Step into Rachel Vosper's Belgravia store and you're instantly instransported away from the sights, sounds and, most importantly, smells of central London. The shop is small, but airy and well-lit, and tastefully filled with just the right amount of her artisan candles, enough to intrigue the senses without leaving visitors feeling overwhelmed.
I was invited along to the store by Fragrance Direct, who had called upon Rachel to create some bespoke candles that replicated the notes of some of their best-selling perfumes. Upon arrival I had the opportunity to browse Rachel's eight distinct candle fragrances (all of which are seriously dreamy) as well as perusing her new creations based upon Gucci, Hugo Boss and Marc Jacobs perfumes (pictured below).
Rachel Vosper began making candles in Barbados back in 1994, and she opened her store in London in June 2011. Her candles are paraffin based, made from materials refined in Germany, which offer a wax that's entirely odourless and completely clear when it burns. About 1% of the candle's ingredients is an adhesive, which helps to anchor the fragrance to the paraffin and allowing the candle to not only burn evenly but also to sucessfully throw the fragrance throughout the room. The candles also contain beeswax which has had the pollen taken out of it, this is done through a process involving fresh rainwater and muslin cloth. The beeswax originates from Manuka Honey bees in New Zealand and has a naturally woody base, which works particularly well with Rachel's floral fragrances. Alongside these ingredients Rachel obviously includes fragrance, made up from between 5-20% essential oils as well as synthetic fragrances too. Combined with her years of experience, these are the simple elements that Rachel brings together to create not "just another candle" but something quite special indeed. Her candles not only look the business but they smell incredible, with her eight-strong fragrance library offering something for every nose to enjoy.
On a Saturday once a month, Rachel Vosper hosts candle making courses for individual where for £100 you get to make your own one-wick candle from her fragrance library. She personally walks you through the entire process, showing you what to do at each stage, and at the end of the session you get to take the candle home with you. During my visit I was able to make my own candle, courtesy of Fragrance Direct, and I found the process to be really enjoyable. I didn't know anything about candle making before I attended the session, and now I think it's just about one of the most fun and creative ways to spend your time! The whole process feels simple enough to get involved with because Rachel has really perfected her routine and her work space, but you can tell that there's a lot of hard work, and year's of experience, going into every single product.
I really enjoyed the candle making course and would definitely recommend the experience. However, if it doesn't sound like your cup of tea then I'd suggest just stopping by the store to check out Rachel's candles. The fragrances are all really interesting and complex, but it's her bespoke services which really captured my interest. Not only can she make bespoke sizes of candle (she mentioned that she'd recently made one weighing 10kg and featuring 18-wicks) but she can also make the candles in anything that you might like to put them in; this includes, but is not limited to, silverware or glassware that you might already have lying around your home. The idea of transforming an item that's going unnoticed into something that you can actively enjoy seems pretty lovely to me. Not only would it be great for oneself, but it would also make an incredibly thoughtful gift. It's definitely something I'll be considering for big and important events such as weddings or birthdays.
All in all, I'd highly recommend paying Rachel Vosper's shop a visit and I have to say a big thank you to Fragrance Direct for inviting me along. I loved that they comissioned bespoke candles based on their bestselling fragrances, I think that it was a wonderful idea and the products that Rachel created were really rather good! I can't wait to start burning my Grene candle, but if you're looking for something slightly more affordable then keep your eyes peeled for my upcoming blog posts - I've got some lovely bits and pieces to share with you!