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


At Queen B we strive to create beautiful and stylish things that nourish the human spirit and nurture our environment. We would love you to join our community. You can do that by subscribing to our newsletters. We promise we won’t spam you.

You’ll be the first to know about new products, special offers, tips for using the candles and getting the most from them, and that is going on at Queen B’s hive.

Shop Queen B Pure Beeswax Candles HERE


I received this beautiful email from the winner of our Black Label competition. Thank you so much Storm. x 

Hi Cate

As our 4 year old daughter would say “WOOWZERS!”

Thank you so much, I am thrilled to have won.  I was more than happy to provide reviews, I had forgotten to do so after purchasing so it was a good reminder. 

I was reading a book, set back in 1700 in Holland, when the Dutch were the trading powerhouse of the world.  A scene was set whereby the normal candles in the house were replaced with the good bees wax candles as guests were coming and the house smelt of honey.  I was intrigued, so set about looking for large wide but not supper tall candles to go in our hurricane lanterns.  I googled and found a few sites and upon my research – I am pretty thorough when I decide to look into something, I found your site. I was impressed and read all your points about why bees wax is so good, and loved it was 100% Australian and glad to hear you are working to protect our bees, as I get a little patriotic that we have the cleanest bees in the world. 

So I took the leap of faith and was so impressed.  The box they arrived in was a delight.  My husband was so impressed (candles are not his thing) after what he saw on the bench he read your packaging and was telling the guys whom work for him how great these candles are after we tested the long ones at dinner that night – the girls loved them because who doesn’t love long candles sticks on the dinner table. Still amazed they do not drip!  I shared the card and tiny mini candle that came in the packaging with my friend who was returning to work after her first baby.  She too was impressed.

So thank you again for selecting me to be your winner, I am genuinely thrilled and cannot wait to have my house smelling of honey and bees wax.  Regardless I will still continue to tell people how much we enjoy your candles.


Shop for Queen B Pure Beeswax Candles HERE

Beeswax Candles

Vue De Monde

Thinking Globally, Acting Locally

It’s always important when you’re thinking of starting a business to think about whether the world actually needs what you’re thinking of creating!  Just because you think you’ve found your life’s purpose doesn’t necessarily mean that the world needs it!

On the surface of it, the world didn’t need another candle business when I started Queen B fourteen years ago, and yet, when you scratched the surface, it absolutely needed what we had to offer.

At Queen B our vision and our goals are global but we also make a measurable difference by supporting the local community we’re a part of.

  • Globally, the Amazon and the virgin rainforests of Asia needed someone to scream from the rooftops about the clear felling taking place for soy and palm plantations. According to a Greenpeace blog post in May 2016, the amount of land soy occupies in the Amazon region is up 260% (since 2006).
  • Globally, someone needed to take a stand about this massive lie that is marketing soy wax as ‘natural’. The dictionary definition of natural when used as an adjective is existing in or derived from nature; not made or caused by humankind.”  How is it possible to call chemically bleached, heavy metal hydrogenated soya oil, “natural soy wax”?
  • Globally someone needed to shine a light on the plight of bees and the destruction being wreaked upon them by ‘big business’, by monocropping, by Monsanto and their GM crops and neonicitinoid chemical sprays and fertilisers.
  • The world absolutely needed an alternative to the paraffin and soy candles that dominate the market and to be honest, I thought it also needed an alternative to the beeswax candles made by beekeeper’s (sorry beekeeper’s)!

Of course, on each of these fronts there are literally tens of thousands if not millions of people who are trying to make a difference. Does that make our voice or our actions irrelevant?  Personally I don’t think so.  Change will happen when enough consumers demand it happen (it can, of course, be helped along by governments and the courts as in the case of the neonicotinoid ban in the EU).


