Locally produced candles made in Yorkshire
- Credit: voakyork.co.uk
Winter is peak candle time. As we look to brighten our homes on those dark evenings or looking for a little something to gift our family and friends. We meet some Yorkshire makers
‘It’s great to have two generations contributing ideas to create products that appeal to a broader age group,’ say Vanessa and Adele Bell, the mother-and-daughter team behind York-based candlemaker Voak. ‘We can be completely honest with each other if we feel an idea is not right and we need to change tack.
‘From the beginning, it was important to us to create products using only the best quality ingredients at the most affordable price. We work hard to be a sustainable, low-waste business and believe in supporting other artisan makers, whose products we sell on our website.
‘Prior to launching Voak in November last year, we had both been teaching (Vanessa at university and Adele in primary), but we were ready for a change of direction. Our candle-making hobby had developed into a bit of an obsession – all our spare time was taken up searching for the loveliest fragrances and essential oils to blend with natural soy wax.
‘We are fascinated with the association between fragrance and memory and how a particular scent can transport you to a certain point or place in time. For our Voak candles, we choose blends and combinations that connect us to special places and memories of our own. Broad Skies, for example, reminds us of family holidays at the coast; Heathland takes us to days out strolling with our dogs in the countryside, and Riverbank is a beautiful floral fragrance similar to that worn by Vanessa on her wedding day.
‘A crucial ‘member’ of the team is our wax melter (affectionately named Max Welter), which is able to melt batches of wax to the specific temperatures required for each different fragrance. We blend the fragrances and essential oils before pouring into our range of vessels, which have been wicked with our pure-spun cotton wicks. The candles are then left to cure and the fragrances allowed to develop, before being ready for sale.
Yorkshire Rose Candles
‘I have always loved smells that trigger memories’, says Mary Mandis, founder of the Thirsk-based Yorkshire Rose Candles. ‘Clean bed sheets are a popular smell, which is why candles like fresh linen or clean cotton are so popular. And I love fragrances that make me feel cosy. My Big Hugs candle does exactly that – it’s like a hug in a scent.
‘My company was officially born in September 2014 – a new year hobby that turned into a business. I worked in HR and recruitment but have always enjoyed crafts. I could never afford expensive candles and found that the ones I did buy, the fragrances did not last. So, after a lot of Googling, I made my first few candles. Friends and neighbours would try them, I got good feedback, and from there I got the bug for making candles.
‘It’s not an easy craft to master. Mixing your wax and fragrance together and pouring it into a pot is easy, but if you do not have the right wick, you will get excess soot, even with natural waxes. I always describe candle making as a bit like baking a cake – if you give everyone the same ingredients, we will all produce something different.
‘I pride myself in producing candles that really do give a fragrance to your home, using the highest quality ingredients from professional UK suppliers. Plus, the packaging is environmentally friendly. You will not find any plastic or any packaging that cannot be recycled or reused.
‘My most popular products are my tin candles and wax melts, and I have six amazing fragrances for Christmas this year, from classic orange and cinnamon to the fresher Frosty Forest. Also, back by popular demand is Winter Latte, my bestselling Christmas fragrance in wax melts.
The Yorkshire Beeswax Candle Company
‘Bees are such amazing, clever little things,’ says Michael Landreth, who set up his beeswax candle company just 18 months ago. ‘I’ve been interested in bees and candles for quite some years, and I liked the idea of creating a natural product.
‘I source raw wax, which is a waste product from honey production, from a beekeeper in Scarborough. He has taught me everything about beehives and bees. Now I sometimes go over there to harvest the wax myself. Next year I am looking to source some land and get about 20,000 bees of my own. Then I’ll also be able to sell some honey products, so there will continue to be no waste.
‘I work from my home in Bradford. My back room has been transformed into a candle workshop, with benches all round and a big burner that the wax goes into. I filter it and pour it myself. It smells amazing! It’s eco-friendly, with no chemicals. I work on my own, but my daughter Kasey, 13, likes to help me, too.
‘I started with pure beeswax, unscented candles, which sold well online and at craft fairs, before adding scent with essential oils and launching wax melts and a new beeswax lip balm.
‘I had my first order from America at the end of 2019 and now sell all over Europe as well. I have a customer in America who repeatedly buys just one candle, paying £25 postage for it! It is the Yorkshire name that draws people in. They also like the bee on my logo! I’ve added a Santa hat to him for my Christmas products, including a lovely pine scent.
Other great candle makers in Yorkshire
Hank & Bertie vegan soy candles are named after the puppies who helped their company’s founder through a period of anxiety. Purchases make a 10% donation to Mind: themindandthemakeover.uk
Forage and Bloom candles are hand poured in North Yorkshire and are vegan, cruelty-free and eco-friendly. From £14.95; forageandbloomcandleco.co.uk
Little Yorkshire Candle Company has a lovely home in Goodramgate in the heart of York where as well as candles you can buy other cosy treats for your home. It’s a labour of love for owner Alex – but full of warm festive atmosphere. Midwinter candle, £32. thelittleyorkshirecandlecompany.co.uk
NEOM is a made-in-Yorkshire success story with its founder Nicola Elliott and team based in Harrogate and a store in Leeds. This Christmas there’s a range of limited-edition candles, including Real Luxury with lavender, jasmine and Brazilian rosewood. 3-wick £46, 1-wick £32. Neomorganics.com and Victoria Gate Leeds.