Our surprise hit of 2012 was the product we collaborated with Joost on – Jam Jar tealights. A perfect illustration of 1 + 1 = far more than 2. A glass jam jar + a pure beeswax tealight candle = hours of loveliness. A jar full of romance? And ampule of ambience? A window of perfection? Oh, don’t get me started… I’m just back from a great break and I’m feeling the love.
Anyway, the break gave me an opportunity to get to some of the 1,000 unread emails in my inbox (whoops) which made me realise that you wanted more options. Of course, options mean me holding stock (so that we can ship out your goodies outrageously fast), but the brain cells have brainstormed and they all agree that this is a fabulous idea.
10cm narrow pillar – honeycomb ($24.95), King Nutcracker candle ($19.95), Eco-bulb candle ($24.95), Pack of 10 Bee Lights ($24.95), Burning Love ($24.95), Square votive in ceramic holder ($24.95), Pack of 2 Small Christmas Trees ($24.95), Porcelain candleholder ($14.95); Small or Large Beehive candles ($24.95)
Back in March I blogged about Joost’s Melbourne Greenhouse and our pure beeswax Jam Jar Tealights which lit the way – the second eco love child of our long term collaboration with Joost. We’ve been inundated with requests for them ever since, but it took until now for them to get to the top of the list of things for us to do.
So (drum roll) it is with great delight that we announce the launch of our Jam Jar tealights. The story of Joost’s life – bucket loads of great ideas focused on sustainability (+ an obsession with jam jars) and the need for people to execute. The story of my life – the love of execution (+ an obsession for beeswax candles that burn perfectly). It’s a match made in heaven.
Each pack contains 2 x Glass Jam Jars + 8 pure beeswax tealight candles (4-5 hour burn time).
To reuse the glass jars, simply flick out the metal wick sustainer when the tealight has finished burning and pop in a new tealight. To clean the jars use hot, soapy water.
Here’s how they look when they are lighting up the Greenhouse by Joost…
Jam Jar tealights lighting up the Greenhouse by Joost at Melbourne Food and Wine Fair
Everyone looks better looking by beeswax candle light?
Queen B Jam Jar tealights lighting up the Greenhouse by Joost at Melbourne Food and Wine – notice that apart from the legally required safety lighting, the entire dining area was lit purely by beeswax tealight candles. Go bees. Joost, the diners & the planet thanks you.
And here are trays of these beautiful little lights freshly poured from an enamel teapot at Queen B.
Trays of Jam Jar tealight candle refills
Jam Jar tealight candles in reusable glass jam jars
If you’re looking for a eco gift that is Australian made, supports our regional communities, will light up people’s lives, smells good, looks great and isn’t going to end up as landfill, look no further.
In my view of the world, people buying natural or organic products expect to be able to trust the producer to not be secretly using chemicals, or lying about organic certification. Unfortunately there is a player in this industry who is untrustworthy.
Last week I wrote a blog post about lessons I’d learned, mistakes made and the things I’m proudest of. At the same time, I’ve been sitting on this information for over a year and sitting on a draft of this post for over 6 months. I’ve been sitting on it because I am sick of negativity and I didn’t want to seem negative and I feel as if I am revealing the silent shame of the industry I am so passionate about.
As I reflected during the past week on the lessons I’ve learned and what I stand for, I realised that I wasn’t completely ‘leading with passion’, ‘trusting my gut’, ‘choosing what is right (not what is right now)’ or ‘paving my own path’. I am passionate about integrity. My gut instinct is that people are sick of being lied to and we need to have this conversation. I think it is ‘right’ (even at the risk of sounding negative) to air this. And, goodness knows, I’m marching to the beat of my own drum/paving my own path! And so it is that this post sees the light of day.
Claiming ‘certified organic beeswax’ when the wax you are using is not certified organic is,to me, a black and white issue. Making the claim is not only misleading and deceptive (and thereby a breach of the Trade Practices Act), but also shows a complete lack of integrity.
According to the ACCC, “A business that labels its product as certified organic must ensure that its product is actually certified. Any business that falsely advertises that its product is certified will contravene the CCA“.
The CCA is the Competition and Consumer Act. It “prohibits businesses from misleading or deceiving consumers, or from engaging in conduct that is likely to mislead or deceive. The CCA also prohibits businesses from making a range of false or misleading representations. Fines, injunctions and/or damages may be sought where businesses fail to meet these requirements“.
