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Archive for November, 2011

Goodness gracious me… my day that started with a parking ticket at 6.30am for having my ute in a Truck Zone while I got coffee just took a lovely turn for the better.

A courier just walked in with a delivery from Peter’s of Kensington.  “No,” I said “not for me.  I haven’t ordered anything.”  Examination of the delivery docket showed clearly addressed to Cate Burton, Queen B…

Much tape ripping and general exclamation later, out come a beautiful Orrefors box… and inside?

Orrefors raspberry tealight holder

Orrefors raspberry tealight holder

Orrefors Raspberry Tealight holder

Orrefors Raspberry Tealight holder

How beautiful is that?… but still nothing to show who it was from.

So I called PofK.  A little digging later and they told me that the email address of the person who ordered was Cecily…

Now get this…

Cecily first ordered from Queen B online in September.  When she got the order she emailed to say thanks so much and gave me some lovely feedback on how her hayfever had improved since she’d been burning the candles.  Big tick for sending feedback.  Then last week Cecily decided to pop into the hive.  She wanted tealights for her new Orrefors raspberry votive holder.  I must have had a coffee that day because I was chatty and engaging and Cecily clearly walked out a happy customer.

Four days later… bingo.  My very own raspberry votive holder.  But I think what I love the most is that I am lucky enough to have people like Cecily in my life.  So, a big shout out to the Cecily’s in each of our lives.

If you have been the beneficiary of a random act of kindness, please share it on the blog.  If it gets lots of posts and votes and feedback, I’ll email you for the details of the giver and send them a little bee-created light.

And to the parking officer who gave me a ticket this morning, perhaps you would like to become a contributing member of society?  Perhaps you should think about spreading joy rather than misery?  I think that a ute should qualify as a truck (in fact I actually did).  And since when has 6am been a reasonable hour for a parking restriction to apply?  We didn’t need you for the first several millennia and we don’t need you now.  No, you aren’t doing society a favour.  No there would not be anarchy if you weren’t spreading your misery around all day.  We would cope just fine.

Cecily has a little extra Queen B light winging its way over to her today.  Yay.

Spread the love people… I was telling my neighbour about my random act of kindness day and she just brought me a cup of organic rosehip tea with a teaspoon of stringy bark honey.  What parking officer?  I’m on a honey high.

Cate xx

And now for the Queen B tealight lighting up said Orrefors Raspberry tealight holder

And now for the Queen B tealight lighting up said Orrefors Raspberry tealight holder

You can see all the candles we currently have available in our Christmas range on our website.


Queen B beeswax candles are made with 100% pure Australian beeswax a pure cotton wick and copious amounts of hand made love. We stock beautiful and stylish candle holders, personalised candles, votive candles, tealight candles and pillar candles that nourish the human spirit and our environment.

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Recently we got an order from a yoga conference organiser.  She wanted 10 hampers as gifts for the speakers and a few other gifts for volunteer helpers.  We had advised her that it would take 10 days for delivery.  A day later we got an email asking if we could send it quicker.  So, we dropped everything and packed up 10 beautiful, gorgeous, above and beyond the call of duty hampers and couriered everything over.

Silence.

No “thank you for delivery 9 days early”.

No “thank you for having such a clever bee doing such gorgeous packaging”.

No “thank you for the pillars thrown in for free for her to burn on the day”.

Just silence.

So, yesterday (which was almost 2 weeks after we dropped everything at our busiest time of year to get her hampers over to her because she wasn’t organised) I popped her a quick email to see if she had received everything.

This morning I received her response.  “Yes, everything seemed fine. Thanks for following up.”

Pu-lease… “fine”?  Why not just slap me?  Fine?  I don’t ever recall waking up and hoping that today I would do a job that “seemed fine”.  I don’t recall, as I have pounded my head against the brick wall that is being an Australian manufacturer or making a natural product, thinking that it would be “fine”.

I even think fine is an insult to the weather.  Your fine may be different to my fine.  Is it sunny?  Cloudy?  Raining? Blowing a gale? Anything, but not fine.

Fine isn’t even a worth descriptor when someone asks you how you are!  More black and white.  Less shades of grey please.  Are you really good?  Depressed?  Having a great day?  A little under the weather?  Tired?  Hungover?  Fabulous?  Generally well?  All the better for seeing you?  Let’s make it real.

