While on a trip to Kiawah Island in South Carolina in June of 2020, Montclair resident Deanna Crtichley stumbled upon a custom candle bar and immediately fell in love with the concept.
Six months later, Critchley began drawing up plans for her own custom candle bar in Montclair – leaving a 25 year career as a practicing attorney to pursue her passion project.
On July 1, 2021, just over a year after first envisioning it, Alchemy Scent Bar opened its fragrant doors at 30 Church Street.
“There is no other business like mine in the area and I truly believed that Montclair residents would embrace the concept and the aesthetic of my business,” Critchley said. “The vibe and the true sense of community in Montclair makes it a wonderful place to open a small business.”
Alchemy Scent Bar offers an interactive, creative and custom sensory experience for all ages and genders. Upon entering the scent bar, customers are greeted with the scent wall, featuring over 100 different smells to indulge in. Patrons can take their time experiencing as many scents as they’d like, jotting down their favorites. After picking scents they like, customers head over to the bar where an alchemist helps them decide which of their favorite smells would go well together to create their own unique custom scent. With that scent, the customer can then create their own candles in various vessels, aromatic mists, reed diffusers, hand soaps, hand sanitizers and more. The candles take about an hour or two to harden, making the scent bar a perfect pre-dinner activity in which candles can be picked up after dining.
“Our shop is warm and welcoming with music playing and friendly alchemists who are eager to help customers,” said Critchley.
In true Montclair fashion, Alchemy Scent Bar has become embraced by the community and is partnering with other local businesses. The Sign Bar has been one of those collaborations in which Alchemy Scent Bar hosts a Signs and Scents Workshop – patrons create their own candle and then learn to create a customized wood sign while waiting for their candle to harden.
Critchley’s store has become a total family affair – her husband assists in sales, her son works part time at the store and close friends are always around to lend a hand.
As far as leaving her attorney career of 25 years to open up Alchemy, “it was and still is the most exciting thing I’ve ever done,” Critchley said. “It’s also somewhat scary and there is definitely a learning curve as I’ve never run my own business before. But I truly believed in my concept and design and I just knew that people in my community would love it too.”
For those who need a quick gift and don’t have time to create their own, Alchemy offers pre-made products and gift certificates. The scent bar can also provide favors for weddings and other events as well as white label products for businesses. In addition, the space can be booked for private parties, team-building activities and fundraising events.
“The residents of Montclair and its neighboring towns have embraced our concept, love our aesthetic and return again and again to support our business,” Critchley said. “It’s truly been a breath of fresh air. We could not be happier with our choice to open Alchemy Scent Bar in Montclair.”