Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
I grew up in Ipswich, Suffolk, and later moved to Wiltshire where I now live with my husband and two amazing, step-children, our beloved dog Gunnar and my treasured horse, Rogan. Life is good. For the last ten years or so I’ve been running my own landscape gardening business. It’s extremely fulfilling, especially in summer, but it can be hard work too. I’d never planned to do gardening forever, so when the opportunity to turn my candle making hobby into a candle business arose, I jumped at the chance. Coodle was born.
What inspired you to launch Coodle Candles and what’s available?
I’ve been an avid candle maker, or chandler (the official term), for years, I just love creating. Until now I gave away most of the candles I made to family and friends, as gifts. And they adored them. The more I did, the better they were, and the more I learned. Everyone was telling me, “Donna you should go into business and sell these”. So that’s what I did.
One of the things I love most is experimenting with all the different fragrances and essential oils. To begin with we settled on a selection of scents like Rose & Patchouli, Oud (a firm favourite), Pomegranate and Jasmine & Cedarwood. And in the summer months, Sweet Orange, Lime Basil & Mandarin and Lemongrass have been very popular. I’m now working on a winter range, and some of the fragrances just shout Christmas time. I think ‘Merry Morning’ is my favourite.
Tell us a bit about the brand
Since Coodle’s humble beginnings in our kitchen, we’ve remained committed to creating the best products we can, by hand, using sustainable ingredients. That’s good news for our customers and better for our planet.
I’ve always loved candles, long before I started making them, but it concerned me how many candle brands sell products made using paraffin wax. Paraffin wax is derived from petroleum which is one of the biggest environmental contributors of carbon dioxide. It contains up to 11 Carcinogen compounds that are toxic air contaminants. When people burn them, those harmful compounds are released into the air.
We only use soy wax because of its natural, plant-based properties and our fragrances and essential oils are cruelty-free, suitable for vegans/vegetarians and paraben-free. So, we’re doing our bit, but there’s always more we can do. For example, the Pebble Grey, Chalk White and Clear vessels (candle jars) we use are made from glass, which involves machine manufacturing, so we encourage re-cycling and up-cycling of those wherever possible. Some of our customers use spent jars as plant pots and others keep makeup-brushes or pens and pencils in them – these are great ways to extend their usage and lifespan.
We’re also very focussed on sustainable packaging too. The majority of candle brands adorn their products with glitzy lids, printed boxes and cellophane wrapping. All of which ends up in the bin as soon as the candle is unwrapped. It’s such a terrible waste and in most cases unnecessary.
Whenever possible we try to keep packaging to a minimum, so you won’t find shiny lids on our candles and they definitely don’t come in fancy boxes. Instead we dress them in responsibly sourced cotton bags that can be reused and any mailing boxes or padding we use to protect them are made from recycled and biodegradable materials. The low-tack labels we use are made from recycled paper with vegan-friendly adhesive too.
It’s important to us that people can enjoy our candles, like any other, but safe in the knowledge that we’ve made them and shared them as responsibly as we can. In the future, as we grow, we hope to be in a position to do even more, through funding and promoting ecological education and welfare activities. We must all do what we can.
Do you supply just for the home?
We’ve been pleasantly surprised by how many commercial enquiries we’ve received since launching Coodle. Whilst most of our orders are from individual customers, we do also supply bespoke products to preferred hotels and guest houses. We’re also looking at a partnership with a spa operator, as our candles and reed diffusers are an ideal backdrop to treatment rooms and relaxing spaces. The most interesting enquiry we had was from an angling brand. We now supply them with lemongrass ‘bivvy’ candles, for outdoors and camping, as they ideal for warding off unwanted insects!
What Sets Coodle apart from the other brands?
In truth, there are thousands of candle brands, some great, and some not so good. Ultimately, it’s down to what consumers decide is right for them. From our perspective, three things matter most.
- Conscience – we care about our planet, so minimize impact wherever possible.
- Excellence – hand-poured, using high quality, sustainable and ethical ingredients.
- Soul – great products made with soul, fair pricing, and customer satisfaction.
What plans do you have for the future?
We’ve never had a plan beyond just enjoying what we do and making sure we do it in the right way. There’s always a risk with a plan that you may end up feeling disappointed if you didn’t achieve what you set out to accomplish. We’re happy to just do what we’re doing, the only way we know-how, and we’ll see where the journey takes us.
What’s the most rewarding part of running your own business?
Behind every small business, there’s a story being written by the people living it. The world’s biggest organizations started that way too, by individuals, some with ambition for wealth, private islands, and rockets to the moon. Our dream is more simple, yet worth so much more. Ours is to own happiness. To live life knowing we made it count. And because we’re not trying to conquer the world, we get to enjoy the little things, more often. When we light a candle smile.
What’s your personal favourite fragrance?
That’s almost impossible to answer as so much depends on your mood, or the weather outside, or the space it’s in. I you walk into our home studio you’re enveloped in waves of gorgeous aromas; the blend is unreal. Personally, I love Lime Basil and Mandarin, it’s got everything and fills a room even when it’s not lit. My husband’s favourite is Oud, it reminds him of holidays in the Middle East, he even has an Oud micro diffuser in his car.
Tell us five things you never travel without.
Ok, so a factor 50 moisturiser is a must, sun or no sun. My Absolute Collagen (amazing), hair syrum, a good book, and my husband, of course.
What your favourite destination to travel to and has it inspired any of your fragrances.?
Info about Coodle Candles
Natural products, made using planet-friendly ingredients.