Inspirations Today and Signa Scents

Tucked inside the quaint cottage-style stores in Olde Southport Village Shoppes, Inspirations Today awaits shoppers with a plethora of unique items. Since its inception, owner Candy Padgett has been committed to purveying one-of-a-kind finds, many of which have special meaning and give back to communities across the world.

Of course, that’s not all this burgeoning businesswoman is known for. Padgett also creates her own line of vegan salves, soaps and other body products called Signa Scents. Essential oils soothe in her southeastern North Carolina-based line.

I got to know Padgett’s purpose a little better in this month’s Biz Q&A. For more info, visit Inspirations Today at 1102 N. Howe St. in Southport, call (910) 805-4027, or visit

Southport Magazine (SM): You were once in the corporate world but you knew you wanted to go back into business for yourself. Tell me why you enjoy being your own boss.
Candy Padgett (CP): This all goes back to what our purpose and motives are for being in business. For me it’s much broader than just being a business owner. My passion is helping others, making a difference in this world, and giving back. I search out unique items of quality that you don’t find in every shop around the corner, but that also blesses others by giving back to their cause or community. I also love being able to carry many handmade items. It’s exciting when my customers “get the vision,” and really enjoy their experience of shopping knowing it’s all top quality, but with real purpose behind it.

Both businesses were God-inspired, with Inspirations Today dating back to 2000, which I forgot about until He brought it to my attention again in January of 2012. Signa Scents was born on the 4th of July in 2010, when I started out of my kitchen and dining room in Wilmington, NC, after selling my rental property in my hometown of Fayetteville, NC, and investing a large portion of the profits. It grew with wholesale accounts like Wild Dunes Resort in Charleston, SC; Polka Dot Palms in Porters Neck; and Carolina Farmin’ in Wilmington, all while continuously developing the website and having Tickled Pink ask us to join them in the launch of their business in 2011. We still maintain our Wilmington Tickled Pink location in Lumina Station, near Wrightsville Beach. Our website at is always available 24/7. We still do various wholesale projects, and “custom” personal orders with personalized labels for parties, holidays, weddings, retreats and more. You can always find all of our vegan and organic soaps and body products in Tickled Pink, along with a few other things along the way.

Just about the time I could catch my breath and Signa Scents was up and successfully running, Inspirations Today was birthed in January of 2012. It truly is the sort of business that has to have an explanation for all it represents, and that passion resides in me.

So, God opened the door in Southport where He has blessed both businesses in every way! It has been exciting to watch them grow, still, with strong hopes of a future with a full location in the Wilmington market while maintaining our Southport shop. Though my extended family had nothing to do with my businesses landing in Southport, it’s ironic really how my mother was born and raised in Brunswick County. With her maiden name being Rivenbark, our roots run deep here. I enjoyed many summers in and on the waterways of the Holden Beach area, and Sunset Harbor, where my father’s mother still owns a vacation cottage.

Candy Padgett, owner of Inspirations Today and Signa Scents, followed her heart and started businesses that spread good through the world. Photo by Kris Beasley

Candy Padgett, owner of Inspirations Today and Signa Scents, followed her heart and started businesses that spread good through the world. Photo by Kris Beasley

SM: What sorts of items do you offer in your store? What is one of your favorite gift items and why?
CP: You will find beautifully jarred soy candles that feed an orphan for a day and many hand-blown glass items, including Tear  Bottles which is a 3,000-year-old lost tradition, locally-made sea turtle hatchlings and pendants, as well as sealife ornaments. We carry USA hand-embroidered fine white PJ’s and dresses for women and girls, and tunics/dresses, including some from India—it can take them weeks to do one. We have “Snoozies” slippers for babies, toddlers, tweens, women and men. Hats, scarves, and rugs from recycled material, made in small villages around the world. “Story Bracelets” made with freshwater pearls and pewter from a CA company that prides itself in hiring low-income and single moms. Hand-stamped copper jewelry, and fun clips, keychains and bookmarks made with clay. “Grow Bottles,” which made Oprah’s “O List,” for growing herbs in your own kitchen, and “Blooms in a Bag,” perfect for many occasions. One-of-a-Kind “Twoolies,” stuffed animals made by the Mayan Weavers. Hand-painted wine glasses and fun beachy items of all sorts. Fun and inspirational kitchen spatulas and natural loofahs shaped like fish and sand dollars. Chalkboard napkin ring holders from recycled metal; trivets and platters, many hand-painted and inspirational. Metal artwork made by the Haitians from 55-gallon steel drums; vintage and fine jewelry; motivational and executive gifts; hand-spun pens made from exotic woods, acrylics with Swarovski crystals; exotic bird feathers and real shotgun shells.

