WHY CANDLES AND WHY NOW?
In my early teens, before starting my homework in the evenings, I would lay out my books and assignments, and line up my pencils and coloured highlighters. But the best part of my preparation would be lighting a candle on my desk. That dancing flame focused all my energy in this small space that I could claim as my own, if only for a short time.
Over the years, the quality of the candles improved, but to this day, the small act of lighting a candle continues to conjure up feelings of escape from the outside world. I scatter flickering tea lights around a bath laced with aromatherapy oils, or light a luxurious scented candle while nursing a glass of wine, engrossed in a book.
I love that such a small object holds the power to transform a space and instil warmth and calm.
I wanted to make candles years ago at a time when our London pop-up shops were starting to gain traction. Between customer conversations and managing the store, I would attempt to sit and work on this project, but there was never enough time to devote. During the months when the store was closed, I instead focused on our main handbag collections, developing new colours and styles which meant that unfortunately, the candle project fell by the wayside as the rhythm of our stores and building our accessories collections took over.
And the pandemic hit, changing the world overnight and our lives almost overnight. Despite the difficulties and problems we all faced, I am grateful that it did give me the time to slow down and find the creative space to work on and develop my love of candles. And what better time when we all long for a bit of comfort and escapism.
WHERE TO START?
I wanted to create unisex candles that were unique, personal and, staying true to my brand ideals, the highest quality. So as with all my projects, I started with education.
I enrolled in an online fragrance creation course which first trained my nose to learn a host of scents both familiar and unfamiliar to me over the span of several weeks. Then I learned to write my own fragrance briefs and use this to create, mix and refine my own formulas. The whole course was a wonderful 2-month journey of discovery, and when it was finished, I was excited to apply my newfound knowledge.
Although my leather accessories are all made in Italy, I wanted to produce my candles closer to home. I spoke with a number of UK candle makers and, at first, I looked for an existing fragrance that would fit into the briefs that I had developed. However, my search proved in vain, as nothing was quite right.
I decided to take my learnings and develop my own formulas to create fragrances that are more personal and tell a story.
I felt as though I was back in chemistry class weighing, measuring and tweaking my scent formulas, but it has been such a rewarding endeavour. I then searched for a UK fragrance lab and then also found a perfect partner in a small East London candle-maker who was extremely honest, knowledgable and dedicated to making a premium quality product.
WHAT GOES INTO A PREMIUM CANDLE?
Many commercial candles are made from paraffin wax as it allows producers to use less fragrance to achieve a good “scent throw”. The downside is that you are burning a derivative of petroleum oil, which can give off harmful fumes in your home. In addition, some lower-end candles may contain a lower percentage of fragrance and only focus on one or two ingredients like vanilla or peach.
Our hand-poured candles are made in East London from 100% vegan wax, which is a blend of rapeseed and coconut waxes, and use a cotton wick to ensure a clean burn. Additionally, we contain a higher percentage of our fragrance to ensure a strong, lasting scent throw. Each of the formulas I have developed is a combination of 10 to 15 different scents that I hope will take you on a journey.
WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION?
With our accessories collections, my inspiration comes from shapes and colours that I see, whether on buildings or in nature. However, my candle inspirations came not from something that I saw, but from feelings and memories. I am an avid traveller and I love how a smell can conjure up so many things and transport us to another place. There was no question that the first places I wanted to bring to life are the two places in the world I have been lucky enough to call home: Primrose Hill in London and the West Village in New York.
I am so proud of the capsule candle line that I have created. Our two unisex candles are hand-poured in vegan wax and feature luxury, minimalist packaging with an insert detailing the inspirations for each candle. I hope you will love them and that they will transport you to another place...another feeling…
Stay tuned for our next blog post which will introduce our two candles fragrances in detail launching in June.