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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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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.

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Queen B beeswax candles are made with 100% pure Australian beeswax a pure cotton wick and copious amounts of hand made love. We stock beautiful and stylish candle holderspersonalised candlesvotive candlestealight candles and pillar candles that nourish the human spirit and our environment.

 

 

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Sometimes it helps to have no idea about cars or their mechanics…

Driving across the Nullarbor, we happened upon a town (it actually had a name) that consisted of a church on one side of the road and an abandoned house on the other.  Mitch looked for enlightenment, I looked for treasure.

Previous Home of Cam Shaft Candlesticks

I emerged victorious a little while later with my new “candlesticks” in hand.  I know enlightenment can be achieved simply by lighting a few beeswax candles.  Anyway, beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder as Mitch thought they looked like rusted old cam shafts.  I have an eye for potential, potential, potential.  Renovators dream.  A blank canvas.  All things that get me excited!

About 2000km’s later and lots of elbow grease, I got to work on my new candlesticks over the weekend, and voila… if that’s not a thing of beauty, then I’m a pork chop.  Now I just need to drill a hole in the top for a taper candle, sand off the bottom and fire them up.  I’m told these are from a 6 cylinder Holden.  Being a Holden ute girl, that was music to my ears.  Never before have I been so fascinated by pistons and cylinders.  Next week I’m going hunting for some 4 cylinder cam shafts.  Happy days.  I bet my parents are happy they paid for that private school education now!

Cam shaft candlesticks (before & after)

Reckon I should get a range of these on the market?  At about 80cm tall, the drama queen in you will LOVE them!

Cate x

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Creative, sustainability wunderkind Joost is at it again, most recently with a pop up Greenhouse by Joost for Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.

It was a collaboration with Joost several years ago which saw the development of our iconic Eco-Bulb candle.  Now, after several months in development, we are excited to lift the lid on Queen B by Joost jam jar tealights.

Excitingly for Queen B having worked on wick testing for several months the candles are now in use lighting the pop-up Greenhouse by Joost in Melbourne CBD and the so-grounded-it-practically-still-grows-on-the-plate food of Greenhouse chef, Matt Stone.

It’s one thing to make the candles, but another entirely to see them working their magic (which is why I LOVE getting photographs)!

Here’s one from my camera of the trays of tealight refills for Joost Jam Jar candles…

Queen B by Joost Jam Jar tealights

Queen B by Joost Jam Jar tealights

and here, one from Joost offsider and clever creative Georgina O’Connor

Queen B by Joost pure beeswax tealights for Greenhouse by Joost at Melbourne Food & Wine Festival

Queen B by Joost pure beeswax tealights for Greenhouse by Joost at Melbourne Food & Wine Festival

But here’s where it gets really good… you know how I’m always saying that Queen B candles only really come to life when lit? (if you don’t, well I do, usually to people who are telling me that they are too beautiful to light!).

So, check this out

"Queen B by Joost" beeswax tealights in Jam Jars - image courtesy of Earl Carter & By Joost

"Queen B by Joost" beeswax tealights in Jam Jars - image courtesy of Earl Carter & By Joost

OK, so that’s pretty but a little like a still life, so here it gets even better (got to love the guy drinking wine from his jam jar!)…

"Queen B by Joost" tealights lighting up Rene Redzepi dinner at Greenhouse by Joost for Melbourne Food & Wine Festival.  Image courtesy of Earl Carter & By Joost

"Queen B by Joost" tealights lighting up Rene Redzepi dinner at Greenhouse by Joost for Melbourne Food & Wine Festival. Image courtesy of Earl Carter & By Joost

“But it’s still daylight outside!” I hear you cry!  Well, get this for ambience…

Surely the most ambient restaurant in the world with 100% pure beeswax candlelight (there is no electric lighting in the dining area).  Image courtesy of Earl Carter & by Joost

Surely the most ambient restaurant in the world with 100% pure beeswax candlelight (there is no electric lighting in the dining area). Image courtesy of Earl Carter & by Joost

We’ve also done a bespoke pillar for the reception area.  Stark reminder of beeswax candles requiring lighting here…

Greenhouse by Joost personalised design pure beeswax candle by Queen B.  Image by Queen B!

Greenhouse by Joost personalised design pure beeswax candle by Queen B. Lacklustre image by Queen B!

versus this little beauty…

Fired up Greenhouse by Joost personalised candle from Queen B.  Image courtesy of Georgina O'Connor.

Fired up Greenhouse by Joost personalised candle from Queen B. Image courtesy of Georgina O'Connor.

I rest my case!

Waddya think?


Queen B beeswax candles are made with 100% pure Australian beeswax a pure cotton wick and copious amounts of hand made love. We stock beautiful and stylish candle holderspersonalised candlesvotive candlestealight candles and pillar candles that nourish the human spirit and our environment.

