The Story of Shadowlight Creations
Welcome to Shadowlight Creations!
About the Owner
My name is Damon Phelps, the owner and sole member of this humble shop. I am FTM (female to male) transgender, an animal lover, a crafter, candlemaker, and watercolor artist.
This humble shop has been a passion project of mine since 2010, when I was in my sophomore year of high school. It began as a hobby to keep me busy. At the time I was making palm wax and paraffin wax candles to gift to my fellow classmates and teachers. It was something fun and entertaining to do, and the gifts were well appreciated by those that received them.
Once high school ended and I entered the new and fast paced world of college I had to put candle making on hold. Universities don't usually allow candles in dorm rooms, and I was living on campus. To make up for it I did art and dabbled in crochet for a time, trying to make an extra buck to pay off my college debts and to help pay for those all too expensive course books. Originally I entered college for Baking and Pastry, but an ankle injury in 2013 forced me to change course to Business Administration. I have to say, it may have been a blessing in disguise.
After college graduation I started to spend more time on bettering myself and exploring who I was and who I wanted to be. It was during that time that I realized I was transgender. There were rough patches during the transition. Fear of losing my job (I didn't, but so many others in the community do during their transitions), of losing friends and family. While I did lose a few people along the way, it's likely for the best. I don't think people should surround themselves with others who wont support you for who you are.
By 2019 I had fully medically transitioned. It was around that time that I picked the candle-making and art up again, more seriously this time. I started doing commissions for friends and family, and painted a mural for Ziggy's Haven Parrot Sanctuary in their new location in Inverness, Florida.
About the Candles and Collections We Make!
I started thinking about creating not just candles, but candle collections. Themed candles. Soon, the Explorer Collection was formed! I had help from friends to make the labels and designs (check out their DA Here) but the scents and general theme were unique to me and things that interested me. I wanted it to be like a mini expedition, especially since it was created during Covid-19 when most people were stuck at home. I also wanted it to be safe for birds, because we own birds and other animals. The gems we use for our Explorer Collection come from a local business as well, and we're proud we have the opportunity to work with them. You can check out Gail's Rock Shop Here.
The candles that we make at Shadowlight Creations are made with 100% Soy Wax. This was a deliberate choice, as paraffin wax is toxic to birds. With prolonged use it is also harmful to people and other pets, but birds especially. We also ensure that the scents that we use are carcinogen free, phthalate free, and free of other toxins commonly used in fragrances. We wanted a product that would be good for everyone, including pets of all sorts. While this isn't the most cost effective route, it is the most ecologically friendly route. We also use cotton and paper core wicks and do not use zinc core wicks. We don't use uv stabilizers, vybar, or any other additives in our products. We also make a conscious effort to ensure that our raw materials are coming from US owned and operated locations and not from overseas.
Recyclability is another thing that we look at when choosing our packing materials. The materials that we use are either sourced from pre-recycled materials or are recyclable themselves, or a mix of both! We encourage people to find creative and unique ways to recycle their materials, like turning the metal tins from our Explorer Collection into trinket containers or using them in craft projects.
Why make them safe for birds?
The folks at Ziggy's Haven are another reason I started looking at candles more seriously. They rescue parrots from all walks of life, and take on parrots that are surrendered by those who can no longer care for them. They also offer services like beak, wing, and nail trims as well as ensuring parrots in low income housing get food, because they want to make sure that if a parrot is in a good home it stays in that home with the people the bird cares for and knows the best (This is called their Angel Fund). The owner wanted to offer the soy candles that I make in their shop as an education point because they have had parrot owners unknowingly place their birds at harm by using paraffin wax candles near them.
Unfortunately parrots lungs are small compared to their body size. They're also not great at filtering out toxins, and anything inhaled metabolizes directly into their bloodstream. Paraffin wax is a petroleum or shale derived product depending on the way it is manufactured, but both are toxic to birds and can result in death when used near a parrot. My family has parrots we've adopted from Ziggy's Haven in our home.
My own companion is an African Gray that is over 50 years old. I wanted to do whatever I could to support them, and to help educate people on the dangers of using paraffin around birds so I agreed. This is another reason I've taken the eco-friendly approach for Shadowlight's goods. If a candle isn't safe for a bird, imagine what it could do to a person with prolonged use! My candles can be found at Ziggy's Haven Parrot Sanctuary in Inverness, Florida to date. The staff there educates on safe practices and on what is harmful or safe for birds. They also offer tours, so go check them out if you're in the area! You'll find Shadowlight Creations products in their lobby area, so give those a sniff while you're there too.
Thanks to Ziggy's Haven's continued support, and the support of friends and family, Shadowlight Creations now has LLC status! This exciting venture has brought about this website, which will be improved upon as time goes on.
A portion of our sales gets donated to Ziggy's Haven Parrot Sanctuary for the continued enrichment and improvement of outdoor aviaries and indoor spaces.
In addition to the candles, I also make watercolor art and do acrylic pours. These were hobbies picked up after my grandmother passed away in 2018. You'll find some of these pieces listed in the shop too. I've also done pet portrait commissions, one of which you can find here on my YouTube channel.
While we do not have a physical shop space yet, we hope to one day open a physical location. Until then, we will periodically update where our candles can be found. Ziggy's Haven Parrot Sanctuary in Inverness, Florida and Gypsy Farm and Feed in Lake City, Florida are currently two locations you can find our products in person.
Life is about the pursuit of happiness and challenging yourself and others to do better and to be better. Chase your goals, no matter how far fetched they seem to be. Thank you for supporting us and keeping us going. We couldn't do it without our customers.