The folks at The Primitive Keeper in Albion know that this time of year you want candles that smell like Gingered Pumpkin and Autumn in New England – a whiff of fresh apple with a hint of spice.

But they also know how to appeal to your whimsical side, that part of you that yearns for Mermaid Kisses – a sweet-and-sour, candied fruit scent – or for spending the morning at a Barnyard Brunch. That candle has farm animals on the label and smells like pancakes, maple syrup and bacon. (Hungry yet?)

The Primitive Keeper is celebrating its 12th year in business making soaps, candles, lotions, room sprays and other products for the body and home. The company was started by Erica Currie, a self-described “avid candle burner” who worked for L.L. Bean. Just over a dozen years ago, her husband, Rick, did some research on paraffin-based candles, Currie said, “and found that what we were burning wasn’t healthy. For Christmas, he bought me a natural soy wax candle kit.”

Currie made the candles just for herself initially, then a friend who was opening a shop asked her if she would make candles to sell there. From there, she got into other shops, and she now sells all over the United States. Eight years ago, she took the leap and left her job at L.L. Bean to devote herself to her own company full time.

The company is called The Primitive Keeper because “our products are very country, very homey,” Currie said. “They have that primitive look to them.”

The soy candles cost from $9.25 to $22, depending on size. Currie’s husband makes the soaps, which sell for $5 each and come in scents such as For the Hippie in You, which contains patchouli. All Primitive Keeper products can be purchased online at, or at many gift shops around the state, including Lisa Marie’s Made in Maine in Portland and Bath, Berry Vines in Machias, the Grasshopper Shop at the Bangor International Airport, and Restless Threads in Kennebunk.


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