One of the things that gets me up in the morning is strongly held values and convictions.  If you genuinely believe (rightly or wrongly!) that you’re making the world a better place, that the world needs what you’re offering, then it’s difficult to wile away time doing nothing!  I lament big agriculture (well big anything really… except for the Big Banana and its cohorts)!  The demands of the super market giants are making it nigh impossible for small farmers to survive.  So, we choose to support 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation beekeepers in Australia.  Our buying Australian beeswax (and paying top dollar for it) means our beekeepers can continue to make a living from beekeeping.  Our hand making every candle in Australia not only keeps those artisan skills alive, but also creates jobs.  Ditto the local foundry we support who make our Wee Willie Winkies and Dunny Lights and the local metal turner who makes all of our other metal candleholders.  If we don’t put our money where our mouth is, those skills will be lost in Australia forever.


Without exception, every well meaning friend or advisor who has looked at our figures immediately asks how we can get the cost of our wax down.  Can we blend it with a cheaper wax? Can we import beeswax? Both options are entirely possible unless of course you’re passionate about making a difference locally.  Which we are.  I never think it is someone else’s job to care about things that are within my control.  If I can have an impact, if I can make a meaningful contribution then I will, regardless of the cost.  I am passionate about Australia having viable and vibrant regional communities, about farmers being able to make a decent living working the land and so I’m going to do my darndest to support that.


We have worked hard to move our own business forward, which in doing so helps support other local Australian businesses.  It has been incredibly rewarding to have had the opportunity to have worked with some of the world’s top luxury brands.  We’ve made candles for Cartier.  Dom Perignon commissioned us to make a light sculpture which still hangs at Vue de Monde in Melbourne.  Dior lit their Sydney store opening with Queen B candles.  We’ve made candles for Swarovski and Bollinger.  The World Wildlife Fund lit the global launch event for Earth Hour with Queen B candles.  And we’ve loved collaborating with other global thinking local brands like Dinosaur Designs and Penfolds.  I believe that the more we work with brands who are globally relevant, the greater the opportunity to increase awareness about both global and local issues.


At the same time, it’s also rewarding to be creating a community here.  There is absolutely nothing like a thank you email, a card, a photograph or a call from a customer to give us a lift.  Even when a customer calls because they’re disappointed in some way (which is thankfully rare), I am so grateful that they know me well enough to know I’d want to know and that they care enough to take time out of their day to communicate.  It’s a privilege doing what we do.  It’s a privilege to be able to live your dream.  It’s a privilege to be able to support our farmers and beekeepers.  It’s a privilege to be make something that is capable of transforming your day.  It’s a gift to be able to make a difference locally, to think globally and to make something with your hands that is recognised by some of the finest brands in the world as being world class.


As consumers we have great power to create the world we want to live in by the purchasing decisions we make.  I thought it may be useful to share some of the thinking behind Queen B and the decisions we make so that you can better understand our brand and what your hard earned money is supporting!

Join the conversation – leave us a comment. We would love to know what brands do you support because of their values?

Cate xx




At Queen B we strive to create beautiful and stylish things that nourish the human spirit and nurture our environment. We would love you to join our community. You can do that by subscribing to our newsletters. We promise we won’t spam you.

You’ll be the first to know about new products, special offers, tips for using the candles and getting the most from them, and that is going on at Queen B’s hive.

Shop Queen B Pure Beeswax Candles HERE



Queen B Beeswax Candles


On the cusp of the launch of our Black Label range, I thought it may be interesting to share a little of the thinking and inspiration that has gone into creating the range.

It all began over 2 years ago visiting my sister who lives in London.  I took myself off to Liberty and eventually made my way to the candle department where I tried to imagine Queen B candles on the shelves.  If you know me you’ll know I have a pretty wild imagination, but even I struggled to see it!!  Every brand they stocked had exquisite packaging.  I knew hand on heart that a Queen B candle is a far superior in wax, ethics, integrity and burning performance, but I was letting the bees down by not creating packaging that communicated wordlessly the quality of what was in the box.  And so the idea for our Black Label range was planted.

What followed was a few months of working out what we wouldn’t change for Black Label and what the difference with Black Label would be.  I have now shared some of that with you in the series of blog posts we have rolled out over the last 7 days. Check them out if you haven’t already.

