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… Designer, hand-rolled pillar candles from Queen B!

That’s quite the brief and I don’t use the terms, or make the promise, lightly.

Queen B started some 15 or so years ago with a range of hand-rolled and individually painted beeswax pillar candles.  That was our entire range!  With some 40 or so other solid candles in our range, times have changed, but it is still our hand-rolled pillars that garner the most feedback as there is nothing else on the market like them.

Hand rolled beeswax pillar candles - Seraphina Queen B

Seraphina – 20cm fat & 15cm medium (shown L-R: 20cm fat, 15cm medium)

 

Designed to burn down inside their individually painted, beeswax wrap each pillar really is an individual work of art.  Every design evocative rather than literal and created with room for it to be whatever you need it to be.  Whether you’re looking for a colour palette or a design to signify an event or a design which captures a memory.

One of my favourite ranges are our two collaborations with Dinosaur Designs… there is no one better to learn about colour than Stephen Ormandy, and Louise (Olsen) is fascinating to learn from from a design perspective.

 

Dinosaur Designs collaboration with Queen B - designs by Stephen Ormandy

Dinosaur Designs – Yellow, Red & Blue (shown L-R: 15cm med, 10cm med, 20cm fat, 15cm med, 10cm med… you get the picture!)

 

A perpetual favourite is our Renaissance design which features the latin expression Aliis volat propriis meaning “I fly with my own wings”.  It’s been part of the range for 14 years and it’s popularity has never waned.

Aliis volat propriis handrolled beeswax pillar candle

Renaissance design (shown L-R: 10cm medium, 20cm fat, 15cm medium, 10cm narrow)

 

Whilst they’re not necessarily Christmassy, our two most popular candles at this time of year are without a doubt Casablanca and Marrakech (oh, and Seraphina featured in the first photograph)!

Rolled designer beeswax candle Christmas

Timeless all year ’round or another festive design – Marrkech (shown L-R: 10cm narrow, 20cm fat, 10cm medium, 15cm narrow)

 

decorated rolled beeswax candle in Casablanca design

Perfect for Christmas or a trip to Morocco (without leaving home) is Casablanca (shown L-R: 15cm narrow, 20cm narrow, 10cm medium, 10cm narrow, 15cm medium)

 

Most popular for gifts for overseas visitors or customers going overseas?… without a doubt it’s Aussie Gum!

Australian made, hand rolled beeswax pillar candle

Aussie Gum (shown L-R: 10cm medium, 15cm narrow, 20cm fat, 10cm narrow, 15cm medium)

 

And, of course, there is our Honeycomb range which is just completely timeless.

Hand rolled honeycomb beeswax pillar candles

Honeycomb (shown: 10cm narrow)

You can see the entire range of Queen B hand rolled pillar candles here.

 

Several years ago one of my sister’s gave me an absolutely spectacular candleholder.  Bought in London and weighing in at almost 15kg’s (it’s solid cast iron and at the time was packaged in it’s own wooden box), she’d brought it back for me as hand luggage!!  Her efforts were well worth it as it’s my go to holder when I’m entertaining or on those nights when I just need a little extra something special.

More recently I loaned it to a friend for an art installation, the success of which saw my candelabra touring Australia.  Keen to get it back, I sourced him a new one and at the same time sourced a few extra – one for him, one for Joost, one for the shop and one for you!

Brutalist and industrial, stylish yet functional the Tom Dixon Spin Candelabra is a statement piece which takes its inspiration from the robust components of bridges and engines from the Victorian era.  An inverted mobile holding 5 candles (choose between tapers, tealights or Solid Pillars – or mix them up), the arms spin allowing you to direct light where you’d like it.

Height: 55cm (21.6″), Width 105cm (41.3″)

Coming in at just over $1,000 I appreciate that the pricing makes it a very special piece indeed (and that I have a VERY generous sister… or she’s allaying her guilt for telling me I was adopted for all of those years!) BUT I have to say, that if happiness could be bought, this would be high on the list of objects that create it!

We’re throwing in 5 x 20cm Solid Beeswax Taper candles so that you can fire her up as soon as she arrives!

Note: it no longer comes in a wooden box

Tom Dixon Spin Candelabra

Tom Dixon Spin Candelabra (with a few of my other favourite things at the hive!)

 

tom-dixon-spin-candelabra

Spin with a little more light

 

Tom Dixon Spin Candelabra from around the interwebs!

Tom Dixon Spin Candelabra from around the interwebs!

