Anyone who's visited our handmade candle shop on Exeter's Gandy Street will have met Sargon or Richard, the masterminds behind the whole operation. Now, we realise that not all of our customers are local to Exeter and a lot of you like to buy your handmade candles online.
So if you've not had the pleasure of meeting our founders, here's a brief insight into the world of two candle-making aficionados...
An average day at The Recycled Candle Company...
...starts with Richard doing his absolute best to make sure that Sargon won’t be late for the umpteenth day in a row. No small task. We get to our shop and studio, open everything up, turn on all the hobs and melters to get the wax hot enough to pour and then make a coffee. We go through all the candles that we need to make and start the process of getting all the moulds ready, Richard keeps Sargon out of the making area lest he knocks over yet another pan full of hot wax. Sargon has a look at the emails and responds to as many people as he can that are asking about how to recycle their old candles and how it all works.
Richard's day is then consumed mainly by candle making but also by answering all of Sargon’s questions ranging from “What do you think it smells like on the Moon?” all the way through to “Do you think we should do a new window display with all the empty tealights?”
Sargon’s day is then filled with many many emails, trying to come up with new and fun ideas for fragrances and sneaking into the candle making area to try to help out.
Biggest lesson learned running an independent business
Be brave and make mistakes willingly. That’s the best way that you’ll learn what works for you and your business and don’t be afraid to try new things! Originality doesn’t need to be a brand new idea to the world but can also be a new angle to view things from.
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
Richard’s greatest inspiration has been his mother. She is an incredibly talented florist that is both a Chelsea Flower Show winner and a Chelsea Flower Show Judge and Teacher. She has inspired Richard throughout his whole life which is still evidently visible in the fact that the firelighters are like miniature magic gardens full of beautiful dried flowers.
Sargon’s greatest inspiration is his father who is a designer and architect with works based all over the world having designed for royalty and elected leaders. He always played the devil's advocate with Sargon, making him argue with him for what he believed in preparing him to defend his beliefs and strengthen his ideals and design ideas.
What does success look like for you?
Being able to take a day off one day?
Most satisfying moment in business
For Sargon it was when he finished designing the first and most basic website for Richard and seeing him cry at how it now felt real and how happy it made him.
For Richard it was when we opened our first shop and seeing all the handmade candles laid out on the shelves looking neat and tidy, and not having to pack them up at the end of a Farmers Market.
And the funniest?
Richard: When we started doing craft markets on Sundays a lady once approached us and said that she had lots of wax that she would love to have recycled. Of course we jumped at the opportunity until a little while into the conversation we realised the wax that she was talking about was hair removal wax. USED wax strips…
No, we did not collect that. Gross. We can assure you that none of our candles have hair removal wax in them. Ever.
Sargon: When we first started selling out candles at the same markets in the wind and sleet and snow every sunday, I had not at that point had much customer facing experience. Richard was a very good mentor though, showing me how to talk about the candles and how to chat to potential customers browsing and smelling the candles, how to talk about the different fragrances. After a few hours a young girl came over to the stand and started looking at the Christmas Tree Candles that we make. Richard nudged me quietly and said “Go for it!”...
Cut to me judging the volume incorrectly and sarcastically shouting “Why don’t you try smelling it!” at this startled child who quickly walked back to her parents.
What’s the favourite corner of your home?
Richard’s is the garden or his sewing machine nook. Both of which are an absolute mess… "creatively”.
Sargon’s is any corner of the house not yet occupied by some form of Richards crafting stations. They are few and far between.
If you had a magic stick, which are the three things you would change in the world?
Richard: I'd change people's attitude towards waste and disposability, get my magic stick to educate people on landfill and where rubbish goes, and bring Craft and product manufacture back to local levels
Sargon: I’d get rid of that rule where you can’t wish for more wishes first. Now that I have an unlimited number of wishes…. Showers would always be the right temperature, none of that scalding or freezing nonsense anymore
Favourite handmade candle scent and why?
Sargon’s is Bitter Orange & Ylang Ylang, it reminds him of his older sister’s glamorous best friend that was always dressed beautifully and smoking some kind of cigarette that mixed well with her perfume. She always look like she’d fallen straight out of The Great Gatsby parties. It has that dark perfumed fragrance mixed with a creaminess from the Ylang Ylang.
Richard’s is the new Blonde Tobacco & Honey fragrance that we’ve designed and launched this year. It brings forward the fragrances and sweet comforts of dark and smokey manuka honey mixed in with gently roasted tobacco leaves and wood notes.
You can browse our full range of handmade scented candles on our online shop.
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