Endless Candles; from the adorable vessels they are poured into to the beautiful aromas they create, they are the essence of splendour. Mary from Endless Candles shares a little insight into the ‘Endless Candle’ story with us.
Endless Candles original was the name of a boutique gift shop in Picton, NSW that Mary and her family ran, starting 15 years ago. The store quite literally had an ‘endless supply of candles’. The transition from retailer to manufacturer occurred 8 years ago when they experienced a lack of supply from their suppliers. "We actually started making candles purely because there was a period of a few months where a lot of our suppliers went out of business and my customers were so upset that they couldn’t get their favourite fragrances, so we decided to make them ourselves in the kitchen!" From there the business has boomed and now "we’re the largest contract manufacturer on the east coast of Australia".
Endless Candles is a family run business based in the Southern Highlands of NSW. Mary and her brother oversee the daily operation of the company with the accompaniment of their parents. They also have another 6 staff to assist with the production of the candles. What is Mary’s favourite part of her workspace? Her dual monitors, allowing her to complete the design work from labels to packaging. All set atop her ‘huge desk’ giving her plenty of room to work on her mood boards and designs. Mary also uses whiteboards "for when I’m writing copy, I’m old school and still think pen on paper is the best way to write so I dump it all there, refine it and then type it into whatever medium I’m working on at the time."
"I have such a passion for what I do that I never feel like I’m coming to work. Being able to create and run this national company… it’s an amazing feeling." Finding ongoing inspiration from current trends and adding her own twist Mary states, "I’m always looking for the next best thing and applying that to my ranges". Describing the candles as "innovative, timeless, trendy and sustainable" it doesn’t come without challenges to create these beauties. Mary has found the biggest challenge differentiating Endless Candles from the rest of the hand poured candles on the market. "I’ve just spent the last year ripping apart my brand and rebuilding it from scratch but before I could do that, I had to work out what our point of difference was and find a way to reflect that in everything I do. That was hard, but once I worked it out everything else just fell into place."
And finally, Mary’s words to live by; "Have a dream so big it scares you."
Nothing beats walking into a room to be greeted by a beautiful aroma, but who’s creating these aromas and what’s inspiring them? We had a chat with Maison Blanches’ very own Kristy to find what’s behind her beautiful brand of hand poured candles.
Every business needs a name so where does the name Maison Blanche originate? It was Kristy’s mum that gave her the idea when she explained whilst brainstorming name ideas “nothing is going to feel like you unless it’s about cats or politics”. (Kristy has a cat called Mr. President.) Thus the name was born ‘Mr. President is a white cat. The real President lives in the White House. White House in French is Maison Blanche.
Kristy started Maison Blanche in 2012 after an unsuccessful ‘quest to find the perfect Vanilla Bean fragrance to burn in my room at night….that is where the magic began’. Describing the Maison Blanche range as ‘simple, versatile, affordable and classic’ Kristy finds ongoing inspiration from her other passions in life interior design and art when travelling. The biggest challenge Kristy has found since starting the business is ‘that I want everything now but I’ve realised it takes time to achieve great results’.
Based in the Upper North Shore of Sydney, Kristy considers herself lucky to have a ‘close-knit community of friends who have created their own businesses and love working with them on creative projects.’ Also working with her in the warehouse she has ‘a talented team of candle connoisseurs’. Kristy and her band of ‘candle connoisseurs’ have recently moved into a new warehouse, which has a very industrial look and feel. Drawing on her love for interior design Kristy has stuck with natural textures and tones while filling the space with plenty of crystals and greenery.
Initially enjoying the blending of fragrances and the hands on pouring of the candles Kristy now also really enjoys the business side of things. Appreciating the opportunity to set goals and achieve them. Relishing in the feelings of being in control of the success and growth in the business. But it's not all business fro Kristy, she spends her time away from the warehouse exploring the city with friends finding new bars and restaurants and of course spending time with Mr. President.
Finally, Kristy’s words to live by, "don't let other people's actions influence your own."
Hand made chocolate from all natural ingredients with fair trade cacao – it sounds too good to be true but two lovely ladies in Jan Juc on the Surf Coast of Victoria have come through with the goods.