As we barrel towards the launch of Black Label, I guess like anyone launching something that’s important to them, my stomach is churning and hoping that I haven’t oversold the entire thing!  Like a mother introducing the world to her new child (this one with a 2 year gestation), I just want everyone to think her beautiful!

Thanks for being on this journey with us and thanks for allowing us the privilege of lighting up your life (and hopefully those of your friends, family and colleagues).

We’re so excited to be bringing you something that we believe is truly extraordinary tomorrow…

With enormous thanks from the team at the hive.

Cate xx

Black Label

Enhancing Life


I cannot think of many moments in life that aren’t enhanced by the light of a beeswax candle… be it bookkeeping (yes, that’s one of my favourite uses!), winding down at the end of the day, making a bath a real luxury, providing the ambience for a dinner party, spring cleaning (the ionising properties of beeswax candles will help make the job easier!), lighting up a wedding or event, helping with focus during meditation or yoga… the list is endless.


As I admit to complete and utter bias, I thought I’d share a small selection of the letters and emails we’ve received from customers over the years about how Queen B candles have enhanced their lives.


Winding down after work

“I bought a beautiful gift for my best friend but not before buying a couple of candles just for me!!! I love them. I burn them and feel an immediate sense of peace…. So, thank you for doing what you do. I come home from work, light my candles and my heart feels an immediate wave of peace and clarity. I can’t pass my candles without admiring the poise of the flame and the unique way the wax melts and shapes the candles into what I believe is a temporary piece of artwork.” R Gangemi


Family time

“For Earth Hour ourselves, we started at 7.30, eating dinner by candlelight. The dinner table was covered in candles and the kids went to bed at 8.30 by candlelight. The kids enjoyed it all so much that they have asked if we can do it regularly.” C Martin


Day to day life for someone with chemical sensitivities

“About 20 years ago I started learning about and experiencing the benefits of using pure beeswax candles as I had been diagnosed as being extremely sensitive to electromagnetic radiation and all chemicals. Using pure beeswax candles for all my lighting over a 5 year period helped me to overcome the worst of my sensitivities.” F Dodd


Transforming your workplace

“Since discovering Queen B candles I no longer burn anything else and tell all and sundry just how beautiful they are and that the aroma is just delicious. I’ve even given my workplace a treat and taken tealights in to burn during the day (perhaps more for me than anything!)” S Hirst


Stress Management

“I will admit to taking long deep breaths of a Queen B candle during moments of stress!! I will also say that it has an instant calming effect on me as well, and it’s so good to hear that I’m not the only one who does it!!” L Rorison


Adding atmosphere

“A belated thank you for helping us out with the candles for our ‘Greening the Wharf’ dinner for Al Gore last week. It was a great night and the candles added to the atmosphere.” C Blanchette


Lighting up a wedding or event

“we were totally happy with the 9 hour tea light candles we used at our Wedding, lots of guests commented on how gorgeous all the candles looked – they created such warm, magical atmosphere, helping to make the room look truly beautiful, and with no yucky/toxic smoke to boot! And my husband Mathew was very impressed that they did indeed burn for the whole Reception. I would recommend them to anyone.” Z Barram


Photo courtesy of Luisa Brimble/ Stacey Clark, The Creatives

Lifestyle shift

“Recession be damned, relaxing by candle light is part of a lifestyle shift for people who want to turn off the endless stimulation, the TV, and have quality time.” E Kent


Increasing vibrational energy

“Thanks so much for doing that for me . You going out of your way is very much appreciated, believe me. The purity of your candles over the last year have enabled us to increase the overall vibrational energy within our work probably 10 fold.” A Hill


Improving focus and sense of wellbeing

“I’m working from home today. And lit 4 candles in the room that I’m working in … and I swear they’ve helped me focus and just helped my general sense of wellbeing.” M Owens

… I can also attest to having a few candles lit in my peripheral vision whenever I’m doing bookkeeping as a way of keeping calm doing something that I really don’t enjoy doing!!


