ready to get lit

New women's-focused DIY candle bar lights up hip Heights men's boutique

New women's-focused DIY candle bar lights up hip Heights men's shop

The Candle Bar Manready Mercantile The Heights shopping candles
Make some candles. Snap some selfies. Repeat. Photo courtesy of Manready Mercantile

Imagine a space that not only helps you live your best life, but lets you show off how beautiful it is to the total envy of your Instagram followers. Now, imagine it’s right here in Houston, in the Heights’ Manready Mercantile.
You’d have The Candle Bar.

Forget what you think you know about candle shops, places where you’re assaulted by scent and cookie-cutter options of wax in big jars or easily nicked tapers. Those teeny white votives in chintzy aluminum lining? Not here.

The Candle Bar is a whole DIY experience, from the second you walk into what owner Travis Weaver calls “a ladies dry goods store.” He opened Manready Mercantile in 2014 as a premium general goods store featuring made-in-the-USA brands and Texas hospitality. While the place was immediately popular, he says he kept getting requests for more items that were female-friendly. His answer: The Candle Bar.

“We’ll treat you to a glass of wine or cocktail of the day while we walk you through scent profiles and show you how to make your own soy candle in a reusable whiskey glass,” Weaver says. “We have customizable labels, so you can take it home to your loved ones or put it in your house.”

Making the candle takes 15 minutes, plus another 30 for it to solidify. The activity will set you back $28 for one candle or $40 for two. Want to make it a gals’ day out? The Candle Bar can be reserved for private parties of up to 30 guests.

But that’s just one aspect of the shop, located on the downstairs level of Manready Mercantile. The 1,000-square-foot space features a vintage Ms. Pac-Man machine (insider tip: bring plenty of quarters). Shoppers will also find everything from cocktail mixers, gourmet chocolates, and food items to women’s travel accessories, custom boutique-style jewelry, and clothing.

And for the active social media set, there’s plenty to post to the IG. Snap a snot of the old-school TV that Weaver found on Craigslist for $20 and refurbished to play movies like Lonesome Dove and Shawshank Redemption. Take a selfie in front of the vintage phone booth found on the side of the road at a flea market. Get your art groove on with an image of the half of a vintage Volkswagen Beetle positioned in front of a hand-painted “Greetings from Texas” mural, made to look like a sunset on a postcard.

“The future of retail is interactive concepts and installations,” Weaver says. “You have to do something that’s different and pops and is unique, otherwise people lose interest or just buy it online.”

The Candle Bar already has attracted celebrity visitors including Joy Williams of Grammy-award winning duo The Civil Wars and Houston musician Hayes Carll.

“It’s a fully interactive shopping experience unlike any other,” says Weaver.

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Hours of operation are Tuesday-Saturday from 10 am to 7 pm and Sunday from 11 am to 6 pm; manready.com; 713-861-6618.