Having done my research and verified with their major beeswax supplier that they did not have organic certification [beekeepers are an honest breed] I called the ACCC and they said they are only able to investigate a small percentage of complaints made, but to put it in writing. The conversation didn’t instill much confidence. I feel like I could do with some bolstering.
How do you feel about businesses claiming their products are certified organic when they aren’t?
Unfortunately for us I know that these claims have impacted Queen B financially. I know that, for me, organic certification is important in the food I buy and the products I use on my skin and in my home. My gut feeling is that it would also be an important consideration to the type of person who would buy beeswax candles. Two candles, side by side, one claiming certified organic and another not, I too would probably choose the one claiming certified organic, as I know many people have [although having been around for as long as I have, I would expect to see the certifying body on their website and if it wasn't there I'd email requesting those details]. I’ve randomly met them. I’ve spoken to them on the phone. I have to admit that it does make me mad that an ethical business can suffer because of another with no ethics.
There is a very good reason that we haven’t gone down the ‘certified organic’ path at Queen B. Organic certification in so far as it relates to honey & beeswax is interesting. Simply put, organic certification requires that your hives are 5km’s from the nearest industry or chemically sprayed field, and as bees can fly up to 14km’s, certification is an expensive marketing ploy. That, of course, is a very simplistic explanation, but the fact remains that it is rare to find a third or fourth generation beekeeper who has gone down the path of organic certification. They employ good husbandry to ensure their hives are healthy and antibiotic & chemical treatment free. Every beekeeper that we buy from is a third, fourth or fifth generation beekeeper. I value experience and integrity over marketing.
If you have been duped by these claims of organic certification, I’d love it if you could pop me an email… I assume that the ACCC, like me, appreciate evidence and the more evidence I have, the better.
And finally, because I just worked out how to use polls on WordPress and I think they’re fabulous -
If you’re going for ‘other’ please keep it clean because I’m moderating the comments so that this doesn’t get out of hand!
As always I appreciate your comments and feedback whether here, on facebook, on twitter or privately via email. If you do feel passionately about this, please spread the word so that others can have their say too.
Winter has decided to join us again in Sydney for the day, so it seemed like a great time to do a craft project which has been on my lovely long list of things to do and share. These roll your own beeswax Christmas Tree candles are a great craft activity to do with kids (or inner children), make great gifts for teachers/friends/family/hosts or you could simply use them to decorate your own table.
Step 1 – Cut the sheets of beeswax in half
Step 2 – lay 3 sheets of wax end to end
Step 3 – use a straight edge (eg a wood mounted photograph from your trip to Africa) from the top LH corner to the bottom RH corner
Step 4 – cut the sheets as shown
Step 5 – roll the wax over the wick starting at the widest point of the beeswax sheet (be neat… it will determine whether your tree is round or not)!
Step 6 – Join the second sheet on where the first sheet finishes and keep rolling
Step 7 – Join the third sheet on where the second sheet ends… you’re almost there now!
Step 8 – marvel at the brilliance of what you and nature can create together
Step 9 – Bee created festive season ambience. Clever bees. Clever you.
And who are we to argue? If a discount means more people buying Queen B candles well that’s a great thing for our beekeepers and the regional communities they live in, not to mention creating more of a buzz at our hive. Worker Bees – both the insect and human varieties – love to be kept busy. So here’s what we’re going to do:
Each week in the lead up to Christmas we’ll put one of our best sellers at 20% off for 72 hours only. The line up is as follows:
05/10 – 07/10 20% off the entire Marrakech range of rolled pillars - yes, that’s this week’s special and because I’m a day late in doing this post, it runs for 2 days from today, all other weeks the special will be from Thursday – Saturday
There are some aspects of social media that I get, and some that I don’t. Twitter, for example, I don’t get. I have nothing useful to say in 160 characters. I don’t find much of what anyone else says in 160 characters that useful either. It’s a little too like shouting. Yet I have a friend who has built a multimillion dollar business from the ground up who tells me that a large part of that success is because of Twitter. One day I hope to get it.
Blogging, where I can be verbose and give waaaaaayyyyyyy too much information I get. I get feedback (which I love). It’s engaging. I think it lifts the veil a little on Queen B (not that there’s too much mystery there). It’s like sharing something with a friend… it makes you feel closer. I am not interested in “running a business”, I was to make a difference to people’s lives. I am not overly interested in flogging candles. I want to light up your dark times (and the romantic ones and the light ones in between).
