We’re having a party! Why? Because somewhere along the line we had our 10 year anniversary without really celebrating it and because, truth be known, I’m happiest in a candle lit hive, filled with our favourite people and other kindred spirits, cooking up a storm and serving great Australian drinks.
Here are the important details:
Date: Thursday, 10th December 2015
Time: from 5.00pm (these things usually wrap up around 9pm) RSVP: yes please (please email firstname.lastname@example.org)… so that I can cater (there will be enough food that you won’t need dinner should you choose to hang out)
If you’ve ever wanted to be in the company of a group of similarly extraordinary people, here’s your opportunity.
This is what we look like with our party frock on!
There’s something very satisfying as a parent watching your children grow up… the move from nappies to ‘big girl pants’ a monumental milestone. So, it was with great excitement at the hive that the new packaging arrived this week for our Small Christmas Tree candles.
Looking all smart and grown up
It’s enough to bring tears to your eyes.
Festive table decorations solved.
Small, emergency, christmas gifts solved.
Corporate staff or client gifts solved.
There’s nothing we can’t do in our big girl pants!
Bookmark this seasonal table decoration idea under “simple but brilliant” for your next dinner party or event… seasonal branches down the centre of the table with little clusters of beeswax Jam Jar Tealights interspersed along the table.
Seasonal foliage down the centre of the table with clusters of jam jar tealights
And for the dessert table… stacked wheels of cheese! Hopefully in amongst that abundance there was raw honeycomb with honey dripping from it. It’s my cheese platter secret and is a source of much delight and childhood reminiscing.
Now that’s what i call dessert!
Special thanks to our customers Clare & Hayden, to Love Katie and Sarah for the photographs and to Cecilia Fox for the beautiful florals (and for introducing Clare & Hayden to Queen B’s pure bee created light).
One of the most versatile candles in our range are our Bee Light beeswax candles… skinny enough to light for a matter of minutes (for meditation, a bath or bedtime stories) and yet long enough and ‘beeswaxy’ enough to last for a fabulous 3.5 – 4 hrs. What’s ‘beeswaxy enough’?… it means that because they’re 100% pure beeswax and beeswax has a very high melting point, they have a much longer burn time than their toxic cousins (and, of course, they don’t smoke)
While we have a stunning range of candleholders made right here in Australia for our Bee Light candles, there is also something quite lovely about making your own for free. I thought I’d share some of the best we’ve been sent…
Queen B Bee Lights in coral – stylist: styled_by_her, photo: @kyliemillsphotography
A stunning look for a seaside wedding or event table centrepiece or even just to channel that feel in your own home… we could also do with a seaside escape from time to time.
Bee Lights in plough chain found in the scrap metal heap on one of my beekeeper’s farm (little blue wren by @annawilihighfield, a gift from @afloralfrenzy)!
Seriously, if you know of a scrap metal heap, make friend’s with the owner pronto… they are an absolute treasure trove of DIY candleholders. You can relax knowing you’re trendy right now with the industrial look and when that look goes out again, then be happy in the knowledge that you’re marching to the beat of your own drum! And quite frankly, sustainability and recycling are going to be the ‘new black’ for decades to come.
Bee Lights in a steel brush! (photo & idea from Cherie Watts)
Create a candleholder with a fallen tree branch (idea from Julie at @theblackhen)… please don’t leave burning candles unattended in a timber candleholder!!
Coloured plastecine or ‘blue tac’… thanks for Cherie Watts for this idea (and photo)
Or, you could just leave it to us and we’ll take care of it the holders for you!
Mini-Marilyn brass candle holders with Bee Lights (photo from stylist Meagan O’Donoghue)
Please send us your ideas for our next Bee Light candleholder post!
We’re often asked if Queen B candles are organic beeswax candles and the answer is a most certainly yes. By definition, beeswax is a biological or organic matter. Given Queen B candle only contain 100% pure Australian beeswax and a cotton wick, you can be comfortable burning our organic beeswax tealight candles, organic beeswax dinner candles, organic beeswax votive candles, organic pillar candles etc etc. You get the picture.
Queen B organic beeswax candles – definition of organic
Then there is a question about certified organic beeswax candles and Queen B candles are not certified organic. We know of others in the industry claiming certified organic without certification but that’s not how we roll.
So, why aren’t we certified? Because our beeswax isn’t certified organic. And why aren’t we buying certified organic beeswax? Because you won’t find a third or fourth generation beekeeper who is certified because they know that as it relates to beeswax and honey, the certification is a marketing exercise, it is not relevant to the way you keep bees (and their universal feedback to me when I’ve asked is that they don’t see the point in spending the almost $100,000 it would cost when it doesn’t make one iota of difference to the way they keep their bees or the honey they produce). For instance, bees will fly 7 – 10km’s in search of nectar (the distance depending on what source you believe!) but organic certification for bees/honey is that your hives have to be 5km’s from the nearest chemically sprayed field or industry. So, you could place your bees, 5.1km’s from a chemically sprayed field and still have certified organic honey.
Queen B is ultimately about truth and integrity. It is more important to me to know that the wax that we source is from well cared for bees (ie from beekeepers that are second, third, fourth generation) than to buy ‘certified organic’ beeswax.
The bottom line is that you can trust a Queen B candle by the claims we DON’T make. And when you come across something that looks a little too good to be true (ie ‘certified’ organic beeswax candles with no certification logo (and no certification) that are cheaper than Queen B candles) then trust your intuition, or if you’re still in doubt, ask to see the certification.