Please, if you are ever going to give me feedback, don’t tell me that what we did was fine.  You will likely get a response back like Trina did this morning.  While she may think that I got out of the wrong side of bed, hopefully she will get a little more in touch with her inner yogi and take the time to show a little gratitude in future.

THAT email wasn’t printed out and handed around the worker bees with a little pat on the back for a job amazingly well done.  So many hundreds of other are.

To the beautiful, conscious, thinking customers who give us feedback that is meritorious of being part of the english language… thank you.  We love you.  We love your feedback (be is gushing or helping us improve).

Over and out! :-)

Uplifting blog post to follow!

Cate xx

 

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This is just a post to put out there to gauge if there is any interest…

I had a customer email me the other night to ask me if I had thought of doing Queen B ‘parties’ in people’s homes.  Thanks Karen.  To be honest, I have thought about it, and I’ve even done a few for friends, but so much of what we do is brought to life by being at the hive… doing the honey tasting… seeing how we clean the wax and the difference between what we buy (and what 100% of other beeswax candlemakers use) and the dirt we get out of it and the resultant clean wax.

I have (over)thought every aspect of Queen B.  From the wick (don’t mention the wick testing!), to the recycled elemental chlorine free cardboard packaging printed with soy ink by the only family owned ISO blah blah certified environmental printer (based in Sydney).  The natural, biodegradeable sinamay bags.  The beautiful new cardboard tube packaging we’re having made in Melbourne because I lost my cool with the 8th company that I called trying to source cardboard tube packaging only to be told that they weren’t interested in making them as small as we wanted them.  Every part of it has a story.  A lot of blood, sweat, tears, frustration, laughter, passion etc.  You get the picture.

Anyhoo (best said with a Scottish accent), so I emailed Karen back and she came back with the idea of me doing private parties at Queen B.  I host.  I’ll make a wine contribution and provide glasses.  You provide interested friends & colleagues.  You get to buy at factory prices.  No free tupperware for the organiser, just the knowledge that you made a difference both to your friends and to Queen B.  And we’ll like you, a lot, for a long time.  We may even send you something lovely and random just because we like you a lot.

I am happy to do it any night of the week, or on a Sunday.  Yes, men are welcome and in my experience, men love Queen B candles because they aren’t mauve and lavender scented (or any other feral scent for that matter).  We’re the Brut of candles.  Burning a Queen B candle has the Lynx effect.

If you are interested in coming down for your own private buying night at Queen B, please pop me an email.  Rather than put my email address here for the bots to find, you can go to our Contact Page and pop me an email that way or email queenb[at]queenb.com.au.

Cate xx

You can see all the candles we currently have available in our Christmas range on our website.


Queen B beeswax candles are made with 100% pure Australian beeswax a pure cotton wick and copious amounts of hand made love. We stock beautiful and stylish candle holders, personalised candles, votive candles, tealight candles and pillar candles that nourish the human spirit and our environment.

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As a general principle, one of the best things that we can do to help stimulate the Australian economy is to buy Australian made goods and to buy from small businesses (which account for over 50% of all private sector employment in Australia).  Better still if the goods are made in Australia with Australian inputs or ingredients.

It is a pity that our government don’t seem to understand this concept (versus the Chinese government that requires 80% local Chinese content in any government contract)… Oh dear I digress :-)

As you would know, Queen B candles are made with 100% pure Australian beeswax (we support the regional communities of Bathurst, Queanbeyan and Gundagai by buying local beeswax even though it is the most expensive beeswax in the world).  We also choose to make our candles by hand rather than churning them out of a machine… and that means we pay lots of Australian wages (ouch for us, but good for the economy).

While I admit to being completely biased, I think that makes Queen B candles a beautiful GFC busting pressie.

Of course you can pay for us to make the candles for you, or why not save some money and make the candles yourself?  We lots of candle-making supplies on our website, or, if you don’t know what you’re doing, we have several candle-making kits that come with comprehensive instructions.

  • Roll your own beeswax candles (12 per kit) and bundle them into pairs for a beautiful gift costing <$8 (per pair); or
  • grab a 4-5 hour DIY tealight kit or a 8-9 hour DIY tealight kit and you can make your own tealight candles from $1 each… then bundle a few together in a brown paper bag with twine, et voila.  Another, beautiful, Australian made, non-toxic, GFC busting, sustainable Christmas gift.
Pouring beeswax tealights

Pouring beeswax tealights

Wicking beeswax tealights

Wicking beeswax tealights

 

You can see all the candles we currently have available in our Christmas range on our website.