Anyway, on Wednesday I was chatting to Working Bee and telling her about the online world and how it has changed the nature of business. We’d been tidying shelves and found these beautiful, little tealight cylinder hurricanes that I had bought months ago and I had never put online. So, we photographed them and we put them up on the website. We sold six within an hour and another 12 within 24 hours of the product going live. Mind blowing. And that was before we even blogged about them. Or put them in a newsletter. Or tweeted about it! And before the whole idea even went viral. Who would have thunk it?
I think what people like best is that it’s only $34.95 for the 6 holders. And it’s spring – so we get to play outdoors again. Oh, and it’s Australian Year of the Farmer and buying Queen B candles supports our farmers… but more on that later.
Oh if I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked that question!
A little history first – and I’ll be quick. Way back when, in the days when Queen B was still just a sparkle in my eye, I took up candle-making as a hobby (or therapy to treat anxiety). I took up painting at the same time (and carpentry!). It occurred to me that it would be great to be able to modernise the look of beeswax candles – to use the beeswax as a canvas. However, most paints are toxic, and generally paint won’t ‘stick’ to beeswax with any sort of longevity. It may stick for a while, but then it peels off… or seeps into the wax. We didn’t want peeling off, and we didn’t want seepage because ultimately when that wax is melted and drawn up the wick (to fuel the flame), the colouring is then combusted and you then breathe that in. [Just for the record, that is also why you won't find any coloured - or fragranced - beeswax candles from Queen B]
Long story short, about 18 months of R&D later, we came up with our formula. Our pigments are sourced from an Australian company (no surprises there) that has been in business for over 50 years. As they also provide pigments for children’s finger paint, their products are independently tested and certified heavy metal free every 3 years. They have never failed certification.
We are aware of a ‘competitor’ making all sorts of claims otherwise about our candles. It’s very sad that this is the case . Please do not be misled by this deceptive conduct (and if you have been, please pop me a note). While I consider the benefits of legal action versus unnecessary cost, I will continue to run Queen B with the integrity and thoroughness of research that is our hallmark and to hope that consumers will find this information and will trust not just what we say, but the feedback of our customers over the years. It would be completely incongruous given everything we do and stand for, for me to put a toxic paint on our candles.
On another note, just in terms of how the decoration works when your candle is burning… when burned in an indoor environment with a centred wick, our candles are designed so that the outside layer remains (creating a lantern effect). If burned in an environment where there is a breeze, you will get a larger flame and the outside layer may melt, HOWEVER, our clever formulation means that the decoration simply sits, inert, in the pool of wax. The colour does not leach out of the paint. And contrary to what is stated on our competitors website, it is impossible and against the laws of physics for the wick to draw up solid paint and therefore also impossible for it to be combusted.
Sadly, I know that this misleading information is influencing people. I get the emails. I get the phone calls. Our retailers call me telling me that they have received a call from this guy and that he has told them that by stocking our candles they are responsible for birth deformities. If it weren’t so serious, it would be completely laughable. Some days it really gets to me, but other days I am reminded of all the epiphanies I’ve had and that the world is a beautiful place, full of wonderful people and that if I just continue to live each day with integrity that somehow this will work itself out.
Phew… it’s actually good to have that out there. I’ve been putting it off because I am REALLY OVER NEGATIVITY but at the same time knowing that I have to do something because it is affecting us. So, we clear the slate. State the facts. And now we’ll just get on with lighting special moments, one drop of bee created wax at a time.
We’ve launched a lot of new candles in the past few years at Queen B, so I thought it was time to look at our Value Packs and to update them with a few of our new best-sellers (including the Bee Lights and Reversible Beehive candleholder). We’ve also made them even better value… and, of course, there’s free shipping included.
$100 Value Pack - includes Queen B pure beeswax tealights, tapers, Bee Lights, votives and a 15cm solid pillar. That’s $109.70 worth of candles for $100 and we’ll ship them to you for free (although, of course, it isn’t free for us)!