After Nikki Hillier, a British fashion industry creative found herself for health reason unable to eat any of the dark chocolate on the market her partner Leo Kats, a Dutch furniture maker, turned her hand to making chocolate for her sweetheart and sharing with loved ones. Foodie friends then persuaded them to turn the chocolate making into a business, that was 2 years ago.
Asked to describe their business in 4 Words: ‘A small responsible luxury’. They find their inspiration for flavours from their kitchen at home ‘like the pure pomegranate molasses that we make by hand and use endlessly when we're cooking. This and our love for fine food that is also ethical, natural and organic is what drives us.’ The cacao is fair trade and sourced from Peru, they believe cacao from Peru is the finest in the world and gives an intense, rich flavour. The chocolate is sweetened ‘with pure maple syrup from Canada for its unique caramel notes and low fructose content. The other ingredients - like the oak smoked salt, we source from small Australian growers and artisan makers who work in the old ways.’
And you may ask how does one go about hand making such large quantities of chocolate by hand? ‘We have a small chocolate workshop with a large marble slab for hand tempering, a compact Italian artisan chocolate tempering machine for larger batches and a vast wine fridge for the final stage of the tempering process.’ With such success there is always challenges, although these ladies have taken it all in their stride they explain their biggest challenge to date is ‘Scaling up from our original hand-tempering approach on the marble slab to larger batches without compromising on the artisan quality of the finished chocolate. We spent six months researching tempering machines from all over the world. In the end, we went with an Italian machine by Selmi - far away the most expensive on the market, but the only one that gives us the exact quality we were looking for.'
What do they do when they’re not making the chocolate? 'Cooking! Eating. Walking the dogs on the beach. Motorbike rides down the Great Ocean Road and Leo is learning to surf.’
And finally, their words to live by -
"Follow your heart. Eat with the seasons."
On the north island of New Zealand in the beautiful city of Brooklyn, Wellington, Wiki Waitai is busy crafting 100% natural, sensitive, active, botanical skincare for the world. This talented lady is a wife, mother of two and skin care developer; crafting since 2012 with a desire to produce affordable and nourishing luxury skincare. The ‘Wiki Skincare’ business has been operational since 2014; what keeps her going? ‘My children. Both of my boys are on the ASD spectrum, my work, job allows me to be Mum anytime they need me. I use aromatherapy where I can for them and working with natural products and herbal therapy keeps me calm and creative. Also my passion for all things natural and healing’.
Wiki enjoys the process from start to finish; ‘Sourcing products is super fun. It starts with an idea, of helping or healing a particular skin or emotional aliment. Then I look at all of the natural botanical that can help that aliment. From there I try to source and use as many New Zealand, Australian and Pacific grown and produced ingredients. After that I will search out the most affordable of the best ingredients that the rest of the World has to offer‘. All products are made by hand by Wiki herself at their family home, she has a dark room to store her ingredients, and develops around her other multiple responsibilities. She has friends who help with design and photography aspects, and is currently learning design so that she can design her own graphics. Wiki is ‘super grateful for all the support I have from my partner, friends and family on my skincare journey.’
When asked about her free time Wiki responded ‘Spare time??? What’s that? Haha. I love to cook, pour a glass of vino and prepare a feast for friends or bake delicious treats. Most of all I love to watch TV with my partner, he’s the best and we both work so hard to make our boys happy and or lives great that a moment of peace together is definitely my favourite past time.’
Wiki's words to live by , ‘Be kind to yourself, be kind to one another. Breathe.‘
The beginnings of Wootten began when current cordwainer Jess’ dad began training as a shoemaker in 1975. After 20 years of business in Moorabin, Melbourne Jess and his Wife Krystina moved the business to Prahran, Melbourne where they have been established for the past 5 years hand making beautiful, classic, quality leather products with the help of their employees Dan and Jeff.
Their inspiration is to continue the traditional craft in a world where so many products are bulk manufactured. Their unique work space has the shop at the front of the building, however the workshop is immediately behind it and visible behind two glass doors, "so you can see and hear us tinkering away making our products."