Queen B beeswax candles are made with 100% pure Australian beeswax a pure cotton wick and copious amounts of hand made love. We stock beautiful and stylish candle holders, personalised candles, votive candles, tealight candles and pillar candles that nourish the human spirit and our environment.

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If you’ve been following Queen B for a while, you’d know that for several years now I have stocked several items in the Napoleonic Bee range of glassware from La Rochere.  I originally bought it not just because of the Napoleonic Bee design which I love, but also because of its rich heritage.

La Rochere dinnerware, tableware and glassware is made in the Haute Saone region in France where it has been made since 1475.  [and I thought 10 years of Queen B was exhausting!]  How fabulous is that?  We would be hard pressed to find many other global brands of the size of La Rochere that continue to manufacture in a developed country.

So, I love what the company stand for, I love their glassware (which is also practical in that it is dishwasher safe) and to top it all off, I love the boys who bring it in to Australia.  It is simply impossible to feel even one iota of glumness in their presence!

A few weeks ago a customer called me who had been on our Queen B website looking at the La Rochere glassware and she wanted 4 dozen of a particular glass.  So I gave her a discount and trundled up the road to get the glasses off the boys.  While I was there I asked them why they weren’t selling online themselves.  Turns out a mouse is an animal to them not a useful tool to navigate around a computer!  They suggested I do it for them instead.

et voila!  frenchglassware.com.au was born and in a superhuman feat, my clever web guy has managed to build the backend of the website in just 3 weeks and in that time I’ve run a design competition on Design Crowd for our new logo and spent over 100 hours sourcing and sizing photography and getting all my facts and figures correct.

http://www.frenchglassware.com.au

Tonight we go live.  Yay.

If you are looking for beautiful French glassware, tableware and dinnerwaretumblers, wine glasses, water glasses, candleholders, plates, bowls and carafes & jugs – for living each day as if it were your last.  We have the largest selection of La Rochere designs of any retailer in Australia and we’re planning to move it in volume and pass on the savings.  I have yet to understand the impact of Australia Post shipping charges on the business model, but for now we’re doing everything at 10% off RRP.

La Rochere glassware is made at very high temperatures and is famous for its uniquely clear glass and hardiness.

I am VERY mindful that you’ve signed up to hear about Queen B, not French Glassware, so if you want to keep up with the French Glassware news, you can sign up for the newsletter on the home page.

If you come across any issues with the website, please let me know (much of it has been done through heavy eyelids after 16 hours at Queen B :-)).

Happy shopping

Cate xx

Of course, you can also see all the Queen B candles we currently have available in our Christmas range on the Queen B website.


Queen B beeswax candles are made with 100% pure Australian beeswax a pure cotton wick and copious amounts of hand made love. We stock beautiful and stylish candle holders, personalised candles, votive candles, tealight candles and pillar candles that nourish the human spirit and our environment.

 

 

 

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… which is a lucky thing really given that we make beeswax candles.

Usually I like the flame to be front and centre, as in your face as possible, but very occasionally I find things that are so beautiful when lit up by beeswax candlelight, that it would be a shame not to use them myself, and therefore a shame not to share them.

You may have realised that I have little crush on porcelain (another beautiful, natural product)… particularly when it is formed into beautiful, candle holding objects.  So, I could resist a couple of new things that came across my workbench.

I particularly love the babushka (I even have a set of babushka measuring cups and have been working away on a babushka candle)!  Who knows if the candle will make it into the world beyond Queen B product development?  In the meanwhile, you can light up your life with this.

Porcelain Babushka Tealight candle holder

Porcelain Babushka Tealight candle holder (lit by Queen B tealight)

Porcelain Babushka Tealight candle holder close up

Porcelain Babushka Tealight candle holder close up

 

And about the only way I like my cities is like this :-)… twinkling (eco-friendly, carbon neutral) lights at a distance with no pollution or noise.  Heavenly really.