$100 Beeswax candle Value Pack
$150 Value Pack - includes Queen B pure beeswax tealights (4 hour and 9 hour), tapers, Bee Lights, a 15cm solid pillar, a squat solid pillar and one of our Australian made solid brass reversible beehive candleholders (fits a bee light one way or turn it upside down and pop in a taper). That’s $174.65 worth of candles for $150 and we’ll ship them to you for free!
$150 Beeswax candle Value Pack
$200 Value Pack - includes Queen B pure beeswax tealights (4 hour and 9 hour), tapers, Bee Lights, a 15cm solid pillar, a squat solid pillar, a votive, a 15cm narrow rolled pillar in any design (or Casablanca is the default design) and one of our Australian made solid brass reversible beehive candleholders (fits a bee light one way or turn it upside down and pop in a taper). That’s $232.50 worth of candles for $200 and we’ll ship them to you for free!
$200 beeswax candle Value Pack
$250 Value Pack - includes Queen B pure beeswax tealights (4 hour and 9 hour), tapers, Bee Lights, a 15cm solid pillar, a squat solid pillar, votives in glass + your first set of refills for them, a 10cm narrow rolled pillar in any design (or Marrakech is the default design), a 15cm narrow rolled pillar in any design (or Casablanca is the default design) and one of our Australian made solid brass reversible beehive candleholders (fits a bee light one way or turn it upside down and pop in a taper). That’s $299.30 worth of candles for $250 and we’ll ship them to you for free! That’s over 421 hours of pure beeswax candlelight. Better for you, better for the planet, better for your psyche and given the way electricity prices are going, probably cheaper than putting a lamp on too!
Recently I received a customer complaint. They weren’t happy with their votive candle as it wasn’t burning out to the edge of the glass.
[Ouch. Personal crisis. Need to convince myself that I am not a candle and this is not personal. Head spinning. Defies all logic and experience of burning over 500 votives in my life. Breathe deeply. Think rationally. Ask questions Cate.]
O.K. gathered thoughts and asked away. Turns out they were using the votive candle for their morning meditation. They meditate for around 20 minutes. Candle is lit for only 20 minutes. [Now feeling a little jealous that they manage to make the time to meditate for 20 minutes every morning and succeed in stilling their mind.]
Which brings me to the purpose of this post… about the candle burn times (not the meditation practice).
It is REALLY important when you’re choosing a candle, that you think about what the intended use for the candle is – ie how long you will typically burn it for (and in what conditions).
There are a few general pointers:
1. the wider the candle, the longer you need to burn it for
2. burning guidelines apply to say every second or third burn (ie if you have just lit your Queen B candles one night and you’re invited out to dinner, you don’t need to decline the invitation because you’ve just lit your Queen B candles! Just ensure that the next time you light them, you give them a longer burn… enough time to allow them to burn out to the edges.
3. if you are planning on burning candles outdoors (or in a breezy space) stick to the wider candles (chubbies or drippies in the solid candles and 10cm medium, 15cm medium or 20cm fat in the rolled pillars). Alternatively, invest in a glass hurricane lantern – they will stop the candle smoking and will ensure the candle doesn’t drip.
4. the best way to put out a candle is to push the wick into the pool of wax (and to ensure that it pops back out again). That stops the wick from smouldering and covers it with wax which protects the wick and ensures you don’t get black on your fingers when you trim the wick.
5. always ensure you trim your wick prior to relighting your candle. The wick should be trimmed to around 5 – 7mm. If you’ve dipped your wick to put the candle out prior, the wick should be rigid and coated in wax and you should be able to trim the wick simply by breaking off the top of it with your fingers.
6. it is not usually necessary to trim a wick while a candle is burning (the exception being if you burn candles for long periods of time where the top of the wick will become clogged with dust (and is therefore ‘dead’) as the beeswax candle does it’s thing ionising the air and drawing the dust into the pool of wax). If you do trim the wick while the candle is burning, please do not drop the wick back into the pool of wax… the more debris in the pool of wax, the more difficult it is for the candle to burn well.
7. Yes, keeping your candles in the fridge does give you a longer burn time overall. I personally prefer to keep my fridge for fresh produce and fermented grape juice, but each to their own.
Here’s a general guide on choosing the right candle according to your intended/average burn time
Burn time <30 minutes
Queen B Bee Lights
- Bee Lights (will burn for around 2.5 – 3.5 hours if left to burn from beginning to end)
- Tapers (will burn for around 12 hours if left to burn from beginning to end)