Waxing Lyrically about Candles

By Tracy Burton

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.

After so much attention to detail, it’s not surprising the end product looks and smells delectable. The candles come in various sizes and in different containers, ranging from clear and matt glass to small tins. The largest burns for 120 hours. Car and reed diffusers are also available. All products are vegan-friendly.

After the success of the Christmas hamper, a Valentine’s Day hamper is now available for 25 euros.

“It’s not just wax in a box, it’s more of a gift, we try to make it special,” explains Lauren, who takes care of the business side of things. Early sales came from word of mouth; however, she has spent long hours honing her online marketing skills and built the company website herself.

“It doesn’t matter if you have thousands of followers, it’s your few hundred local ones who are going to be buying from you. It’s nice when people come back, saying ‘I’ve bought one, now I want another one’,” she adds. “That’s when you know you have a really good product.”

There are big plans for the future, including working with wedding planners, hotels and florists to produce bespoke products. The hampers have attracted attention from estate agents.

“We started out wanting to occupy our time during lockdown and to have candles to hand whenever we wanted. The fact it’s gone so much bigger than we imagined is amazing.”

With a solid customer base and repeat orders from as far afield as France, it’s certain the Algarve Candle Company is here to stay.

During lockdown, the shop will be closed but you can still order online. One of their candles would be a romantic gift for a stay-at-home Valentine’s Day.



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