It’s not often you’ll hear family members talking about hot wax and ice beverages in the same breath. But then Lauren Slater and Pamela Twentyman are not your average mother and daughter. Instead of twiddling their thumbs during last spring’s lockdown, the dynamic duo launched their own scented candle business.
And in October, the Algarve Candle Company opened the doors of its Boliquieme shop, sharing premises with dad’s Arctic Slush business. The company evolved organically from Lauren’s passion for strong-scented candles.
“I never used to burn them because they were so expensive,” she says. “I wanted to keep them forever.”
When the family moved from the Lake District to the Algarve in 2015, she struggled to find them here, so mum stepped in.
“We couldn’t find a nice one here, so I started making them," Pamela explains.
Those early candles were created in her kitchen in a saucepan. Determined to create a candle with a scent that lasted throughout its entire burning time, the women experimented with different fragrances and waxes. And when a global pandemic found them with more time on their hands, it seemed their lockdown project was staring them in the face.
The concept was simple: to create beautiful and affordable candles made from natural ingredients. “We wanted to make candles people are going to burn, then come back and buy again, so it took us a while,” says Lauren.
In the new premises, Pamela remains in charge of the candle-making process, though her saucepan has been replaced with an industrial melter which produces sufficient soy wax for 300 candles. Fragrance oils are added next, carefully measured to produce a strong scent throughout the candle. There is much stirring before the containers are warmed and the wax poured.
One of the trickiest jobs is ensuring the wooden and cotton wicks are positioned correctly and remain in place while the candles are setting: Pamela uses string and wooden clothes pegs. The longer the candle takes to set, the better its scent, so when temperatures drop (as recently), the wax-filled containers are wrapped in aluminium foil ‘coats’ to protect them.
Each time a different-sized container is introduced, they must return to the drawing board, recalculating the amount of fragrance oil required and determining the perfect wick. “It can take months to get right,” Pamela admits.