Sheri Dreibelbis’ house stands out from the rest in Howard. For one thing, it’s yellow.
But it’s the smell coming from inside that really makes it special.
Dreibelbis is the owner and chief scent creator of the appropriately named Yellow House Simmering Oils.
For her small business, which she runs from the 100-year-old basement of that yellow house, Dreibelbis blends premium fragrances and essential oils until they smell just like an apple, pumpkin pie or Christmas tree.
The goal is creating realistic fragrances that can fill a house better and last longer than similar wax-based products.
“I go after the ones that are very realistic,” she said. “Macintosh apple for example: smelling this apple smells just like picking it off the tree. That is key to the choices I make. They have to be real smells, not artificial.
“When they walk in, they have to honestly believe you are baking something,” Dreibelbis said.
There are hundreds of thousands of fragrances out there, however, and finding the exact combination that makes her Christmas tree scent smell just like an actual pine forest is a science.
“There’s a lot of trial and error to find the right concentration of ingredients,” she said. “It takes a long time and a lot of thought.”
Dreibelbis isn’t the first to produce simmering oils that can be heated in ceramic warmer. Her inspiration actually came from another simmering-oil maker.
“I have this one bottle of Christmas scent I would savor,” she said. “I probably had it for 20 years.”
But there were few other scents available, and Dreibelbis knew that if she wanted more options, she’d have to make them herself. So, in 2010, she started her own small business from her home in Howard.
For now, she also works a regular job, but the dream is to expand the business so that it’s full-time.
She might be well on her way. This is the first year Dreibelbis will start wholesaling her product. Her scents are going to be on the shelves of Victorian Rose in Bellefonte. She’ll also continue hitting the craft shows, including local events in Bellefonte and Howard.
“But I’m always going to stay small,” she said. “I’m never going to be a Yankee Candle. It’s always in my house, always a small business. I love small businesses and local people. I’m all about that.”
— Matt Carroll