Skyscraper Tealight candle holders

Skyscraper Tealight candle holders

Choose from the Fullerton

Fullerton Tealight candle holder

Fullerton Tealight candle holder

Fullerton Tealight candle holder (lit by Queen B tealight)

Fullerton Tealight candle holder (lit by Queen B tealight)

the Empire State Building

Empire State Building tealight candle holder

Empire State Building tealight candle holder

Empire State Building tealight candle holder (lit by Queen B tealight)

Empire State Building tealight candle holder (lit by Queen B tealight)

or Wall Street

Wall Street Tealight candle holder

Wall Street Tealight candle holder

Wall Street Tealight candle holder (lit by Queen B tealight)

Wall Street Tealight candle holder (lit by Queen B tealight)

Park Avenue

Park Avenue Porcelain Tealight candle holder

Park Avenue Porcelain Tealight candle holder

Park Avenue Porcelain Tealight Holder (lit by Queen B candle)

Park Avenue Porcelain Tealight Holder (lit by Queen B candle)

Madison Avenue

Porcelain Madison Avenue Tealight candle holder

Porcelain Madison Avenue Tealight candle holder

Porcelain Madison Avenue tealight candle holder (lit by Queen B tealight)

Porcelain Madison Avenue tealight candle holder (lit by Queen B tealight)

or Fifth Avenue

Fifth Avenue Porcelain tealight candle holder

Fifth Avenue Porcelain tealight candle holder

Fifth Avenue Porcelain Tealight candle holder (lit by a Queen B tealight)

Fifth Avenue Porcelain Tealight candle holder (lit by a Queen B tealight)

Phew… that’s quite the haul.  Imagine photographing them with 6 different camera setting each to try to show you just how beautiful they are?!

You can see our entire range of porcelain candle holders on our website.


Queen B beeswax candles are made with 100% pure Australian beeswax a pure cotton wick and copious amounts of hand made love. We stock beautiful and stylish candle holders, personalised candles, votive candles, tealight candles and pillar candles that nourish the human spirit and our environment.

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Discover your local retailers in the back streets of Brookvale and bag yourself a bargain at BrookSALE

Saturday, 26th November 2011

Occupy Brookvale!

The back streets of Brookvale are a hive of businesses manufacturing and supplying goods to retailers Australia wide.

Join us for the inaugural BrookSALE on Saturday, 26th November 2011 (9am – 4pm) and discover:

  • hand-crafted Australian beeswax candles and honey at Queen B,
  • beautiful European tableware from Villeroy & Boch,
  • gorgeous French glassware from La Rochere at Mosaique,
  • Australia’s yummiest jams, marmalades and chutneys at Hank’s Jam
  • Australian made gates made to survive Australia’s harsh climate at Leisurewood Gates

Meet the makers.  Meet the importers.  Meet your neighbours and do your Christmas shopping locally.  In fact, at these prices, why not decorate your entire home (and entry gate) and then sit down to some candlelit sourdough toast with Hank’s jam?!

With unbeatable offers and discount prices BrookSALE is brought to you by:

Hanks Jam – With over 30 delicious product offerings in 3 different sizes we cater for almost all tastebuds. Using only the best natural ingredients, no artificial flavourings or preservatives, our Jams and Chutneys are being used by the most discerning chefs, food stylists and discerning customers nationwide. (www.hanksjam.com.au)

Leisurewood Gates – Leisurewood Gates was established in 1981.  We specialise in custom made joinery and steel/timber automatic gates.  We’ll be showcasing our new laminated timber gates at BrookSALE made from Cedar and Silver Birch. These high quality laminated timbers produce gates that are cheaper and more adaptable than traditional joinery gates and they’re made in Australia to survive the harsh Australian climate.  (www.leisurewoodgates.com.au)

Mosaique – Importers of French made glassware and soaps and body products from the south of France. We have a wide range of fabulously scented soaps, hand creams and body lotions, just perfect for gift giving. Table linen and dinnerware to make your Christmas table something special. Vases and ceramics – all made in France. Come along and speak French, discuss your French holiday with experts who really know France while grabbing a bargain.

Queen B – Come down to Queen B’s hive and meet our talented candle-makers as you watch the process of beeswax candles being hand-made.  Indulge your taste buds with over 22 varieties of Australian honey – and meet our beekeepers too.  Northern Beaches local beekeeper, Shannon Schmidt, will be onsite as will Bruce White, OAM – one of Australia’s most experienced beekeepers.

Villeroy & Boch – As a leading name in European tableware, Villeroy & Boch offers an array of stylish solutions to turn a house into a home.  Innovative creativity has been integral to the character of the company for more than 260 years.  Today, a contemporary selection of ceramic designs, cutlery, glassware and accessories awaits those looking to create a home environment that reflects their personality.

BrookSALE - Google Maps

BrookSALE - Google Maps

 

Look for the red BrookSALE flags as you drive around behind Warringah Mall and grab great gifts at amazing prices to give your family and friends this Christmas

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