This monthly blog from The Maker City features a look at some of the Knoxville area’s outstanding makers – artists, crafters, and custom builders. This month’s blog introduces three area makers who excel at the art of beautiful scents.  ​

o	candles and wax melts from Southern Porch Scents based in Knoxville, TN Southern Porch Scents

Trisha Gantt, Southern Porch Scents 
Trisha Gantt

How did you get started as a candlemaker? 
In 2012, I was a working mom, carrying two part-time jobs in order to fit around my son’s activities when a virus attacked my heart, causing permanent damage. I was home for a year, and during that time of recovery from an ICD implant, I began to wish for a paraffin-free candle to enjoy on the back porch. That led to the idea of pulling together all the elements needed to create it. After hours of exploration and testing of fragrance and essential oils, plus finding the perfect wick and wax, the idea conceived on the porch became a small business in 2015. 

What do you make, and how? 
Each candle is hand-poured in small batches with reusable or recycled glass containers. Wax made from American-grown soy - a renewable resource - is blended with premium, skin-safe fragrances, and essential oils. 

Where are your products offered for sale?  
My website and the following Knoxville locations: the Southern Market, Rocky Hill Pharmacy, Urban Market Knoxville (West Town Mall).  Outside of Knoxville: The Tattered Peacock (Harriman), Markets On Broadway (Lenoir City), Gentry Mercantile at Foothills Mall (Maryville), Smoky Mtn Art Gallery (Gatlinburg), Mountain Brothers General Store (Townsend). 

Trisha Gantt spent her early years in Knoxville playing outside, drinking from the hose, and chasing fireflies. Her family spent lots of time in the Great Smoky Mountains, attending Tennessee Volunteer football games and sledding the big hills around the neighborhood in winter. A life-changing health event led to the formation of her own business. 

She lives in the foothills of East Tennessee with her husband and son, and enjoys attending arts and craft shows, “reaching out to the community and putting candles into the hands of new friends.”  

All Purpose spray cleaner from Molly Brown's Essential Experience based in Knoxville, TN Molly Brown

Mary Phipps,  Molly Brown’s Essential Experience

Mary Phipps

How did you get started with essential oils? 
I have been in love with essential oils as long as I can remember. About 20 years ago I started really researching the properties of oils and then, spurred by the opioid epidemic, I started blending them for specific purposes. Losing family and friends was my fuel. 

My Omega Pain products were the beginning of Molly Brown’s Essential Experience in 2005, and the business is named after my great-grandmother. She was an herbalist, and I think I got some of her DNA, or I like to believe it anyway. 

What do you make, and how? 
Herbal and essential oil products for pain, skin issues, and anxiety. I craft balms, sprays, lotions, and massage oils, always for a purpose.  

Where are your products offered for sale? 
I had been selling at the Market Square Farmers Market for 13 years until COVID-19 threw me a curve. I’ll be back there this summer at Mary Costa Plaza!  I also sell on my website. My Fido’s line for dogs is at CitiFid-O, 429 Union Avenue. 

Mary Phipps was born and raised in Atlanta but fell in love with Knoxville when she came to visit in 1974 and moved here shortly after. The mother of two grown children has worked as a supervisor in a manufacturing plant, and she ran her own private investigator firm before opening Molly Brown’s Essential Experience. “I really did like the P.I. work. Essential oils had always been a hobby for me. My pain products are what I started with, and they’ve helped so many people. You know, your path’s going to change a lot of times, and the best thing to do is just go with it. I ended up where I needed to be.”  

Mango Papaya Soap from Harper's Naturals based in Knoxville, TN Peppermint Body Scrub from Harper's Naturals based in Knoxville, TN

Tanika Harper, Harper’s Naturals

Tanika Harper

How did you get started as a maker of body/skincare products? 
I was diagnosed with Sjogren's, an autoimmune disease that dries up the mucus-producing glands, causing joint and muscle pain and heightened inflammation. Chemically-infused cosmetic products increase the problems; therefore, I needed to eliminate chemicals on my skin. Harper's Naturals was ultimately created so I could trust the ingredients in every product, and have healthy skin.   

What do you make, and how?  
We make natural, nontoxic skincare products, including but not limited to soap, age-defying serum, moisturizer, lip balm, bath bombs, and deodorant. Over 50% are made by hand; others are outsourced.    

Where are your products offered for sale?  
Mast General, and on Etsy at Harper's Naturals Skincare. 

Tanika Harper owns four small businesses and is one of the featured entrepreneurs at, sponsored by the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center. She is a Knoxville native, a proud graduate of Austin East High School and the University of Tennessee, and holds an M.S in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati. The mom and social justice advocate says, “My passion and purpose is to serve the community and advocate for those in the margins, and to teach my daughter the importance of doing the same.”