Dave Clark said he believes the all-natural ingredient and integrity of his product sets Wicks Studio apart from competitors.
David Clark mixes a little bit of this, some of that and keeps on churning until he gets it just right. That's his plan — experimentation.
What started as a one-off joke to his ex-wife has turned into an ambitious effort to improve the aroma for those around him at Kerrville's Wicks Studios — a wonder for those connected to their olfactory senses.
Wicks Studios, 320 W. Water St., is part aromatherapy, part bath bomb, part natural healing store and 100% passion. Since launching in 2014, Clark has endured two bouts of cancer, a move and a divorce — and a worldwide pandemic. But he's still making scented candles, essential oils and lotions.
He's also making plans.
With more than 1,000 products, Clark sees an opportunity to scale his business beyond Kerr County. His Water Street store — just near the Five Points area and Junction Highway — is well stocked and ready for walk-ins to enjoy the experience. However, Clark and his business partners Becka and James Hill, believe the scalable opportunities rest in San Antonio and beyond.
"From our feedback, San Antonio is the next step," Clark said. "We'd open a retail store and into franchising."
The Hills came along about a year ago, and the Kerrville couple has provided a boost in retail and marketing expertise.
"The ideas he had for expanding the business and the ideas he was accepting from us to increase some of the product levels, and at one point he said why don't you guys come on board," Becka Hill said.
Nowadays, the trio is busily working to make the shop a destination for those who want gifts, refill scents, or buy candles. Clark is prolific, and there's plenty of product to display, sample and test.
"I'm literally sitting on a gold mine, and that needs to explode," Clark said.
Becka Hill agrees.
"We have loyal customers," she said.
Clark's journey started when he suggested to his former wife, a real estate agent, that she should fill up one of her homes with scented candles. It was a joke, but his ex-wife took him seriously.
"She said so me what you're talking about," Clark said. "That's exactly how this started."
Dave Clark and Becka Hill talk about product placed at Wicks Studios in Kerrville.
So, Clark had to deliver. Now, nearly a decade later, Clark is mixing products in a small workroom just off of the retail store. He experiments with all-natural ingredients and works to get the right scent on all of his creations.
"I started fine-tuning and finding out what's what because you smell one fragrance from a distributor, and he's got another fragrance, and you wonder why there's such a dramatic difference in the smell," Clark explained. "It has to do with how they're manufactured and how they're made."
Clark's emphasis is on quality and integrity.
"Some of the big essential oils, I'm not going to name names, but they will water them down," Clark said. "With me I keep as pure and natural as I possibly can."
Wicks Studio has traveled across the state for the last few years, selling their wares at arts and craft shows and other events. It has become a significant income stream, and the Hills are at more events around the state. Before the coronavirus pandemic, Clark would sell at more than 100 shows per year, but that stopped for him with the onset of COVID-19.
"I've made it through two rounds of cancer, divorce and this COVID transition — there's no way to navigate this," Clark said.
Clark and the Hills plan to navigate moving forward through growth — most likely through investment.
"I've got the business plan if anyone wants to see it," Becca Hill said.
Because, as Clark said, they all believe their future is gold scented — or cash. For now, however, they will be more than happy to sell you a beautiful candle or a calming lotion. Just make sure to check out their store, which is carefully curated by James Hill, because if you enjoy smelling good, this will be the place to see.