We have a variety of baby gift items, including picture frames, blankets, burp clothes, neck and Toothfairy pillows, some of which are scripture-based. Christian t-shirts, journals, and car-window decals which support the local homeless ministry. Garden stones and wind chimes of all types, and a variety of home decor pictures, all of which are USA-made.

My favorite item, currently, is the Lokai balance bracelet, which contains one bead with water from Mt. Everest and one bead with mud from The Dead Sea, which are the highest and lowest points of the earth. It reminds us that sometimes in life we are on top, but to stay humble, and when we are on bottom, stay hopeful—it’s our journey, we write our own story, but always go full-circle with ups and downs. I wear my balance bracelet daily.

SM: Tell me about Signa Scents and your commitment to vegan-based body products. What’s your favorite Signa Scent product?
CP: From the inception of Signa Scents in 2010, it has always been vegan, meaning all of the body products are made with vegetable-based ingredients (never animal by-products), and many of them are also all organic. With our skin being our largest organ of the body, it is a very important part of our daily health. Coming from a skincare background, previously traveling and managing for Lancome, I came to love the fact that I could create wonderful skincare and body products from organic ingredients without preservatives, and not have to sell them for $80 a jar!

The commitment runs deep for me, most recently taking my favorite product, “Signa Soothe” to all organic oils. My latest investment was $3,000 on just the 14 organic essential oils that go into this salve that helps so many people across the nation, with all sorts of pain. It is especially good for arthritis, neuropathy, fibromyalgia, and plantar fasciitis. It also helps open up sinus cavities and chest congestion, helps psoriasis, and heals up scar tissue beautifully after surgery, with testimonies on boils, fever blisters and more.

We are currently filing for a patent on this wonderful, lightweight salve that absorbs so nicely. There are a total of 20 natural ingredients in this product, and while The USDA “organic” label is not a cheap one for many reasons, it ensures my customers there are no chemicals used in the process of growing or steam-distilling these oils from plants and flowers. The medicinal effects may be the same, but this is “extra insurance” for them as we now know pesticides are the underlying issues for many health problems today.

Most of my “medicinal products” came from a need, which is my passion—being able to help others! We have a full line of over 100 products which you can view on our website, or at either our Southport or Wilmington locations, many of which are fun and whimsical. All are made with top quality ingredients, but the medicinal ones are my love, with a natural deodorant currently on the menu which will fight the bacteria that causes body odor instead of blocking the pores.

SM: You’ve got a Signa Scents line for dogs, too—what kind of products does that include?
CP: We currently offer the “Pampered Paws Collection,” which includes an organic soap (lathers wonderfully), a salve/lotion (we call it ‘perfume’) which is great for their coats and skin including hot spots and sensitive areas, and an all-natural flea and tick repellent. All are made with many essential oils and neem oil, which is known for its healing properties and repelling fleas and ticks.

You cannot use this line on cats, as straight essential oils can kill a cat. Their systems are very different than a dog.  However, by request, we will be adding a “feline” version this winter, which is still made with essential oils, but a watered-down version, making it very safe for our kitties.

SM: How will you be looking to grow Inspirations Today in the future?
CP: We have expanded a good bit this year, adding a beautiful line of clothes for women and girls, including larger 2x and 3x sizes, from Gretchen Scott Designs. We look forward to adding more of that with other clothing, along with more items in general for men and boys, as well as more unique finds along the way! While we enjoy our location at Tickled Pink, we also look forward to a full location to include both businesses in Wilmington at some point, while maintaining our Southport shop.

Favorite food: Organic soups, chilies, salads, filet mignon, and red wine
Favorite book: The Bible—it truly has answers for every area of my life. And many inspirational and motivational books!
Favorite music: Contemporary Christian, jazz, and classical
Favorite place to travel: Costa Rica
Favorite thing about Southport: My customers and God’s simple beauty!

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