Meet The Talented Maker Behind Our Candles And Candle Refills

Meet The Talented Maker Behind Our Candles And Candle Refills

Abbie, co-founder of Great House Farm Stores, hand pours every single GHFS candle (yes, the tealights too!). But, how did she end up making candles in the first place?

Creative beginnings

I’ve always leant toward the arty side of life. As a toddler my nickname was Doodle(!) and creativity was really encouraged in our home. So, despite never thinking of myself as an artist or anything like that, I’ve never been far from some sort of creative endeavour. After graduating in Textile Design, and then getting a real job, I’ve continued to dabble in things like lino printing for Christmas cards and even painting murals on various bedroom walls (though, that is a story for another time).

Abbie pouring candles
Sustainability is at the heart of what we do

My creative pursuits often overlap with my passion for sustainability. That old mantra “waste not, want not” rings loud in my ears whenever I go to throw something away, so I’ll often try to repair things or find new uses for them before I throw them away. It was only a matter of time, I think, before I tried pouring candles into empty jam jars!

Scent for life

I can feel the weight of Mum’s wooden box of essential oils in my hands now. Tens of tiny bottles of the most wonderful fragrances. She has, for as long as I can remember, used oils daily, in oil burners as well as myriad candles and incense sticks around the house. For Mum, scent was part of her daily routine, an essential part of homemaking and wellbeing. When I started pouring candles, it was this box I raided for scent inspiration. Mum and I would sit, riffling through those little bottles, creating new scent combinations.

Find out more about the power of scent here

When I started pouring candles

Do you know what, I can’t remember exactly when I started making candles. Shrouded in the mists of time, shall we say. But, what I do remember is I started straight off with natural waxes as I always knew I wanted a cleaner burn.

After I had cracked the basics of pouring jam jar candles, I started to give them away as gifts. I would pour over the oils, choosing the scents specifically for the person I was making the candle for, wondering what scent might resonate with them. Looking back now, it’s funny how even back then, I would never settle for scent straight from a bottle, and the scent concepts were always guided by more than just preference.

After a while, I’d had a few commissions to create candles for friends and I think it was in the run up to Christmas of 2020 and I was pouring some candle commissions when Roanna (sister and GHFS co-founder) happened to wander into the kitchen. I think even Roanna was surprised when she exclaimed how good they smelt! 

A family business

Well, that was that then. Roanna was convinced. I could make good candles. We should go into business. And Roanna is a woman that when she gets an idea into her head, it’s very near impossible to dissuade her away from it. So, into business we went.

Roanna and Abbie chatting over coffee

Our candles must be refillable

From the moment we started talking about candles, we knew they had to be refillable. For us, as sisters, sustainability runs deep. (Next time you’re round ask us about the sustainable fashion collective we ran when we were barely out of school and uni.) Our move to the country has only cemented our beliefs in sustainability and, in a rather humbling fashion, been the start of an enormous learning curve about the land and our relationship with it.

All that to say, we knew our candles had to be refillable. And, what’s more, we knew we couldn’t pour candles into unethical, mass produced, glass jars from halfway around the world. So, we started the slow and surprisingly tricky, but ever-so-rewarding, process of working with artisans across the UK to create our candle pots.

The artisan potters behind our refillable candle pots

We’ve found working with artisans to create our beautiful, refillable candle pots absolutely wonderful. Though, it’s not been without its challenges. Working with clay is a slow process and can be quite unpredictable. But, it’s a real privilege to be working with such talented people and in a material with such a rich heritage.
It’s not the easiest way to make a candle pot, but we love working with independent potters, craftspeople who have invested their time and passion into their work, and who, like us, are building sustainable businesses in Britain. It’s our dream that as we grow, we can play our small part in bolstering small, sustainable business in the UK, and, for what it’s worth, invest in heritage crafts and craftspeople.

You can meet some of the talented potters we work with here.

Anna Jones making a GHFS candle pot

Find more of Anna’s work here.

How we made refillable candles

Deciding to make our candles refillable was easy. Actually making them refillable was much harder! If I remember right, it took about a year to nail our Pillar Refills. We wanted to make refilling our candles as easy as possible. And we have - our Pillar Refills simply drop into our candle pots.
Figuring out the practicalities of making the refill and making sure every single refill would burn beautifully in every single pot took us a lot of trial and a lot of error. I think Thomas Edison summed it up quite well when he said “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work” - and, in the end, we are incredibly proud to be able to offer a simple, beautiful way to refill candles.

GHFS Celebrate Candle Pot and Pillar Refill
Our pioneering Pillar Refills make refilling your GHFS candle pot beautifully simple. 

I love making our refillable candles

It is a joy to wake up knowing I’ve got a day of candle making ahead of me. While I love so many aspects of running a business, the slow, meditative process of pouring candles is incredibly satisfying. Seeing little rows of freshly poured candles makes me smile every time. It’s a heartwarming thought to imagining them all going out to you, our lovely customers, and filling your homes with scent.

Refillable candles are the future

Now, we have cracked refillable candles. But, we are constantly working on new ideas - for scents, for new products, and new innovations. Some, sadly, might never see the light of day (not every idea is a good idea!). But others might just be as revolutionary as our Pillar Refill Candles.
It’s very exciting, now, to see High Street brands doing refillable candles. The more sustainable scent options there are, the better. We are proud to be one small part of changing this industry for the better and we look forward to the day when all candles are refillable.
Back to blog