 

Spin Candelabra at Joost's place

Spin Candelabra at Joost’s place

 

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the total retail spend in December 2015 was $24.8 billion.  Just try to conceptualise that for a moment.  $24.8 billion!  1/10,000th of that would completely change things for Queen B… and by virtue thereof, bees and Australian beekeepers.

The sad reality is that many gifts will simply be landfill in a few months or regifted.  It was estimated last Christmas (by Galaxy Research on behalf of gumtree.com.au) that 20.6 million gifts (costing an average of $65) were unwanted.

And that’s where Queen B comes in!

Given there isn’t a single person in Australia (or the world for that matter) that wouldn’t appreciate a pure beeswax candle, we’re hoping for a slice of the retail spend.  Regardless of whether a person only burns candles in emergencies, burns candles on special occasions or burns candles regularly as part of their lives, a pure beeswax candle is always going to perform the task better than any other type of candle.

So, we’ve been busy coming up with ideas…

First up, we’ve put together some great gifts that come in under $20.  Perfect for Kris Kringle.  Lovely host/hostess gifts.  Gorgeous stocking stuffers.  In addition to the candles which we make ourselves, we only stock things that we use and love ourselves.  As our mission is to light up lives one hand made beeswax candle at a time, we keep the margins low to make things affordable.

Here’s a little selection of some of the small gifts we’ve got lined up this year (all 3 featured below are $13.50 each with 5% off if you order >6 and 10% off if you order >10…

One of our favourite things in the La Rochere range of glassware made in France is this little cupcake tealight candleholder... comes with a 4-5hr tealight (in clear cup), packaged in a sinamay bag

One of our favourite things in the La Rochere range of glassware made in France is this little cupcake tealight candleholder… comes with a 4-5hr tealight (in clear cup), packaged in a sinamay bag

 

This gorgeous silver glass urn is silver enough to be festive and stunning enough to be used al year round... comes with a 4-5hr tealight (in clear cup) and packaged in a sinamay bag

This gorgeous silver glass urn is silver enough to be festive and stunning enough to be used all year round… comes with a 4-5hr tealight (in clear cup) and packaged in a sinamay bag

 

 

If none of those take your fancy, we’ve got a myriad of Tealight Candle Holders and we’ve also got other great Christmas Gift ideas costing <$25.  Best of all, when you give a Queen B candle, you’re also supporting Australian beekeepers and the regional communities they live in and helping sustain our small little operation here at Queen B.

Every so often we come across candle holders so beautiful that even though they mask seeing your beeswax candles in all their glory (!!), they bring something else to the table… in the case of these stunning holders, it’s the light patterns that they cast.

The last time we included them in a newsletter, they sold out in 2 days.  We’ve managed to source some new stock, so here they are again… and this time we’ve gone a little crazy with photography because the photographer just kept capturing new and different angles and I couldn’t decide on a winner.

There are two styles of lanterns – round and teardrop.

All holders were photographed with a Queen B tealight in a clear cup (ensuring light from all sides)… there is no need to buy bigger pillar candles for the larger holders.

Hanging Teardrop Lanterns

Teardrop lanterns - available in small ($27.50) and large ($34.95)... can be sat on a flat surface

Teardrop lanterns – available in small ($27.50) and large ($34.95)… can be sat on a flat surface (all dimensions when you click on product detail online)

 

Teardrop lanterns can also be hung to create beautiful light patterns a wall

Teardrop lanterns can also be hung to create beautiful light patterns a wall

 

Round Cargo Lanterns

Round Cargo Lanterns in Small ($19.95), Medium (24.95) and Large ($34.95)

Round Cargo Lanterns in Small ($19.95), Medium (24.95) and Large ($34.95)

 

Moroccan Lanterns - casting beautiful patterns on the table surface and surrounding objects

Moroccan Lanterns – casting beautiful patterns on the table surface and surrounding objects

 

And another angle because we couldn't believe how stunning they are!

And another angle because we couldn’t believe how stunning they are!

 

 

See more and shop online by clicking HERE

We’re vicariously finishing school here at Queen B…  Sarah’s daughter writes her last HSC exam today and I have to say I think we’ve all handled it magnificently!

In amongst the exam study, “we’ve” (I use the term loosely as my role is just to listen to Sar) been getting everything ready for the Year 12 formal (we’re the organising committee🙂 and we’ve got our Teacher’s gifts sorted.  So why this blog post if the gifts are already done?