Lessening hayfever

“What a delight – and as an unexpected side effect (aside from the delightful smell of honey through the house) my hayfever has lessened. I won’t say that it’s completely resolved my hayfever, but it’s had a significant impact I must say.” C Greval


Lighting up childbirth

“Thank you, I received your candles just in time – my little girl was born 10 days early! Your candles created a beautiful light for our home birth, so thanks for all your efforts to send them quickly to us. And I stilll have plenty for peaceful evenings ahead!” L O’Grady


Photo courtesy of Sugarlove photography

Therapeutic benefits

“I just wanted to share with you guys that I’m a hypnotherapist and I leave an oil burner going in my clinic room all day. Yesterday I switched out the old paraffin tealight candles with Queen B beeswax ones, and I couldn’t help but notice my clients and I were drifting off to an even deeper trance than we usually do! Great stuff!” M Tran


Spring Cleaning

“I recently bought one of your value packs to test out the Queen B candles, and the verdict is that I love, love them! I’m in a little fit of spring cleaning at the moment, and as part of it, out went 50+ tealights from IKEA (which in comparison don’t smell very nice at all..) as well as some fragranced candles from PartyLight (they smell nice until one burns them, and then they are overpowering and irritate my nose…) I have loved candles for as long as I can remember, a quality inherited from my Dad. We will both be using only Queen B from now on!” C Watts


Providing comfort

“There aren’t enough words to express our love, thanks and gratitude for all that you did for us… G & S’s service was beautiful and having them surrounded by your loving, sweet light made it just perfect. … we have continued to light your candles each night since and they have provided us with much comfort over the past two months. … you provided us with such beautiful light during the darkest time of our lives.” Names withheld for privacy


Share your story of how Queen B Candles enhance your life. Send us an email, or post a photo to Facebook or Instagram – and tag us so that we can share in your beautiful moments. 

Browse our online shop HERE

At Queen B we strive to create beautiful and stylish things that nourish the human spirit and nurture our environment. We would love you to join our community. You can do that by subscribing to our newsletters. We promise we won’t spam you.

You’ll be the first to know about new products, special offers, tips for using the candles and getting the most from them, and the goings on at Queen B’s hive.



Made with Love

Photo Credit: Jo Walker

Image courtesy of Jo Walker

Made With Love

Regardless of where you sit on the ‘spiritual spectrum’, it is difficult to deny that a product made by a skilled and nurturing hand is generally superior to one churned out of a machine (there are, of course, many exceptions).

It is little wonder then that many of the world’s luxury brands still choose to have their products made by hand as there is a level of care and attention that a product being made en masse just don’t have. There is a certain hallmark of a hand made product where every item is unique.

Certainly in beeswax candle-making no two days are the same. Every candle is hand-poured or hand rolled. Every candle is hand wicked. Every candle is finished by hand. If you line up the tealights in a box, you will see that no two are exactly the same.

So why do we continue with this (same may say foolhardy) method? It’s mainly due to honour. Showing honour to the bees and our beekeepers who work extraordinarily hard to make and then harvest a beautiful beeswax for us. And honouring you and your choice to spend your money on Queen B candles. It’s a choice that we’ve made in this fast paced, mass produced, compromising world to slow it down.


Queen B is team of 3!!

We may appear to be a large business, but Queen B is a team of 3! We have a part time candlemaker doing the poured candles and a part time order packer helping to pack the orders. Then there is Sarah, full time, who prepares the invoices, packs order, takes care of the retail store, answers the phone, responds to emails and enquiries, orders for the shop and business, makes a killer cup of tea and uploads product on the website. And there’s me doing the candle rolling, packaging design, bookkeeping, PR, marketing, newsletters, product development, painting, training and all logistics.

At the end of every email you send, every order you place, every product review you write is either Sarah or myself grinning broadly (well, Sarah is British, so it would be the slightest of smiles, but I know she is bubbling with excitement deep down)!!

pouring-tealights_emailWe LOVE your photographs. We LOVE your anecdotes. We LOVE knowing when we’ve done something well (and even when we haven’t). We LOVE it when you acknowledge the handwritten note with every order or the extra gift that we put in with larger order (about 98% of people don’t acknowledge the extra gift). We all genuinely care that you have an incredible experience with you come into contact with Queen B.

