Our Brand View series continues with Homewick: a handmade vegan, cruelty-free and eco-friendly candle business grown out of the first lockdown! In this second episode, David shows us how he makes his beautiful candles. Watch the demonstration here!
BA: How do you make your candles? Do you have a studio you work in or do you work from home?
Homewick: Everything is done out of my home in North Greenwich. I have my kitchen set up, so just behind me I have a podium with all my tools and things to make the candles. I do them in the evening because I need to leave them to set, and they need to set flat. Often, this whole kitchen is full of various containers ready to be filled. I will melt the wax and add the scent, then pour the candles and leave them to set. Maybe you'd like to see me making the candle? We've got two different types of wicks here; the cotton wick which has a template to make sure it's set in the centre, and then the wooden wick as well. I've pre put these in already. Over here we have the wax. This comes in pellets, and I use a natural soy wax so it's completely natural ingredients, and it means it's eco-friendly - there are no chemicals involved. Soy wax also retains the scent, and burns for a lot longer.
If you buy candles that are cheaper from the supermarket, they are often made with paraffin wax, so full of chemicals and they can give off a lot of smoke which is quite bad for the environment and your own health too. As they are using cheap ingredients they burn a lot quicker, I guess to encourage you to buy another one!
The idea behind the wax and scent I have chosen is to ensure they give you the best experience possible! So there's various processes involved to ensure we get the right mix. I have to weigh out exactly the right amount of wax and then burn it to exactly the right temperature, and when that is happening you need to keep a close eye on it to make sure it doesn't over burn the wax or it will discolour. It goes like an orange colour, so you don't get that really nice white finish on a candle. I can add dye to a wax, but we won't do that today as it takes a bit longer, but I have various dyes that I can add to the wax at this point and then when it sets it gives a nice colour. I also have released this candles for Pride Month (June 2021), so this takes a lot longer as I'm waiting for each layer to set. But it's a nice colourful addition to your home and I'm donating £5 to charity from each candle.
So the wax is just melting here, so when it gets to a certain point I'll pop my little temperature gauge, that will ensure I'm getting it to exactly the right temperature. Then I'll add my fragrance, so this is one of the most popular fragrances I use called Seychelles. All of the fragrances are cruelty-free, they're not tested on animals, and they all have a very high level of fragrance in them. A lot are watered down so you just don't get that scent, and there's a sort of chemical formula involved as to how much scent you can add to a candle so you get the right amount of fragrance across a room. You might think that the more fragrance you add, the stronger the candle will be, but that's not the case. Actually you need to get exactly the right balance between wax ratio and scent to make sure it burns the longest.
So you can see now that's fully melted. Then I'll weigh out the scent and put that into the wax, then give that a stir. I make each candle individually, so that means I get exactly the right amount in each candle. If you're mass producing candles like a lot of these companies do, then there's no guarantee how much scent and wax is in each, and if they have been mixed correctly. Whereas this way because I make each one individually because they're customised, it just means that I know exactly the right fragrance is in each candle, and means you get a really good finish on each. Now that is mixed together, I'll slowly pour that into the container. You won't see that set because it takes about 24 hours.
BA: Do you leave it in room temperature to set or do you put it in a fridge?
Homewick: The candle does need to be left at room temperature to ensure it has a good finish otherwise you'll get holes or bubbles, or it won't set correctly. Fortunately, I live in quite a good ventilated apartment, which means the airflow is pretty good, and not too hot or cold. People used to put them in the fridge to set quicker, but that would mean the wax wouldn't set correctly, so it's important you leave them to set at the right temperature.