Frank Cerabino’s column about a company that makes candles that are supposed to make you homesick for Florida
Dear Homesick Company:
I would like to congratulate you for coming up with the brilliant idea of selling candles that are supposed to make people homesick.
"Candles that smell like home" is an inspired slogan.
We all know that smells evoke strong memories. And as a very sentimental guy with an excellent nose (hence the size; see attached photo), I am offering my services as a much needed consultant on your Florida candles.
I don’t know who told you what Florida smells like, but I think you missed the mark with your Florida Homesick Scented Candle.
Your description: "The scents of Florida’s finest citrus and a subtle undertone of bergamot give way to woody mangroves and Spanish moss finished with vanilla and amber."
What the Florida!
Nobody here knows what a bergamot is. I had to look it up. It’s a fruit that grows in the Mediterranean. And most of the state doesn’t have Spanish moss.
In other news, mangroves smell fishy, not woody.
Also, I’ve been living in Florida for 35 years and I have never walked outside once and said, "Boy, you can really smell the vanilla today."
There is nothing "vanilla" about Florida with the exception of Palm Beach County resident, Vanilla Ice. And I’m guessing by now he smells like wet moccasins.
And where did you get the "amber" from? Ambien, yes. But not amber.
If you want to make Floridians homesick when they light your $29.95 candle, you might be on safer ground throwing in something that smells like a combination of summer sweat, Febreze, suntan lotion and gunpowder.
Or better yet, just make it smell like New York.
I’ve been reading the comments and questions about your product on Amazon.com. Your customers have some interesting ideas.
"What does Florida smell like?" one person asks.
Some Floridian named GiGi answered, "Bath salts and bad decisions."
OK, that would be a tough one to capture. But you need to be bold with Florida.
As another customer, Jamie, wrote about your Florida candle.
"It had been lit for an hour and I couldn’t smell anything unless I got really close to it and waved the air towards my face," Jamie commented.
Florida ought to smell from great distances. Sometimes pleasant smells, sometimes unpleasant. But never faint.
As a base, it would be a good idea to bottle the smell of a packed PalmTran bus making its way through Lake Worth Beach in late summer.
I know you can do it, because you’ve managed to do well with some of your other products.
I want to especially congratulate you on your Homesick Jewish Christmas Candle, which is an evocative blend of popcorn and Chinese food smells. Nailed it.
I know it must be hard coming up with specific scents for all the states. Which explains why your customer, Jillian, wrote the following Amazon review of the Montana candle she bought.
"OK, I know parts of Montana definitely smell like wet laundry, but that doesn’t mean that’s what I want in a candle," she wrote.
Yes, smells are very subjective. For example, your idea of the smell of New Jersey is probably not mine.
To me, New Jersey smells like a memory of that first bit of air -- a blend of the nearby meat packing plant and oil refinery -- that came into my car as I rolled down the window at the tollbooth at Exit 13 of the New Jersey Turnpike. Either that or the bouquet of aromatics in the men’s room at the James Fenimore Cooper Service Plaza between Exits 4 and 5.
I see you’re also getting into specific cities for your homesick candles.
You have the Miami Homesick Candle, which according to your description "smells like orange slices and cold water with lemon sipped on a hot day by the ocean."
We here in Palm Beach County would like candles of our own. I have a few ideas:
The Wellington Homesick Candle: "Smells like new money, horse manure, and bug spray."
The Town of Palm Beach Homesick Candle: "Smells like old leather, leaf blower fumes and immigrant sweat."
The West Delray Homesick Candle: "Smells like Costco sauerkraut, mothballs, and Vick’s VapoRub."
Let me know if you want my help. I’m all nostrils.