We make by caring hand, we pack by loving hand because hands are one of the things that make human beings unique amongst mammals and we think it’s worth using them to good purpose.

Share your photos with us anytime, and be sure to tag us when you post to Facebook or Instagram.

And don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter HERE for exclusive offers and updates on everything happening at the Hive.

Beauty with Benefits


Beeswax Candles

Image courtesy of Kara Rosenlund

As humans we are naturally drawn to beauty… but what keeps us interested is substance. What’s there when you scratch the surface?

There is something primal about the light and warmth provided by a candle flame. We are drawn to its natural light. As civilisation has progressed, the use of candles has changed from being functional to a tool used to create an ambience – be that for meditation, relaxation, romance, entertainment or atmosphere.

More recently, candles are no longer just being used for special occasions, they’re being used to find calmness in our busy lives. Their beauty is now part of our self-nurturing practices, adding to moments of stillness and reflection. We consider it a privilege to be part of these moments. It is an extra-ordinary honour to make light for a living … to make light that is good for you and for the planet.

Here’s a couple of ways that Queen B candles do that.
Burning a beeswax candle is said to be a natural ioniser.

What is ionisation? Ionisation is the addition or removal of an electron to create an ION. Dust, germs, allergens, pollution etc are positively charged ions that float in the air. A beeswax candle is said to emit negative ions when burning. The negative ion attaches to the positive ion to create an atom and as an atom is heavier than air, it drops to the ground (or is drawn into the pool of wax).

I was recently speaking to a retailer of many years who had been burning our tealights for years and towards the end of the conversation she mentioned that our latest batch of tealights weren’t burning very well. As we order tealight wicks 100,000 at a time and we’re about 60,000 wicks through the latest batch with no previously reported issues, and our know our wax well and knew that wouldn’t be the issue, I started brainstorming it with her. Was the tealight on a level surface… yes. Was it being burned on a very warm or cold surface… no. Had anyone started renovations nearby recently?… yes, there was a new shopping centre going up over the road. Voila! A beeswax candle is a natural ioniser… so it was busy working it’s little heart out drawing all of the new airborn particulate matter into the pool of wax clogging the base of the wick. Funnily enough, we had an even more passionate retailer after that as she understood yet another benefit of burning beeswax candles. We also suggested that she switch to burning pillar candles as the larger wick makes it better able to cope with dirt in the pool of wax and would provide even greater ionising benefits.

If non-toxic was a luxury, Beeswax candles would be the ultimate luxury.

We’ve been working on our Black Label range for 2 years since the original idea.

Shortly we will be unveiling to you our Black Label range. It’s an idea that we’ve been working on for 2 years. My dream was to create an exceptional range of Queen B candles and to create packaging for them that was as exquisite, useful and timeless as the candles themselves. Packaging that was as luxurious as a hand crafted, natural beeswax candle is in this day and age of toxic products churned out en masse from machinery.


Image courtesy of Kara Rosenlund

Firstly, I had to find a way of not creating packaging that would simply create more landfill. So, we’ve created boxes that are so rigid, so well crafted and so stylish that we believe they’ll have many lives post the Queen B candle that comes in them. It means we’ve printed all the product information on a paper sleeve you can feed to the worms, compost or recycle and you’ll be left with an exquisite black box with just the most subtle and stylish little Queen B moniker on it. And the candles in them… well they’re a little something special to which we’ll be unveiling to you very shortly!

We all need a little time out to ourselves to reflect and re-energise. Give yourself the gift of pure, natural, beautiful light.

You can check out our beautiful selection of natural, 100% Pure Beeswax candles HERE.

Or get exclusive deals by being a part of the Queen B community by subscribing to our newsletters.




Photo credit: Kara Rosenlund

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