By  on October 17, 2008

Chesapeake Bay Candle is getting a new signature this fall — in a move that also will expand the brand’s distribution reach.

Founded by Mei Xu and David Wang in the basement of their Annapolis, Md.-based home in 1994, Chesapeake is drawing inspiration from nature for its new Signature line. Xu currently sells her wares in Target, Kohl’s, Ikea and Pier One Imports. The new line is rolling out now in about 1,200 high-end specialty and gift stores, and will be available online at

“Our Signature collection is intended to thank everyone who has followed our story over the years,” said Xu, president of Chesapeake Bay Candle. “It was the Chesapeake Bay’s beauty that inspired the brand’s name, so it made sense to return to nature as a theme. And the packaging uses a tree motif, our tribute to nature. We think it’s an awesome symbol of what we want to be in the future.”

Eight essential-oil fragrances are included in the line. Honey Lemon Creme includes honey, tangy lemon, grapefruit zest, warm sandalwood and creamy vanilla notes. Green Bamboo Jasmine has cherry, orange, watery green, jasmine, bamboo and muguet notes. Lily Orange Blossom comprises orange blossom, mandarin, ylang-ylang, white jasmine, lily and musk elements. Tonka Bean Fig includes notes of cedar, sandalwood, tonka bean and birch. Amber Vanilla Hazelnut has plum, hazelnut, cyclamen, heliotrope, chestnut flower, vanilla and amber elements. Nutmeg Cardamom Seed has sliced lemon, clove bud, ground nutmeg, cardamom seed and musk notes. Cedarwood Sweet Tobacco has elements of sweet tobacco leaves, cedarwood, violet and sandalwood. Sheer White Musk has white musk, sheer jasmine, violet, mandarin, rich earth and exotic wood notes.

Each fragrance collection will include scented soy candles, $20 each, and reed diffusers, $35 each. Scented decorative balls, $20, are available in all of the fragrances except Sheer White Musk and Lily Orange Blossom. Home fragrance and candle gift sets range in price from $20 to $65; home fragrance travel sets, $60, and pillar candles, $10 to $20.

Luxe touches, such as ribbon and ombré-shaded boxes, are also intended to reinforce the upscale positioning.

The company also is expanding its reach in existing retail doors, including Target. Chesapeake Bay has distributed in Target since 1996. “We are now in all 1,550 Target doors, up from 500 this past spring,” said Xu. “We have full 8-foot displays with over 100 items in 12 fragrances broken down into four fragrance families — Fresh/Floral, Fruit/Citrus, Gourmand/Spicy and Green/Woodsy. It is really a destination, with candles, plug-ins, travel tins and home fragrances.”

The Target line ranges in price from $1.99 to $16.99. Next spring, said Xu, an additional 2-foot section will be added with reed diffusers, among other items. “Target has become a prestige mass destination, and our offerings there reflect that,” she added.

While Xu declined to discuss sales projections, industry sources estimated that the Signature Collection could do upward of $4 million in its first year on counter.

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