Candle making has a long history in Ballarat that dates back to the early gold rush.
The likes of Ballarat Soap and Candle Works and Hewitt’s Yarrowee Soap and Candle Works opened up shop in the region, providing miners and their families the light they needed long into the night.
Today, a number of local makers are continuing the traditional methods of chandlery, with some makers even sharing their skills during regular workshops – maker Kristine Macfarlane of The Essential Candle Co is one of those …
What’s the story behind The Essential Candle Co?
Our story began with welcoming our first-born daughter into the world. We always loved to burn candles, but never really realised or understood burning the wrong candle and fragrance can irritate a newborn’s lungs! With this information we also found that animals can be quite sensitive to some scents, dogs in particular. With the findings of this information we began dabbling into chandlery, and after months and months of testing, smelling, and finding the right balance, we finally created what is now known as The Essential Candle Co.
Talk us through the candle making process?
Our candle making process is actually quite in-depth, it is quite the process. Firstly, we source only the highest quality 100% soy wax that is ethically sourced and vegan.
The wax is then weighed and melted down and once the wax has melted completely, it’s then put aside to cool down. Then we begin with getting our vessels organised, each jar is cleaned out and a warning stickers is stuck to the bottom of every jar.
Then we organise our wicks, we only use 100% cotton wicks, natural wooden wicks and cotton braided ribbon wicks. We use an adhesive to stick the wick to the jar and a stabiliser to hold the wicks straight, centred and tight. This enables the wick from moving when the warm wax is being poured. We then measure out our fragrances, each of our fragrances are measured at a different percentage. Once the wax hits the correct temperature, we then add our fragrances and or essential oils, we give the wax a firm but slow stir allowing every ounce of fragrance to be evenly distributed amongst the wax. The wax is than poured into each vessel at a controlled steady, even pour minimising as many air bubbles as possible.
Then we allow the candles to set and cure ready for sale. Once cured, each candle then needs its wicks trimmed, all jars are cleaned over again and stickers and lids are applied.
The tradition of candle making has long had a connection to Ballarat dating back to the gold rush, how does it feel knowing your keeping alive such a traditional trade?
The history Ballarat has with Chandlery is absolutely amazing. Reading up on this definitely makes us feel so humble to know we are keeping some beautiful traditions alive.
What can we expect from The Essential Candle Co over the next 12 months?
We won’t say too much just yet, but we are super excited to let our creative flair come alive in 2021. We have started our candle workshops, and they have been super successful and cannot wait to hold more workshops.
What scent is most popular with your clients?
Our most popular fragrance with our customers has definitely been our Australian bush fragrance. This fragrance in our opinion has left a special spot in everyone’s heart being that everyone was house-bound for so long due to the pandemic – our Australian bush candle brought that sense of home and comfort.
This candle was so sort after we couldn’t keep it on our shelves, as soon as it was loaded to our website it was sold within minutes.
We also have a few local ladies who drop off their lavender trimmings and rose petals and we dehydrated them all ourselves and use them to top this particular candle. We have sold this candle to every state in Australia and knowing each one had a piece of Ballarat with them is so special.
Where can visitors find you?
Everyone can find us at 610 Sturt Street, Ballarat Central. We also have a range of stockists throughout the Ballarat region, and interstate.
We stock a huge range of products, with new ones to come in 2021. At the moment we stock home and linen sprays, shake N’ vac powders, bath bombs, bath crumb, our own hand-crafted earrings, hair scrunchies, preserved flowers, botanical teas, local honey, candles, handmade head wraps, reed diffusers, crystal-infused candles, handmade soaps, and so much more.
What do you love most about the Ballarat region?
What’s not to love. The small community of support has topped off our year, so many beautiful people, so welcoming, so warming. There is so much to love about Ballarat that picking one thing in particular isn’t an easy one. Personally I’m a bit of a foodie – the little cafes and wineries amongst us in Ballarat are some of the best! Definitely worth checking them out.
What’s Ballarat’s best kept secret?
Definitely has to be all the wonderful markets Ballarat holds, from the lake to the farmers’ market in Bridge Mall, there is always so much to choose from, and so many local makers.
What are the top three recommendations of things to do in Ballarat?
We love grabbing fish and chips from Steve’s Fish Shop on Sturt street and going to the lake to eat together as a family.
We do love having breakfast at the Hydrant Food Hall, an alleyway cafe down McKenzie Street. Great coffee here also!
Another little gem to definitely head out and visit is our local Ballarat Mushroom Farm. This farm is almost a one-stop-shop – they have big plans for 2021. They stock some amazing local businesses, including our candles – definitely worth checking out.
Located at 26 Kirks Road, Smythes Creek (entrance is through the double farm gates).