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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014

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In Living Reviews

Enhance your football-watching experience by burning "pigskin," "stripper" and "beer" candles.

In Living Reviews

Make your office smell like sawdust and cut grass now ... use the rocks glasses for cocktails later.

"Man candles" make scents for dudes


(page 2)


As for selecting the scents, Chorazak brainstormed dozens and distilled them down to a handful, and he literally gets hundreds of ideas per month on his site.

"Smell evokes a lot of interesting memories, so we get a mixed bag of clever, frightening and funny suggestions," says Chorazak.

O'Dea says his most popular candle is "ballpark" scent. "The sports-themed candles seem to be popular, and the I think the combination of fresh air, cut grass and stale beer is too just hard for people to resist."

Some scents work, and some don't, says Chorazak. "Beer" has sold especially well, while "malt liquor" didn't quite work out. Chorazak still produces the candles himself, but says it takes a lot of trial and error: " We sniffed a lot of men's rooms before getting the 'urinal cake' candle just right."

O'Dea, too, says he couldn't pull off some scents the way he wanted: "We made a really good run at a 'hot wings' scent that we just couldn't quite get to smell right. It's a possibility for the future but meat-based food scents are very difficult to replicate."

For Chorazak, who worked in marketing for The Gap, Yahoo and Nike, the business took off quickly and he became a full-time candle maker in July 2007. He's working on 24 new scents, though it's unknown if he'll score another hilarious hit like the "stripper" candle, which, naturally, is covered glitter.

Says Chorazak, "Of course, the 'stripper' candle is hugely popular ... globally. We hope to one day see 'stripper scented candles' listed as a chief U.S. export."

For now, Chorazak sella Hotwicks exclusively online and to wholesalers, while O'Dea is strictly online through his site veryfunnygifts.com. Chorazak says he's endured the typical challenges of entrepreneurship, but is happy he made the choice -- though he didn't imagine this is exactly how his career would pan out.

Says Chorazak, "Growing up I was almost certain I'd be a space marine or fighting robots in post-apocalyptic nuclear winter, so no, candle making never crossed my mind. I'm pretty happy with the way it all turned out, though."

And neither Chorazak nor O'Dea will share many trade secrets about producing mandles, though they both say the process requires a lot of testing -- and a lot of trial and error.

"We're constantly on the lookout for efficiencies and ways to make them better and faster," says Chorazak. "The only trade secret I can share is 'wear rubber gloves with the dye.' I once dyed my fingers a urinal cake shade of pink for several days, which made for awkward explanations."

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Talkbacks

brunocarlson | Sept. 17, 2008 at 4:09 p.m. (report)

Does the Stripper scent come with a sense of regret and shame as well as a bill for a STD check up? Or is that extra? Can my candle be one who is still working on her medical degree? I would certainly invest in the mowed grass scent. That is always relaxing, especially after mowing it.

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cbbush | Sept. 17, 2008 at 11:24 a.m. (report)

I understand the stripper scent being for men, but get real - plenty of women enjoy the smell of pigskin as in football. As well as brand new tennis balls and other sports scents. Please refrain from being so general in your comments so that we don't think of you as the same as Begel's sexist talk.

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diesel1976 | Sept. 17, 2008 at 9:26 a.m. (report)

Why any man would want his house to smell like a stripper is beyond me. How does one come up with a scent like that anyway?

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