Geismar mom makes success in kitchen

Harold LaCour
Vicki McCarty shows a tray of Fleur de lis shaped aroma bead air fresheners that is ready to go into the oven.

Vicki McCarty, a resident of Old Mill subdivision near Dutchtown High School, is making news by operating a successful business out of her home.

She calls her business “Hangin Around Aromas.”

The product is an ornament that is also an effective air freshener. Officially called “aroma bead air fresheners,” they are a hot item on the market.

Most commonly used in automobiles, the air fresheners are also well suited for use in bathrooms, closets, or hung in windows anywhere in the home. The handmade air fresheners last for several months depending on use, fragrance and exposure. 

McCarty started the business for the simplest and best of reasons, she just liked the product.

The first aroma bead air freshener she ever saw was in a small grocery store in 2006. She purchased several, but many times was not able to purchase exactly what she wanted and she was unable to find anything like these items anywhere else.

So, she decided to look into making them for herself.

After several weeks of searching the Internet with her computer, McCarty figured out what she needed and placed the orders for the raw materials. In August of 2007 the fun of actually manufacturing the ornaments began. 

The aroma beads are all white when McCarty gets them. The first step is to color the beads with the desired colors, and the second step is to add “aroma.” The beads are then put into “cookie cutters” on a baking sheet, and baked in the oven to harden them into a solid shape.

Hangin Around Aromas are best known for the Fleur de lis shape. However, McCarty also makes other shapes, including crown, cross, flower, butterfly, heart, martini glass, dolphin, and breast cancer awareness ribbon.

She makes her air fresheners “part time’, as she also holds down a part time position in the business office at Louisiana Women’s Healthcare Associates on Airline Highway in Baton Rouge, a position she has held for the past 15 years.

McCarty also finds time for being “mom” to her two children; a daughter 16, and a son, 12. She said her son thinks his Mom is the greatest thing on earth, but that her daughter is not so impressed, especially when she is asked to help cook the air fresheners from time to time.

McCarty said she is thankful for the help from her dedicated husband, family and friends that often make deliveries for her throughout the state. 

After making her first batch, she took them to work to show her co-workers and friends. They were an immediate hit and started selling fast right from the start. Now Vicki works through a network of steady retail outlets that include Dutchtown Pharmacy, Tigerbait Sports Apparel, Peerless Dry Cleaners in Baton Rouge, MJ’s in Metairie, Décor and More in Belle Chasse, and others.

She said that customers pay about $5 to $8 depending on the retailer. She has made over 13,000 ornaments since she started producing them in her kitchen.

As attractive as the air fresheners are, the most impressive quality is the aroma, strong but not overbearing. The choice of scents includes Bird of Paradise, Baby Powder, Cherry Crush, Cupid, Cool Water, Clean Cotton, Crème Brulee, Strawberry, Lavender Basil, Harvest, Plumeria, Spiced Cranberry, Very Vanilla, Girly Girl, Romance, and more.

Vicki can make custom air fresheners to match a customer’s car, or to show support for a favorite team such as LSU, the New Orleans Saints, Dutchtown Griffins, East Ascension Spartans or St. Amant Gators.

Anyone can visit Vicki’s Web site, and see photos of the product and a list of the current retailers. Or, order directly from the site.