Their beautiful products are made with the ethos ‘good things take time.’
In August 2014, Melbournian sisters Sarah and Emma set out to create a natural, vegan, nautical, salty inspired skin care range. ‘We are inspired by all things natural and vegan. The ocean is the inspiration behind our salt scrub range. We are passionate about natural remedies and are currently creating a brand new range of products inspired by Australian natives’. Finding ongoing inspiration from the sea, Summer Salt ‘source the majority of our ingredients from local suppliers as we believe in supporting small local businesses. We source organic ingredients when possible and always ensure they are vegan & cruelty free’.
Summer Salt is growing and for now they are working out of a small studio but looking at moving into a warehouse very soon they have also grown their team to 4 getting Kris and Stacey on-board to help with packaging and shipping. And whilst the rapid growth of high demand for their handmade range has proved to be a positive challenge they ‘are incredible grateful to all of our amazing stockists and customers. It’s been a dream to do what we love every day and it wouldn’t be possible without all the support we’ve had along the way!’
Todd and Rachel are the talent behind Urban Swagman producing ‘natural male grooming products’. From soaps to beard oils all products are handmade in their Brisbane home. How did they come up with the name Urban Swagman? We asked them: ‘we were trying to find a name that summed up our idea in its entirety. It had to be instantly recognisable as manly, Australian and also appealing to people who live in the city, but have their heart set in the Australian bush’.
The inspiration Todd explains ‘I was sick of the selection that men had when it came to soaps, colognes and other grooming products. There isn’t much choice apart from the bottles of chemical gel that are painted black, have a ‘For Men’ sticker slapped on them and sold to us. I was looking for a range of grooming products that were made specifically for men, were natural and had some personality to them. We couldn’t find it, so we decided to make it ourselves!’. Quick to act they came up with the idea in February 2015 and had production and sales up and running by that April. Describing their biggest challenge to date being able to keep up with the Christmas demand for their products.
Their ongoing motivation come from being ‘inspired by the growing popularity of natural, organic products and the increasing awareness that the public has to their benefits. It is awesome to be part of positive change and we love the relationships that we have formed along the way’
And when they’re not busy making soaps and oils you can find Rachel and Todd Hiking with the dog, heading to the beach or searching for the newest café/burger joint.
In the daylight is a boutique stationary range produced as the result of hard work from wife and husband team Jess and Rick. They have grown so much since they’re July 2015 launch they have recently employed their first staff member. Described as quality, unique, whimsical and minimal all card, tag and poster designs are created by Jess and put together by hand, their inspiration they hope delivers a timeless heartfelt message that no text or email can convey.
They share a co-working space in the city of Brisbane with designers, photographers, developers and even wedding planners which also happens to be dog friendly which makes Jess’s heart very happy as they have two Samoyeds Riley and Ebony. Their materials are all Australian made as Jess explains ‘It’s really important to us to have Australian made paper and envelopes with a high recycled content. All our printed is done locally and our wooden products are handmade by us.’. Jess continues to find inspiration all around ‘A shape, a colour, a pattern. I am mostly inspired by the simplicity and uniqueness of everyday items’.
And to finish Jess’s new found favourite quote which we just love ‘Plan in decades, think in years, work in months, live in days’
Rachel Gale runs a studio in East London, it is from here she designs and produces her fun , ethical, organic baby grows and tote bags with the assistance of local screen printers and she has done so for the past two years.
Rachel has always loved to draw and ‘after studying Illustration I began working with kids, running arts & crafts workshops. My illustration style developed from collage and coloured pencil techniques to more detailed, simple line drawings. I began creating a collection of animal drawings. These began as postcards, and soon after Mr. Bear became a baby grow design. The popularity of this product helped me notice a lack of fun & ethical clothes for children on the market. I love to design and create kids clothing with a stylish yet ethical approach that makes people smile.’
Rachel sources her grows from a UK supplier whom spcecialise in earth positive and climate neutral garments. She finds ongoing inspiration in nature, patterns, animals and children. Rachel Gale Draws company words to live by are quality, honest and affordability.