Small Business Saturday: A Journey into Candle Making with Elodie

small business saturday & candle making with elodie

Hello Cocorosers 💗

This week, I delve into something special that's close to my heart — Small Businesses. As a mentor to many over the years, and as a small business ourselves, I've been fortunate to have a very prominent window into seeing first hand the importance of supporting and shopping small. The direct impact this has on not just the businesses, but the families behind their passions and their livelihoods too.

Although I believe in celebrating and championing small businesses everyday, it's 'officially' Small Business Saturday on the 2nd of December. A time to highlight small business success and to embrace the essence of supporting small and shopping local.

So how, as a business ourselves, do we put this into practice? Perhaps one of the best examples I can give is of our candle collection and how we chose to shop small and shop local when it came to working with our candle supplier and launching our candle range. Let me try and set the scene to help explain.

Although we are primarily known for our exquisitely comfortable women's footwear, our journey throughout the height of Covid led us down a slightly different path.

With many of us spending more time at home and the growing need for self-care and relaxation, we ventured into the realm of accessories. It all started with a small collection of toiletries, followed closely by the launch of our stunning natural wax candle collection 🕯️✨

natural wax candles collection

Let me introduce you to our expert candle maker, Elodie. Many of you may already know Elodie from her time at Cocorose HQ some years ago and, although not directly involved on a daily basis anymore, she's certainly involved on the candle front!

the beautiful elodie

Elodie and I were having one of our many chats, and I just happened to mention that I was working towards launching a range of candles. I didn't realise that Elodie had started learning the art of candle-making. And so, as they say, the rest is history and yes, it is so very true that good things really do happen when you have conversations and collaboration.

For Cocorose, we have always been passionate about supporting other small businesses and to help celebrate Small Business Saturday, Elodie and I took a moment out of our busy schedules to discuss all things candle-making and her creative journey…

Describing herself as a mumpreneur and mum to four boys, Elodie has now been hand-crafting candles for three years. She found herself searching for a creative project to get stuck into following the birth of her third son and she happened to chance upon candle making.

“I enjoy baking and candle making is very similar. It’s very much like creating your own cake recipe. It’s about precision, the quality and quantity of ingredients, the right temperature and having the patience so that ultimately, you can enjoy the cake!” she tells me.

“There is so much more to candle making than meets the eye. There’s a huge amount of testing involved, such as using the right wick with the right percentage of essential oils or fragrance; checking burning times; and also more testing when different sized candles are made, but it’s really satisfying to find the right balance. I’ve learned a lot in the past three years.”

When Elodie and I originally sat down to discuss our candle collection, we were both in agreement that quality and sustainability were of the utmost importance, in keeping with our ethos and brand values. “I prefer using natural and sustainable ingredients which really deliver”, she said. “This is why I chose to use a blend of rapeseed and coconut wax. It is natural, has good melting qualities and the wax releases fragrance really well, even when the candle isn’t burning. It’s also vegan. I try and use essential oils and natural fragrances as much as possible and for the wick, I use a cotton wick interwoven with a linen thread, as this really helps to minimise the afterglow and smoking.”

candle cutting wick

You can tell Elodie is clearly passionate about her craft and she’s genuinely interested in learning more and developing new products. “I like trying new essential oils, fragrances, and developing new products. You always learn something new as essential oils and fragrances behave differently. It’s a bit like smelling coffee beans and then making coffee with it, or for wine lovers, like smelling a wine and then trying it; it can taste very different from what you would expect. Sometimes, when you burn a candle, it can smell very different from what you would expect. Depending on the wick you use, it can also accentuate different traits, such as being more lemony, floral or herbal. And this is where so much of the testing comes into play as well, as I want to ensure the right balance of aromas and that the candle does indeed smell like what it says on the tin!”

“But it goes deeper than this,” she continues. “In some ways, a candle is more than just an item. It has another dimension that so many products don’t have, by helping to create an atmosphere and making you more present in the moment. Think of our Lavender & Sea Salt candle by a beautifully relaxing bath, or our Pomegranate Noir candle burning late at night following a lovely dinner. Just having the candle burning and releasing its fragrance can change the mood and tone of a room and enhance your experiences.”

When Elodie and I discuss new scents and products, we always think about which room or occasions our Cocorosers are most likely to use our candles for. “This has an impact on the development and the strength of the candle,” says Elodie, and this is why testing the different percentages of fragrance is absolutely key. Ultimately, we need to help our Cocorosers pick the right product for the occasion. It has to be something that they would love. A candle is something to share; a Thank You present; something to enjoy. I would love to spend more time experimenting with essential oils to create delicious smelling candles which also help focus, energise, relax and help with mood boosing.”

I ask Elodie what her favourite Cocorose candle scent is. “The Orange & Cinnamon scent is one of my favourite candles. It really fills the house and it’s uplifting. It’s amazing how essential oils, scents and fragrances can transport you down memory lane and for me, this just epitomises Christmas. I do love foody scents, so I’m also really keen on the Lime, Basil & Mandarin and the Lemongrass & Ginger which I find really fresh and balanced.”

Orange & Cinnamon Natural Wax Candle

So, I ask Elodie, what advice she would give to someone just starting out in candle making? “The most important thing is to just get started,” she says. “So buy some ingredients which appeal to you and start! And don’t be afraid of making mistakes; it’s all part of the learning. There is a lot of advice online and online communities to help with trouble shooting, so you’re never really alone. In terms of equipment, I would also recommend getting some wick claws as they make such a difference in ensuring that the wick is really centered. And get good digital scales for precision.”

As we near the end of our insightful chat, I can’t help but wonder whether Elodie has a specific candle-making moment that’s special to her? “I think it’s probably like everything in life; you always remember your first time!” she says. “But saying that, I do love the fact that we created a BUZZ candle to help give back and support The Honeypot Children’s Charity. What they do is remarkable. They help young carers who need it the most.”

Spoken like a true mumpreneur and mum.

the buzz candle

Honeysuckle & Elderflower Candle

In wrapping up our reflections for this Small Business Saturday, it’s clear that we've found solace and beauty in the twists that Cocorose has taken, navigating the challenges of the COVID-19 era. Our venture into handcrafted and hand-poured candles stands as a testament to the adaptability and resilience of small businesses and champions how, when small businesses support each other, good things happen.

Thank you for being part of our narrative and for joining us in honouring the essence of Small Business Saturday. 💗🕯️✨

Janan & Team Cocorose xx

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