Isn’t it great when you’ve been working on something for months and ta-da it is complete and ready to be revealed? I launched my new range of soy candles on my website Laura Thomas Linens at the weekend. I am so proud of them, after uploading I kept looking on my site at the images I had taken and had a beaming smile that even an Eskimo could warm their hands at.
It took a good amount of research into creating the candles I wanted to follow the Laura Thomas brand. I was inspired by my love of Jo Malone soy candles and wanted to recreate something similar with out the hefty $120 nzd / £40 price tag. I wanted to know why luxury candles carry such a large price and after much analysis I found out the following. Firstly soy is the Rolls Royce of the waxs’. Secondly essential oils give an infinitely higher scent throw than a fragrance. Finally all aspects of packaging seem to be a large part of the buyer experience and the final price.
So after 2 books, 5 You Tube tutorials, researching many articles written by professional perfumers (did you know that there are 1000 professional astronauts in the world and only 500 perfumers), reading many more articles on candle making and 8 experiments later, I launched my own candles, handmade my myself for my new ‘Laura Thomas’ brand (with a view to grow as I go, more candles scents to follow).
I did a lot of research about wax. Did you know most candles are paraffin based? Paraffin has been around since the 1850’s and is a by product of crude oil. Soy on the other hand is made from vegetable matter from the soy bean and was discovered in 1991. Paraffin candles are not biodegradable as soy is and contain chemical ingredients that will be emitted when burned and are therefore unhealthy. Soy wax has a lower melting point that paraffin, is a softer wax, can be removed from any material / surface very easily and will allow a candle to burn for longer than a paraffin based candle. Soy also does not produce soot which has to be my pet hate on the glass container. Although soy wax is more expensive, it is better for the environment and the person burning it and it is for those reasons I decided to use it 100%, no hardening additives and all.
My previous love of purchasing candles has lead me to analyse wicks. I’ve always hated having that blackened mushrooming from the wick after burning and on cooling it falling into the wax and muddying it somehow. So I managed to find textile-grade cotton wicks that guarantees no black bits falling into the candle. Then I thought about what I wanted my expanding range to start as and it seemed obvious to have a bedtime candle to accompany my beautiful bed linens, hence starting with lavender.
The scent was very important. A strong scent makes for a quality candle. It also completes a well dressed room. As like grapes, cotton and other crops many different varieties of lavender are farmed here in New Zealand. I used to live on the south island. There I discovered a lovely lavender essential oil farmed in the alpine region of Nelson that I used to put a couple of drops of into my infant daughter’s bath to promote a good nights sleep (not to mention make her smell just delicious). So I contacted the company and got a good few bottles shipped up to the top of the North Island. Another thing I discovered is that there is only so much essential oil you can use that the wax actually holds, however you can increase the scent by adding fragrance too, hence the addition of french lavender fragrance in my candles.
Here are the results, luxury candles for an affordable price. Available in 6 oz, 20 hours burn time $23.50 / £12 and 8 oz, 30 hours burn time $26.50 / £14. Click here to purchase.
(Photography / Laura Thomas)