“Created by hand for everyday luxury and a sense of nostalgia, these hand-poured soy wax candles reed diffusers & room sprays are inspired by the timeless Cotswolds landscapes”
When a tagline includes the words ‘luxury’, ‘nostalgia’ and ‘Cotswolds’; we know it’s something we are going to love. We caught up with Polly Oswald, the founder of Cotswold Candle Co on the story of the brand, from the very beginning until today.
What is your background and why did you decide to set up Cotswold Candle Co.?
I had moved out of London to the Cotswolds, and had given up my job in the corporate world and was looking after two small children and pregnant with a third. But I wanted something else to concentrate on. I read a magazine article about a lady who has also moved out of London and had tried her hand at candle making. That was it! I have always loved candles and decided to try and have a go at making my own. I tested LOADS of different waxes, wicks and fragrances, and two years of hard testing (and a son born!) I finally had a candle that I was proud enough to sell. I went to a Christmas market and they sold like hotcakes. Cotswold Candle Co was born!
Where did you begin with setting up your own company?
Cotswold Candle Co started in my kitchen. Eventually my family got a bit fed up with me taking over every available surface so I moved out to the garden shed, put up lots of shelves and invested in a huge wax melter to keep up with the growing demand for my candles. I soon added reed diffusers, room sprays and travel tin candles to the list, and now have a range of 16 different fragrances. I now also am the proud tenant of a fabulous workshop. It was a real risk but I went for it and it has really launched me into being a more serious business and I’m able to take on the bigger projects that I wouldn’t have dreamt of touching before. I also do a lot of bespoke candles for companies with their own branding, and is a side of the business I really enjoy.
What would you describe as a typical day in the life of what you do?
With three children at two different schools, life certainly keeps me busy! Managing the various school runs and after school clubs, homework etc with running a business is a real juggle and I often find myself tapping away at my laptop well into the evening to keep up with the admin. But a typical day begins with dropping the kids at school, grabbing a coffee from Daylesford Farm which is conveniently on my way from school to my workshop! Once in my workshop I spend the day fulfilling orders and building up stock – hand pouring batches of scented candles, reed diffusers and room sprays. I absolutely love being in my workshop, known as HQ, and the time flies before it’s time to pick the kids up.
You say fragrances have the power to evoke memories; what for you inspired the scents?
Fragrance most definitely transports you back to certain moments in your past. Your olfactory senses play a huge part in your memories. I have chosen scents that mean something to me. Lily of the Valley reminds me completely of my late grandmother. Bluebell transports me to the woods where I grew up. And Sweet Pea is a glorious reminder of summer.
If we can ask, which is your favourite?
I’m biased of course, and picked each and every scent because I really love them, but if I had to choose, I adore Rose – it’s soft, romantic and old fashioned. And White Mulberry is very unique – it’s a sophisticated blend of this white berry and different floral accords. But can’t forget the fragrance that launched the business – Cinnamon Orange & Clove. Christmas in a candle!
You use wooden wicks, what is the advantage, if any, of this?
I completely love the wooden wicks – I love the way they look, and the way they crackle, adding a third dimension of sound to the candle, not just the look and smell. I also think the wooden wick adds a rustic feel to the candle, and when I first started using them there weren’t many others doing so, so they were a bit different.
What’s next for Cotswold Candle Co.?
We’ve just launched a Candle Subscription service, where you receive a candle each month and is proving to be very popular. And have also just launched our E-Gift card – customers can buy a certain amount and drop it into someone’s inbox as a gift. We are constantly updating our stock and coming up with new ideas. We will also be launching a limited edition candle before Christmas so watch this space!
Images: Cotswold Candle Co