Straight out of our latest lockdown in Amsterdam where self care has become an intrinsic part of our conscious daily routines, we sit down for a Q & A with Isil ; the founder of The Very Good Candle Company. Based in Amsterdam with Turkish roots, this maker is not your average candle bunny but gives us an inspirational peek inside her universe.
1. Isil, your candles are pure bliss can you outline how you thought up your concept for us and how you started?
Thank you so much for the nice words! As you can tell, I love candles and burning them has always been a part of my daily routine. After finding out that most of the candles in the marketplace actually have some pretty toxic materials in them, I started looking to find the best candles for using them myself, which evolved into this massive research on materials and production, which then became a quest to make the very best candle possible - ethically, sustainably, and qualitatively. I'm also a bit sensitive to scents - I don't enjoy overpowering, harsh, unnatural smells, and really wanted to create something unique, yet vaguely familiar. My first collection was inspired by some of our favourite music festivals around the world. What better way to combine two of my favourite things! This all happened shortly after moving to Amsterdam, where I had a bit of a "f*ck it" moment after years of working for some global companies. It's not been the easiest journey, but I've never looked back.
2. What is the main difference between beeswax or other conventional wax and the wax you are using ?
The majority of the conventional candles are made from paraffin and some of them even contain animal fat. Paraffin is a petroleum product and very toxic. We carefully chose every single ingredient to be non-toxic, sustainable and cruelty-free. Our wax is rapeseed wax, which was very uncommon in the market when we first started, but we really wanted to keep everything as local as possible. Beeswax is an animal product and a very limited source, this is why some commercial grade beeswax products might be a mix with paraffin or other types of waxes.
3. There are so many candles brands popping up post pandemic because I really think it's not only a calming hobby but produces such a great product. How is the demand for wax and raw materials affecting you and what are your thoughts on this.
Oh that's a definite yes, there are so many new brands popping up everyday and the demand is surely increasing. But still the total effect of the small brands can't be compared with the impact of big industries. We had a massive rapeseed wax shortage this past summer, because the food industry shifted to Rapeseed Oil, which is great, as they shifted from Palm Oil, but this created some sourcing problems for us. We still don't know how this year will be, so we're actually constantly stressed about this, since we don't have enough storage space to stock tons of wax.
4. How do you define originality within your concept ?
We follow our own instincts and always stay true to ourselves. We blend our scents with creativity as a guiding principle, without following the classic scent combinations or the market dynamics. We love to create unique and good quality products.
5. What are your plans for the brand in the future, any new products or categories coming up?
We most recently launched a new collection, which has been doing really well. We're planning to expand in the home fragrances category and add more complimentary accessories.
6. What is your favourite candle scent?
That's the most difficult question! :) In general I love neutral and earthy tones. Indio and Asagiri are my top 2 faves among our own scents.
7. As a female founder how do you balance work and home life ? Do you find it a challenge and what are your thoughts on this.
As a business owner, regardless of being female, it's really difficult to find the perfect balance as you can't really shut yourself down from work. I'm very lucky because my husband supports me in every way. Honestly I don't remember the last time I cooked :) But I handle other stuff like watering the plants :) Jokes aside, the first 2 years were really difficult as I had to work almost every day, without any time off. Now that I have a more established business and a team member, it's easier to have more personal time.
8. We hear you are a cat person, tell us a bit about your pets ! Y
es, yes yes! I'm a cat person and 100% a crazy cat lady. I was born and raised in Istanbul, a city that is famous for its cats. No kidding, the street cats in Istanbul are everywhere! Of course this is also a problem because there are too many animals that need being saved. Both of my cats chose me, I found them in different locations and both of them just sat on my lap and fell asleep immediately. I haven't experienced anything better than bringing an animal home from the street. We have such a strong connection and I couldn't imagine a life without them.
Thanks Isil, for the time and looking forward to our collaborative adventures to come. You can shop The Very Good Candle Company exclusively online on www.versegoodstore.com