The sweet smell of success

Candles light the way for Dallas entrepreneur

By: Cathy Poley

Originally appeared on

Jimmy Belasco’s philosophy is simple: “Be happy. Be happy at what you’re doing, and if you’re not happy then go home and get happy.”

The Dallas, Texas, entrepreneur behind Er’go Candles, Belasco has found happiness and commercial success with his candle line — a blend of wax, sweet-smelling fragrance and, he says, a lot of love.

“My goal, my plan, my mission on this Earth,” he says, “is to spread as much love and peace as I can. … I get responses all the time about how the candles changed the mood of somebody or about how they nurtured someone thru the death of a loved one”

His 5-year-old company and its products have been featured in magazines from “InStyle” to “O.”

Er’go candles also have been used as finishing touches on the TLC decorating show “While You Were Out” and in the gift bags for Miramax’s Golden Globes party.

The colorless candles aim to entice customers with their unique bouquet.

“I don’t want to decorate someone’s home,” Belasco says. “That’s why I’ve never added color. I don’t want to match someone’s sofa or their drapes. I really want to be what is fragrancing the home.”

Belasco started his candle-making company in his garage, hand-pouring every candle. Five years later, Er’go has a staff of 25 and is housed in at 25,000-square foot factory in Dallas.

The candles are still hand-poured. “We do all the work basically by hand. This is the way it’s been done for hundreds of years, and we are sticking with that to this point,” Belasco says.

The candles, which range in aromas from pear to Moroccan cedar, are made out of all-natural soy wax. Belasco says that soy wax is so pure, you can eat it. And he has, once using soy candle wax to fry chicken to prove his point.

In recent months, Belasco has stepped up his public profile, shooting to tie his image to Er’go products. The inspiration for this strategic shift came from a Wendy’s commercial, he says.

“Years ago I was impressed with what Dave Thomas did for Wendy’s — the man behind the product,” he says. “So I am presenting myself as the man behind the candle.”

The Er’go Web site features not only information about the product but also musings by Belasco and an explanation of his philosophy.

Belasco says he hopes to grow the business into bath and body products. But no matter how large the company grows, he is intent on keeping its personal touch.

“This is our small piece of bringing peace on this Earth,” says Belasco. “And if it’s through a candle, if it’s through a smile, if it’s a gift from a loved one, and this just makes your day and lifts your soul — we did it.”