Scented candles are the perfect everyday luxury gift. The Goods Tube searched for an Australian made candle that had a unique scent with a classic graphic design. Walking down a local Surry Hills street, we could sense that something was in the air. The mixed smells of cinnamon, rose, spearmint and orange were intense and we realised something good was brewing.
When you walk past Bronwyn Gascoigne’s house you know that this is where the magic happens. The scents seem to fill the whole street and you do not need to know the house number to find out where she is! Since their beginning back in 2008 Bronwyn together with her hubby Dean King have gone from strength to strength and built up a strong design brand based on exciting and complex fragrance blends, a great eye for design and quality and a customer service attitude that’s second to none.
The brand has recently expanded into handmade soaps and the distribution of a beautiful French fragrance Etat Libre d’Orange. We caught up with Bronwyn in her world of sensory delights to learn a little more about her business and what’s next.
Tell us about your background and what made you take the leap to creating your own business?
I have had a few careers in the past in a few different industries. My first job was as a car mechanic. My last career before I started making candles, was in Sales and Marketing in IT. And there has been a lot more in between. They have all contributed to getting me to this point in time and making a successful business. It was the right time to start my own venture and there was a need in the market for a good Australian candle brand. I love working with high quality passionate people that share the same philosophies. I also love creating a great product that I am proud of.
In a competitive market, how do you stand out?
I have a good design eye and the packaging definitely sells the product, but the key advantage is my unique fragrances. They are complex and layered.Sustainability is a personal interest of ours.
What are some of the environmental practices you employ as a business?
I try and care for the environment in every step: manufacturing using low cost processes, using glassware that is reusable and recyclable, packaging that is forestry certified, and wax that is sustainably farmed, non GM, but also provides a good fragrance and burn power.
We love your fragrances, original and clean scents - how do you develop the fragrances? Do you have a sophisticated scent pallet?
Yes I do! I have always loved fragrance, even from a young age I looked forward to different seasons for different flowers to bloom; Freesias in winter, jasmine in spring… and all others in between. I have a good nose for fragrance blending and knowing what will be popular as well.
We are in the same neighbourhood and we love that we run into you walking your dogs in the park, we see your son unpacking boxes at the furniture store on the corner, and we have a quick catch up with Dean whilst he’s on his laptop and having his morning coffee at Joe’s Grocer on the other corner. What does the local community here in Surry Hills mean to you and to your business / does it play a role and do you get inspiration from your locality?
It really does. Community is everything, and Surry Hills is a fabulous community where we can run into each other on the street and have a great chat about all sorts of things. I have customers all over Australia and internationally and they all have that same like minded community attitude. It makes doing business very enjoyable.
It’s great to see a brand committed to manufacturing in Australia - what are some of the advantages/disadvantages of keeping it local?
There are no disadvantages of producing locally but unfortunately when it comes to packaging manufacture, it is all offshore now. Many companies closed up after the GFC and it has forced me to look overseas. But, the key is to find great suppliers who are ethical and professional and there are plenty of them if you look hard enough.
What’s next for you and your brand?
I’ll be doing some collaboration this year which is very exciting, and expand the range with products that fit and make sense to the current range.
Being a Surry Hills local what are your local favourites?
Nomad is fab for an amazing dinner in a cool warehouse environment. Porteno and Gardel’s bar I love, and of course Bourke Street bakery for the best pork and fennel sausage roll!
Reuben Hills is one of my favourites, Devon is great too.
Best place to source a gift?
The Collector Store has something for everyone if you want to do some foot shopping.
Favourite place for dinner with friends?
It’s so hard in Surry Hills because there are so many great places, Toko, Nomad, 121 BC are all nice group venues.
The Porteno Gardel’s building is really interesting in a Spanish style, and I remember smashing plates there when it was a Greek restaurant called Dimitris.
What’s something that only a local would know?
McElhone Place which all locals call Cat Street. It’s a small lane with beautiful cottages and amazing gardens created by the residents. Lots of cats on the street, they all lay on the lane way and they scare my dogs. The residents are all very nice and some have been there for many years moving in when Surry Hills was not as gentrified as it is now.
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