Boysen builds a house of wax
June 9, 2008 · Updated 7:02 PM
Paraffine on Winslow Way offers an array of candles and related wares.
Candles, chocolates and tea.
Whats the connection?
Relaxation, said Johan Boysen, owner of Paraffine on Winslow Way.
Say its Sunday morning, Boysen said. Youre reading your paper or drawing a hot bath. Next to you is your cup of tea, maybe a little chocolate, a lighted candle. These are things that help you relax and enjoy a day when we have our rainy weather.
Boysen opened Paraffine just before Christmas in the retail space formerly occupied by Schmidts Home Appliance.
The store offers a vast collection of Danish candles that line the walls from floor to ceiling.
Paraffine stocks nearly as many varieties of candle holders and decorative candle rings, with faux flowers, Belgian chocolates and Scandinavian teas scattered throughout as it does candles.
Just 24 years old, Boysen was raised on the island and recently earned a degree in international business from Arizona State University.
After a short stint as a corporate banker in Minneapolis, he returned to Washington hoping to drop the rat race and start his own business.
I had my fill of working for corporate entities, he said. I decided Id rather succeed for myself than succeed for someone else.
Boysen tapped his Nordic roots as an inspiration for his first business enterprise.
I wanted to find something to sell that I knew about but that didnt exist in the U.S., he said.
The ornamental candle rings adorning the homes of his Swedish-born mother, Ulla Boysen, and other Scandinavian-descended relatives was his answer.
Moving to Suquamish, Boysen started a wholesale business importing candles and candle rings produced by Logum Kloster Lys, a family-owned company in southern Denmark.
I made a lot of cold calls to big retailers in the area, he said. But it was a good product, and I got a decent amount of interest from retailers.
Logum Kloster Lys asked Boysen to open one of its retail outlets under the Paraffine name. Boysen flew over to Denmark in October, met the owners, and quickly agreed to open up the companys first U.S. shop.
But dont call it a franchise, said Boysen. Unlike chain retailers, Paraffine allows Boysen to sell other items not manufactured by the parent company and doesnt regiment displays or decor.
Its more of a partnership with the supplier, he said. Thats why I can sell the chocolate and teas. And, if theres enough demand, it also allows me to make design requests for particular candle shapes, colors or sizes.
Boysen has also organized his shop in a unique way. Rather than group similar products together, he arranged his products by color. All blue candles, holders, flowers and other items are hung together and apart from another colors items.
It makes it easy to decorate your home, he said. You can come in and swap items out and change the mood of a room.
While his mom chips in from time to time, Boysen serves as the shops manager, stocker, cashier and janitor. Still in his early 20s, he believes that what he lacks in experience is made up for with youthful gumption.
Im making a fresh start, he said, but I think I have a bit of energy that I think will help get this business off the ground.