By Julia Jones, Correspondent
What’s that smell? One of the few stores in Belton that truly makes scents.
Bell Soap and Candle, a new homemade soap and candle store, opened three weeks ago on N East St. in Belton. They offer a wide range of specialty scents crafted by the owner, Janine Mathis. She is excited to share her expertise in aromatherapy with the Central Texas community and hopes that her doctrine of honest hard work will be noticeable.
“I want to run my business on honesty and integrity. I have high hopes that that is going to work,” Mathis said. “If I continue conducting my business with honesty and integrity, people will see it and will appreciate it more.”
Mathis moved to Texas with her husband 21 years ago but was born and raised in Australia. It was there that she developed a passion for scent at only 18 months old.
“I was really upset one day for some weird reason, I can’t remember why, and [my grandmother] made me walk around the garden with her and smell every single flower and every single plant,” Mathis said. “And when we got to the end of it she said, ‘See, don’t you feel better?’”
She crafts soaps almost daily with materials from all around the nation with goat’s milk from Soggy Bottom Goat Farm in Temple. Her creations are made with every small detail in mind, and Mathis accepts feedback from customers to continue making improvements to her products.
With titles such as “Unicorn Soap” and “Monkey Farts,” her artsy soaps are creative and different from the norm. Mathis’s favorite soap is called “Happy Hippy” and its scent is made out of spearmint and patchouli oil. Her inspiration for this product was a desire to create something that would make the user joyful.
“Scent can help lift you up from the deepest lows,” Mathis said. “Aromatherapy can bring you out of the depth of depression.”
Mathis cites her work in soap-making as a method of coping with the tragedy of losing her oldest son five years ago. Her shop, she says, is a way of expressing herself and helping her heal. Assisting others that have gone through a tragic time in their lives has become a passion of hers. She wants to help the people of Belton specifically because of the unique feeling of community she experiences there.
“It’s like the past meets the present. People from all walks of life are here, with different beliefs but most of all people are friendly, honest and boy, they have fun,” Mathis said. “We are honored to live in a town where our children can go downtown, have lunch with her friends, shop and be safe.”