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I’ve been keeping these up my sleeve because they are special…

Really, really special…

Made in Australia (actually on Sydney’s Northern Beaches), they are solid brass or nickel coated brass.  Each holder is individually made and hand finished to remove the sharp edges.  They are designed to hold our Bee Lights.

Each tree comes in its own gorgeous, made in Australia, fabulous quality, kraft board packaging.  Fabulous recycled as a paperclip holder, button holder or anything else small.

We have VERY limited quantities because they were extremely time consuming to make.  They are RRP $39.95 and we have 20% off for the next 24 hours only.

Christmas Tree Bee Light holders

Christmas Tree Bee Light holders

Brass Christmas Tree Bee Light holder

Brass Christmas Tree Bee Light holder

Nickel plated Christmas Tree Bee Light holder

Nickel plated Christmas Tree Bee Light holder

 

You know how sometimes if you stay in the moving watching all the credit’s, they put a good bit right at the end?… well, here’s the good bit!…

Here’s a little look at the product development cycle of our little Christmas Tree candle holder.  I must say I was a little worried when the first prototype came back!  I think we nailed it in the end though.

Christmas tree prototype 1... mmmm, no!

Christmas tree prototype 1... mmmm, no!

Christmas Prototype 2... cut a little deep

Christmas Prototype 2... cut a little deep

Christmas Tree Prototype 3... getting there, but too sharp

Christmas Tree Prototype 3... getting there, but too sharp

Christmas Tree Prototype 4... perfection!

Christmas Tree Prototype 4... perfection!

Christmas Tree Candle holder... product development

Christmas Tree Candle holder... product development

If that’s not a fine candle holder, I don’t know what is!

Cate xx

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I am supposed to be writing a eulogy for Wednesday but can’t quite get the words to flow.  Yet is seemed somehow appropriate to share with you one of the new candles that we’ve been working on all year.

I had the idea for this candle – Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus – almost a year ago, but it took a while to get the design right, and then a while in wick testing.

To be completely honest I would consider myself spiritual rather than religious, so I thought long and hard about making a candle that could be perceived as religious, but the design was so detailed and beautiful and what happened during wick testing was so extraordinary that I decided it was bigger than just me and my beliefs or my views and that it deserved to be shared.

Here’s what happened when I first lit the candles…

Mary Joseph & Baby Jesus candle wick testing

Mary Joseph & Baby Jesus candle wick testing

So, I was thinking that it was pretty beautiful, but what happened next floored me.  The design surpassed all my expectations.  Because the sleeves and Baby Jesus are further out from the flame than the rest of the candle, Baby Jesus was held aloft during burning…

Baby Jesus held aloft

Baby Jesus held aloft

How beautiful is that?

As you can see, this is not really a candle that is designed for ‘neat’ burning or for long burning.  If you’re looking for long burning candles that rarely drip, you’re better off going for our tealights, bee lights or solid pillars.  But if you’re looking for something extraordinary… something that slaps you over the head with its beauty and makes you believe in some higher power, then this is the one for you.

As promised, to celebrate the launch we have 20% off Mary Joseph and Baby Jesus until midnight on 20th October 2011.

You can see some of the detail in the robes in the photograph below.

Mary Joseph & Baby Jesus detail

Mary Joseph & Baby Jesus detail

and here’s how the candle comes packaged…

Mary Joseph & Baby Jesus packaging

Mary Joseph & Baby Jesus packaging

 

You can see all the candles we currently have available in our Christmas range on our website.

 

 


Queen B beeswax candles are made with 100% pure Australian beeswax a pure cotton wick and copious amounts of hand made love. We stock beautiful and stylish candle holders, personalised candles, votive candles, tealight candles and pillar candles that nourish the human spirit and our environment.

 

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With the Earthing Stubb being quite butch, I thought it necessary to even the playing field by designing the very sexy femme fatale “Marilyn” candle holder.

Again, this one is reversible, holding a dinner taper candle in one side and a Bee Light candle in the other.  So, with no further ado, I am delighted to launch our Reversible Marilyn Candle Holders.  They are available in brass or nickel plated.

To celebrate, we’ve taken 10% off the holders (that’s a saving of $4.00 per holder) and 10% off the holder + candles pack (that’s a saving of almost $8.00 per pack over and above the $10.00 saving by buying the pack) until 11.59pm on 5th October 2011.

Brass Marilyn Candle Holder

Brass Marilyn Candle Holder

 

Close Up of Brass Marilyn Candle Holder

Close Up of Brass Marilyn Candle Holder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Close up of Nickel Plated Marilyn Candle Holder

Close up of Nickel Plated Marilyn Candle Holder

 

Nickel plated Marilyn Candle Holder

Nickel plated Marilyn Candle Holder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Queen B beeswax candles are made with 100% pure Australian beeswax a pure cotton wick and copious amounts of hand made love. We stock beautiful and stylish candle holders, personalised candles, votive candles, tealight candles and pillar candles that nourish the human spirit and our environment.

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