Scentsy’s origin story

Scentsy Home Office

How did Scentsy start?

Eighteen years ago, Heidi and Orville Thompson became co-owners of Scentsy. Today, with the 73-acre Scentsy home office campus and Consultants, customers and employees around the world, it’s hard to imagine what those early days were like. Before the Thompsons became leaders of this global company, they were a couple determined to swing for the fences.

The very beginning

Orville became an entrepreneur when he was about 10 years old — convincing his father to start raising sheep. The idea was a sheer success, and by the time Orville was a high school senior, he had $14,000 in his bank account. After graduating, he married his sweetheart, Heidi, and earned his college degree. Along the way, the couple would work weekends with Heidi’s father, selling various products at fairs and home shows.

Troubled waters

The world of business wasn’t always smooth sailing for the Thompsons. After the tragic events of 9/11, Orville struggled as an entrepreneur. He and Heidi had maxed out their personal finances and credit limits trying to keep their business of selling goods at fair booths and kiosks afloat. Saddled with significant debt, the couple considered leaving entrepreneurship entirely.

Orville fist bumping two other women

Orville didn’t sugarcoat the situation. He asked Heidi, “What should we do? We can either file bankruptcy or we can swing for the fences.”  To which Heidi replied, “We are going to swing really hard.” They got their chance in 2004, when Orville met two Utah entrepreneurs with a bright idea.

The scent of success

Scentsy’s roots began in 2003 when founders Kara Egan and Colette Gunnell came up with the powerfully simple idea of wickless candles: Decorative warmers that used a light bulb to melt scented wax rather than an open flame.

From this idea, Scentsy was born. Working from their office in Colette’s basement, the two Utah moms launched their small business. Eventually, they brought their creations to a home show in Salt Lake City, where their booth was set up directly across from none other than Orville Thompson.

The first Scentsy party

After meeting Kara and Colette, Orville was fascinated by their wickless candles and took a warmer, several wax bars and some fragrance testers to share with Heidi. A few days later, Heidi showed these products to her mom and sister, and had a great time doing it! All three sat and reminisced, sharing what each fragrance reminded them of. Orville was touched by the cozy scene and intrigued by how natural it was to share those feelings and memories with others in a party environment.

Scentsy Origins: The original Scentsy factory

Swinging for the fences

Heidi and Orville realized they’d found something special — it was time to swing, and swing hard. On May 1, 2004, they bought the company from Kara and Colette, becoming Scentsy’s co-owners and shaping the company we know today.

Of course, success didn’t come overnight — we could fill many more blog posts with Scentsy’s journey from a shipping container on Heidi and Orville’s sheep farm to an international leader in the home fragrance industry. But at the start of May every year, we trace our roots back to this humble beginning — when a couple, inspired by the power of fragrance, swung for the fences and hit a home run.

When did you first discover Scentsy? Let us know your Scentsy origin story in the comments!

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