Well, I’m reliably informed that our teachers receive A LOT of scented candles as gifts from students and if I was a teacher I would be deeply affronted were I to receive a candle other than a pure beeswax candle.  Plus not everyone is finishing their HSC TODAY (did I mention “we” are… forEVER!!!!) and so I’m sure there are some of you that still have that quandary on the to-do list.

So, we put our thinking caps on – “If I was a teacher and I was to receive a gift, I’d love…” and “If I was a parent and I seemed to have a million children with a million different teachers and I want a million dollar gift that doesn’t cost the earth…” and we’ve come up with a few cracking ideas and offers so that we can all just finish school in style.

Now, just put yourself in the teacher’s shoes and see what you think…

$25 ish

La Rochere Dragonfly Tealight Holder + 4-5hr Tealights (clear cups) – Box of 5 – $24.95la-rochere-dragonfly-tealight-holder
Not only are these candleholders made in France (where La Rochere have made their glassware since 1476), but the dragonfly has a lovely spiritual significance.

We’ve teamed with up with a lovely little box of bee created light (a box of 4-5hr tealights in clear cups) and applied a discount of around 10% so the pack is selling for $24.95.

 

 

 

 

La Rochere “Buzz” Tealight Holder + 4-5hr Tealights (clear cups) – Box of 5 – $24.95

la-rochere-buzz-tealight-candle-holderAgain this holder is made in France but the other lovely thing is the pattern of light created by the rings in this holder… it casts a beautiful pattern on a table (when sitting alone) or on the wall (if sitting up against a wall).  You’re going to have to trust us on this because my photography skills are limited at best.

Again, we’ve teamed it up with a pack of tealights so that it’s a gift ready to use immediately and we’ve taken into account the ‘million teachers and million children’ issue that us parents have and we’ve discounted the pack to $24.95 (around 10% off).

 

 

 

$30 ish

Hand rolled 10cm narrow Renaissance pillar candle – $29.95

2renaissance_website-no-labelsAlways a favourite in our range of hand rolled, individually painted pillar candles is the Renaissance design… the writing ‘Aliis Volat Propris” is a latin expression meaning “I fly with my own wings”.  How beautiful is that?

Seriously, if you were making a candle with a teacher in mind you’d be hard pressed to find a more perfect sentiment… thanks for the learnings teacher and with that, I’ll fly with my own wings.

As we’re a little delirious (and this is Sarah’s favourite), she’s decided that instead of being $34.95 and coming in the cardboard wrap packaging, we’re going to put them in a sinamay gift bag, offer them at $29.95 AND throw in a gift card (“A little bit of light” unless you specify otherwise in the comments on checkout).  Lucky we’re only doing our HSC occasionally around here or we’d be in trouble.

 

$40 ish

Hand rolled 15cm narrow Phoenix pillar candle – $39.95

phoenix-low-res

Again you’ve got Sar to thank for this one.  We phased Phoenix out a couple of years ago to make way for Pollen, but it was always one of our most popular designs and as we were making some for our teacher’s gifts, we made a few extra’s.

We’ve discounted these to $39.95 so they’re for an extra-special-teacher.

We’re also throwing in the “A little bit of light” gift card so everything is taken care of.

 

 

I’m thinking this is going to be a wonderful year for teachers this year.  Whilst I know we all want our child to give the gift that stands out, I think that given the consequences of keeping these offers a secret, it would be great for teachers Australia wide (and our beekeepers, and the French glass makers) if you could also spread the word.

I’m exhausted even from being a vicarious parent…

Yours in solidarity

Cate x

 

 

 

 

 

diwali_festival

For many years we had a Nepali candlemaker at Queen B and as we had lunch together every day I got to know a lot about Nepalese culture… with one Hindu and one Buddhist parent, I got to know a lot of those too and the various celebrations and festivals.  Every October I’d take Tilly and some of his friends out for dinner to celebrate Diwali… the Hindu Festival of Light.  If you’re looking for an alternative to the Halloween mania that seems to be going on, the celebration of Diwali is beautiful… let me share a little.

Diwali has a strong spiritual significance… of light over darkness (got to love that), good conquering evil, knowledge over ignorance and hope over despair. Really I could stop there.  Just read that bit again.  We should celebrate Diwali daily and year round.

