We skipped out on this for the February box so this time around we've interviewed not one but two of our wonderful suppliers - the other one will be coming up in the next week so look out for it!
For our Magical Lands box we were lucky enough to get the wonderful Elle of Good Book Hunting to create an exclusive candle for us. She was an absolute delight to work with and I was really excited to find out more about her process.
When did you first start making candles and what prompted you to start?
I first started making candles 15 years ago. I've always been a crafty, creative person, so this was one more craft to try. It was fun, I was using paraffin wax at the time, soy wax probably hadn't been invented then, and I just made regular candles, not book-inspired candles. I gave them out as Christmas presents and everyone loved them. Unfortunately, I had a slight accident with some spilled wax which I thought was no big deal until I realised it had all run into the sink and down the drain... where it set solid in the pipe! I had to call my brother who had some plumbing equipment and we managed to force this "pillar candle" through the pipes and out the drain in the garden, where it emerged as a solid pipe-shaped chunk of wax. I was banned from candle-making for a while after that lol. Then a few years ago, when soy wax became more readily available, I decided to dust off my equipment and start again - nowhere near the sink I should add!
Your candles are inspired by books. What was the first book you remember loving?
Probably the Chronicles of Narnia or Anne of Green Gables. I remember reading both of those over and over. I was the youngest so the books were handed down to me from older siblings and were a bit battered and "well loved". I used to read Narnia, all seven books, finish with the Last Battle, and then start over with the Magician's Nephew, and read them all again.
Can you tell us a little more about the process involved in what you do?
The process actually starts long before I make any actual candles. We have a yearly schedule and brainstorm ideas for new scents and new candles, including concept and label design, well in advance. Then comes a period of testing - a lot of testing - testing containers, testing wax, testing wicks, testing fragrances. After all the hard work is done, we get to the actual fun stuff - the candle making! We pour all our candles by hand in small batches in our candle kitchen. We only use 100% natural soy wax, high quality fragrance oils that are especially designed for soy wax, and all of our products are vegan and cruelty free. Once the candles are poured, they are left to cure, and it's during this time that the scent really develops and then the kitchen smells amazing!
What's your favourite thing about running your business?
I've been running my business for five years now and it's the best decision I've ever made. I have a job that I love, I get to create things every day, set my own hours, and I don't have to commute! I can also be very flexible with my time. Of course when you run your own business, you tend to work more hours than the average person, but it can be very rewarding, and you know that all that extra work is helping to build your own business.
We love to hear people's book recommendations. What are some of your favourites?
Oh no, there are way too many, old and new! I run a book group and usually read over 100 books a year, so that's a lot of books to choose from! Recent favourites are Hanya Yanagihara - A Little Life, a huge book, fantastic heartbreaking story, Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night, a sweet story about older people finding love in their twilight years (soon to be a Netflix movie), Genevieve Cognan - Invisible Library series because who doesn't like books about magical libraries! Jodi Taylor's Chronicles of St Mary's time travel series is really fun, and Maggie Stiefvater's Raven Cycle - I loved that so much I named my kittens "Richard Campbell Gansey III" and "Blue Lily" lol. Oh and I have a complete list of my favourite books and series here because there are lots!
Thank you so much Elle for answering our questions and creating such an amazing candle for us to put in our box! If you want more book recommendations we're compiling a Goodreads list of all the recommendations from our suppliers and authors - find it here.