Inside the Fenwick Candles Studio

Inside the Fenwick Candles Studio

Candles are unbelievably popular, bringing back personal memories with the slightest whiff of a scent.  Vanilla, clean laundry, balsam, apple pie...they all mean something to someone.  But do you ever wonder what creates those smells, and what materials you are actually breathing in?

 

Aromatherapy is a concept that sparked local candle-maker, Trish, to research the process and products more closely.  Her brand, Fenwick Candles, is an all natural aromatherapy candle company.  Somebody who has a strong relationship with scent, Trish became determined to source all natural and ethically certified raw materials to produce a clean, honest candle.  

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I became focused on the medium of the aromatherapy candles that I consumed so much, and thought I could make a better product. An art project, turned hobby became a passionate business. I wanted to source the most environmentally conscientious and cost efficient man-made wax possible. 

Trish says that, as an artist, she never really had a plan; progress toward a business was driven by her passion for the perfect product, obsessing over the details until a beautiful candle was born.

I want to see something through and feel really good about it. 
If I am buying a product I want it to be and do exactly what it is supposed to do. In this case, it was to make a long lasting, clean burning candle. 

And Trish has done just that.  Six years ago she started pouring unscented utility candles for her bar business, which evolved into a small wholesale operation for local restaurants and bars.  

Fenwick Candles uses Coconut Wax, which is quite uncommon.  Soy and Paraffin wax are the two typical materials you might find.  When asked about this distinctive quality, Trish begins by explaining her journey in the soy wax sector of candle-making, admitting that soy isn't as straight-forward as you might think.

I began researching and digging when I noticed my actual soy wax was behaving differently. Something like 90 % of soy production is GMO and unregulated. In order to grow soy you have to re-crop annually, and this is a huge problem where forests and rainforests are being clear-cut to plant and re-plant soy fields.

Building a business with honesty and respect for agriculture is something I always wanted to be apart of, but didn’t know how.

I said the word Monoculture earlier and that word refers to the cultivation of a single crop in a given area. Permaculture is the practice of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient. If we are planting, for example, soy field after soy field in a given area then we are skewing the ability for certain insects and wildlife to thrive naturally. Put pesticides in there and you can see how we have taken control of something that wasn’t meant to be pushed so far from its norm.

I think it’s important to be aware and educate yourself on where things come from, how they were made. The word ‘organic’ is a lovely word, but can be misleading.
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So why coconut?

Coconut wax offers a clean strong palette to host precious essential oils, and also allows for a vegan audience. You need a high smoke point in a candle’s oil (that point of when an oil can actually burn) to hold essential oils so they don’t corrupt and burn.  I found Coconut Wax a few years ago along one of my adventures on the west coast.  A beautiful creamy material which just felt right considering I personally use coconut oil for everything.  One coconut tree can bear fruit for up to 60 years! That’s pretty amazing.
Coconut is a species of Palm (there are over 2600 species of Palm tree) which is such a viable and versatile resource. My coconut wax is a mixture of cold pressed coconut oil and palm stearin. Palm stearin is a naturally derived, refined fat of palm fruit. This allows my wax medium to withstand heat and essentially not become an immediate puddle.

 There are Green and reputable ways to harvest these tropical fruits I choose to work with, and I am dedicated to sourcing from only the Radically Transparent companies. A couple important certifications are kosher, halal, vegan, Non GMO, RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil).
 

What do you think about entrepreneurship versus big box brands?

I admire and purchase from both large and small brands. I would really rather support a brand that makes a good product, provides me a story, and is not afraid to show radical transparency. 
Entrepreneurship can be a wonderful thing, but that also depends on the goals and process behind that entrepreneur. Being as evolved as we are and knowing the state of the world, why not just do things better? Innovate.
With large companies, the identity of the actual product can tend to get lost with mass production.  My involvement in production from an artistic point of view and manufacturing is very much present. I carefully select the quality of my natural ingredients and hand pour the finished product.

Do you have any goals for the future of Fenwick Candles?

I really enjoy the nature of business. It stimulates a lot of intelligence, instinct and emotion. Problem solving is one of those things that drives me.

I admire organizations like 1% for the Planet.

Alliances with like minded business make a brand so much stronger. To be able to fund projects that I support or create would be very fulfilling. I look forward to being a contributing partner that actively rehabilitates and protects the rainforests. My goal is to be more hands on with the soil that my produce comes from, where I can help regulate and habilitate land.