The other interesting thing (because knowledge is power!) is that the major reason why the cost of Australian beeswax has increased 85% in the last 12 months and that is because as the only country without the varroa mite, our beeswax is the only beeswax in the world that is naturally free from miticides (chemicals used to control & kill the varroa mite). We’re exporting the vast majority of Australian beeswax at the moment to the global pharmaceutical and cosmetics giants… great for Australian beekeepers, not so great for us! Great for you to know that we’re making your candles with miticide free wax and that we’re lucky to have had relationships with our beekeepers for over a decade which is the only way we’ve been able to get our hands on wax.
Ultimately a natural beeswax candle is always going to be far safer to burn from a health perspective than a petrochemical byproduct (paraffin wax) or a chemically bleached, heavy metal hydrogenated oil (soy wax). Mother nature has always been pretty clever in providing us with what we need without us needing to change it. Seriously, how would you think of a flying insect that would collect flower nectar (pollinating the flowers as she goes) and then extrude wax from wax glands on her stomach?!
Beeswax scales… organic beeswax (image courtesy of @fromthehive on Instagram)
Female worker bees produce wax for around 6 days of their 4 – 6 week life from wax glands on their abdomen (image courtesy of @savethebeesaustralia on Instagram)
There’s about ten new facts of the day for you!… you can go to bed and light an organic beeswax candle from Queen B!
For years now I’ve been reading “research” showing that when you offer “free” shipping your online sales increase exponentially… and for years I’ve been resisting because ultimately there is no such thing as free shipping, it is simply built into the cost of a product and I haven’t wanted to put our prices up.
However, we’re redoing our website at the moment and I’m doing my head in a little over this one. We either need to double Queen B sales in the next 12 months (low margin x twice the sales = covering costs) or put our prices up. So, I thought I’d turn the question over to you guys.
First, some facts for you to base your decision on (and please don’t read this as a winge… I absolutely love what I do. I simply think that it is helpful for those of you who don’t run a manufacturing or online business to have some information upon which to base your decision/vote).
1. Queen B is a very low margin business. Pure Australian beeswax costs around 50 times the price of paraffin, and 20 times the price of [chemically bleached, heavy metal hydrogenated soya bean oil] soy wax. Every Queen B candle is handmade in Australia (paying the highest manufacturing wages in the OECD). Our packaging is printed on 100% recycled card with soy based inks.
We haven’t increased our prices across the board for over 8 years despite EVERY cost in the business going up.
2. It takes an average of 10 minutes to process an online order broken up as follows:
– 1 minute to print the order & process the card
– 1 minute to prepare the invoice
– 1 minute to write a personal note
– 2 minutes to prepare the box (water activated arabic gum paper tape, brown tissue paper & biodegradable corn flour foam)
– 1 minute to pick the stock
– 2 minutes to pack the parcel carefully and lovingly to ensure you’re absolutely delighted at your end
– 1 minute to enter the shipping details into eParcel (or write the courier label & send a text for pick up)
– 1 minute to take the box downstairs
(that’s an average! Smaller orders take around 75% of the time, larger orders may be 150%). That means we can pack an average of 6 orders an hour and with labour costing around $25 per hour (taking into account superannuation and workers comp) that means it costs around $4.17 to process and pack an order.
3. It’s costs around $2.00 in packing materials to pack an order (we use Australian made boxes, arabic gum paper tape, brown tissue paper, educational information in with the order, a beautiful sticker & the invoice is printed on 100% recycled brown paper)!
4. Australia Post charge based on weight and where the parcel is being shipped to. The average cost to ship a 1.5kg parcel (this is the average weight of our online orders over the past 12 months) within Australia is $10.50.
So on average it costs us around $16.67 to process, pack and send an online order.
The costs outlined above don’t take into account our rent, electricity, wages (for everyone other than the order packer), telephones, furniture & equipment, EFTPOS and bank fees, tradies (all too frequent visitors to the hive), packaging design, photography, web design, accounting fees etc etc. And remember 10% of what you pay is GST which we’re simply collecting for the government and gets paid to them regardless of our profitability.
OK, so that’s a quick small business 101… now for the big decision…
Our current shipping policy is that shipping is a flat rate of $11 for orders under $100 and ‘free’ shipping on orders over $100. Basically we subsidise small orders by $6 or so, which by the time you’ve taken into account the cost of the product to produce and the overheads of the business makes them very marginal. The larger orders at least contribute to the overheads. BUT we know that when someone tries a Queen B candle, they will more often than not be converted so we can’t afford to make that shipping hurdle too high or too much!
I need you to really dig deep here and think about it honestly. There’s no point in telling us to leave things as they are if you’ve not gone ahead with a purchase from Queen B because of the cost of shipping. This is a really pivotal decision for us and I’d really appreciate your vote and I’d particularly love your thoughts if you have another idea or your feedback if the cost of shipping has played into decisions that you’ve made in the past.
So, how do you think we should handle online shipping in the future?
If you’d rather put your feedback in an email, please email me at thehive[at]queenb.com.au
Thank you so much in anticipation. Queen B has always been an amazing community of wise individuals and I look forward to seeing and hearing your thoughts.
One of the fabulous things about being an Australian manufacturer is the quality control (and for a perfectionist, that’s a fabulous thing)! With all that heart and soul invested, I’m generally enamoured with everything that we brand Queen B. Occasionally, however, we have a hand in creating something that is really special.