The celebrations are marked with millions of lights shining from housetops, outside doors and windows, around temples and other buildings in the communities and countries where the festival is observed. Prior to Diwali night people clean, renovate and decorate their houses and offices. On the night of Diwali, they dress in their best clothes, light candles and lamps everywhere and participate in prayers – typically to the goddess of ‘happiness and good fortune’.

cargo-candle-holder-small

Realistically, it doesn’t really matter what you believe or which festivals you observe, these types of events are about the rituals that are attached to them, the reflecting that we do as part of these rituals and the coming together as a community.  As someone who has struggled with anxiety on and off for many years, I’m a big fan of ritual… be that an end of day ritual (for me it is obviously about lighting candles!), a clean out or clean up (with beeswax candles being a natural ioniser, I light candles for that too!!!), a weekend ritual, your morning coffee/tea, writing, reading, having a bath or anything that helps you focus more on what is good in your life.

[I’m LOL’ing because I literally use candles on every one of those occasions and I think that perhaps I need to broaden my horizons a little!]

If you’re a little perplexed by the pumpkins and ghoulish costumes in every shop window, can I suggest that perhaps you may like to consider celebrating Dewali (daily) as an alternative? … remember, light over darkness, good conquering evil, knowledge over ignorance and hope over despair.

Happy Diwali Queen B community,

With love from Cate, the rest of the Queen B team and our former candlemaker, Tilak  xx

 

copper-dunny-light

 

We have Australian Made candle holders including the traditional ‘Dunny Light’, ‘Wee Willie Winkie’, and metal candle holders, making a quintessential gift and the ideal accompaniment for your rituals and celebrations. Shop online HERE . 

 

business

Photo courtesy of Chalk On Stone

I’m often asked by customers who are also small business owners for advice on running a small business.  With a big business background I guess I’ve brought a lot of those lessons and learnings with me into Queen B.  Whether you’re running a small business, you’re running a big business or you’re a small cog in a big business, what I’ve learned is universally applicable.

First amongst those things is that in order to survive, you need to stand for something (but always keep your mind open to evolving).  Over the years we’ve had literally hundreds of retailers selling Queen B candles and over the years I’ve seen many of them fail.  If I had to pick a trend or lesson, it is that the businesses that are very clear on what they stand for are the ones that are still standing (and growing and thriving).

One of our most successful retailers is a shop in Carlton (Melbourne) called Make Designed Objects.  Pat, who owns Make, is absolutely clear on stocking “the best designed product from around the world”.  Over the years we’ve seen the size of his store double, he’s set up stores for the National Gallery of Victoria and the Powerhouse Museum and his sales of Queen B candles have increased 7 fold since he first stocked our candles.  Anyone looking for a gift for someone who is hard to buy for or someone who has a design aesthetic knows exactly where to go.  We’re all busier than ever so we’ll go where our needs are most likely to be met.

Another success story is our retailer Biome.  In the eight or so years that Biome has stocked Queen B we’ve seen them grow from one store to four.  Again, they are absolutely clear on what they stand for.  When you go into a Biome store, you’re going to find a product that is organic, natural, recycled or fair trade.

At one stage, the business of the metal turner who makes our metal candleholders was on its last legs because all of the big mining and manufacturing companies thought they’d save a lot of money having their bits made in China.  He wasn’t prepared to compromise on the metals that he used and so he couldn’t compete on price, so he went back to TAFE and did night school.  But his previous clients soon learned that the cheaper bits failed, costing them more than they’d saved and now our metal turning friend is so busy we’re having to book our jobs in weeks in advance.

The story is the same for one of the local printing companies we use, for the foundry we use and even for us.  We’re all crystal clear on what we stand for and that makes us a known quantity.

The one caveat that I’d add is that whilst it is important not to compromise, it is essential to evolve.  I always thought our two most compelling features were that we were non-toxic to burn and Australian made but it was conversations with Make and Dinosaur Designs that made me realise that we’re also a design company and that is just as important.

More recently I had to look at our values as it related to packaging.  I had always been absolutely committed to packaging Queen B in beautiful, environmentally responsible packaging.  I wouldn’t do elaborate, tree felling packaging that was going to go in the bin as soon as the product was removed.  That precluded me from seeing the opportunity of Black Label for well over a decade.  When I started thinking about the Black Label range, I realised that I could still be absolutely committed to beautiful, environmentally responsible packaging by making the packaging so rigid that it would have many lifetimes once the candle was removed.  Sure, it means we have 12 cubic metres of Black Label packaging to house at the moment, but it allowed us to evolve.

The real ‘juice’ in any idea comes from the conversation.  I’d love you to add to the discussion.  What do you think?  What other brands or businesses have you come across who are absolutely clear on what they stand for and how does that make life easier for you in your decision making or in your commitment to their product?

Cate xx

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