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Archive for the ‘Beeswax Candles & Candle Making’ Category

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

 

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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.

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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

 

 

 

 

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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 . 

 

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tosca-get-free-aluminium-candleholder

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.

Storm

Shop for Queen B Pure Beeswax Candles HERE

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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

 

 

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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

 

 

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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

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