but when the pandemic hit in 2020, he was forced to work remotely. “I couldn’t just watch Tiger King” he laughed, so in the throes of the pandemic, he ordered a DIY candle making kit on Amazon. “They came out horrible,” he recalls, even after explicitly following the directions on the kit. Despite his initial disappointment, he decided to get back to his roots and start experimenting. “I love learning how things work,” he says, and views science experimentation as a creative outlet. “I knew I could tinker with this and make them better,” and that is exactly what he did. His candles are environmentally friendly as he only uses 100% soy wax (which is plant based and natural), organic cotton wicks (to burn clean) and organic essential oils for scent (to avoid aggravation of asthma and won’t give the user a headache from being overly fragrant.)

Lighting a Passion

What was motivated initially by pandemic boredom and innate curiosity, turned into a wild passion and full-time endeavor. “I was going to bed at night thinking about candles and wax melts and waking up to do research to make them better,” he says. Then, with the hope of ending seclusion, “I was thinking about when we’d get back to socializing and I could bring a candle as a ‘thank you’ for hosting, or a housewarming gift.”  As the pandemic lifted, Jacob started circulating candles to his friends and family, who kept asking for more. Word of mouth spread quickly. “With a small supply of backup, maybe 10-15 candles in 6-10 different scents,” he was able to keep enough inventory for small sales to friends. But by October of 2020, Jacob developed a social media account for his candles, and that’s when things exploded. “I started using a plastic bin and having to make 50-60 candles a night.” 

Since then, he created a website, and his business began to flourish. He expanded to the Philadelphia Christmas Village, various local retail stores, a booth at Schellville, and his staple booth at the Rehoboth Beach Farmer’s Market, (4 years and running). His business has expanded to include candle wax refills, reed diffusers and refills, soaps, tea lights, accessories and even apparel, showcasing his signature lion head flame logo, which glows backlit on his jars. (Sidenote* The logo also has humble origins and was birthed from a silly Disco Ball Lion used as a party photo prop, coining his home “The Lion’s Den” long before the inception of candles. But the lion has matured and grown along with the brand to be the fierce flaming lion we know today).

Burning the Candle at Both Ends

Jacob still hand pours all the candles himself, and recruited his husband Tony to help with labeling, packing & shipping; using only biodegradable or recyclable products to maintain environmentally respectful packaging. In 2021 he hired his first helper, and recently, in 2024, hired his first full time employee. “Now we have vats, and with the help of 3 people, I can make 500-700 candles in a single day,” he says. His Rehoboth Beach basement has transformed into a science lab/candle shop/scented oasis. He now ships nationwide, takes bulk orders, and his candles are sold at retail locations in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Florida, California, and even in collaboration with the gift shop at the Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia. 

“The oil for scent is the most important part,” Jacob explains, and says he typically uses 10% minimum of oil, the maximum used for an all-soy wax. “You can’t just throw more oil in to create a scent because it won’t burn right.” Jacob has perfected the science of scents and offers a wide variety, all listed on his website in great detail, including Citrus, Earthy, Bedroom Scents, Kitchen Scents, Fruity, Floral, Relaxing, Woody and even Holiday scents. thelionsdencandlecompany.com.    

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