In Conversation With: M&J Candles

M&J was founded of a desire to create products of style and beauty, while building a business that holds true to ideals of integrity and fairness to other people and to the environment as a whole. Each of our products is designed and developed with the aim to tread as lightly on the planet as possible and do business in an ethical manner. With the challenges we as consumers (and as residents of this planet) face today, operating without consideration for sustainability is a luxury we can no longer afford.

We love that your candles are vegan – what are some of the benefits of using soy wax candles?

We specifically chose soy wax because it is a plant-based renewable resource. It also burns clean – the sooty residue you see in some candles is because they are petroleum-based.

The soy wax we use is sourced from North America, so we also know it does not cause any deforestation of the rain forests. It is transported by sea, so the carbon footprint is as small as possible.

Candles are the perfect addition to relaxing rituals like hair oiling! What made you first decide to create your own?

I simply love candles and have burned so many of them over the years as part of my own relaxation ritual, so it seemed natural for me to gravitate to them when I was deciding to start my own ethical product business. It is always easier to work with things you are passionate about!

What inspires your amazing candle fragrances?

Another of my life’s passions: travel! Each scent is inspired by a different location and experience – my friend described them as ‘olfactory postcards’. Our scents work both seasonally and emotionally. Sometimes we need energy and zing in our life, while sometimes we need calming and comfort. Scent is the strongest memory trigger – so if you can conjure a scent form a wonderful experience it can bring back the happy memories and general well-being.

Do you have a favourite of your candle collections?

I’m loving our Left Bank Martini candle. It is crisp and zingy and full of energy! I tend to change my favourite as the season changes , just like you would with food – we love salads in the summer and roasted comfort foods in the winter. So, by next month, my favourite candle will probably Celtic Fire or Bavarian Winter!

We’re already huge fans of your fragrance ranges! What collection would you recommend to go with hair oiling?

I would suggest our Samadhi scent, which features notes of Karpuura, Tulisi, and Rose. It is an earthy, relaxing meditative scent prefect to relax and focus on the ritual of hair oiling. Samadhi is the ultimate meditative state in which the mind becomes still. It is a state of being totally aware of the present moment.

We are so inspired by your dedication to the environment: could you tell us a little about your sustainable initiatives?

What make us very unique from other candle brands is we have looked at each component of the candle and spend a great amount of time sourcing from the most ethical suppliers on a variety of dimensions.

Our packing is made in the UK with vegetable dye and is carbon neutralized with a donation to the World Land Trust. We use 100% recycled glass that can be upcycled and reused after the candle has melted away.

Our wicks are 100% natural cotton and linen (not lead, like many mass-market candles!)

We make all our candles in the UK.

I could go on and on about this as it is so important to know your suppliers and the provenance of your components at each state of the production chain. We don’t green wash – we are the real deal!

Do you have any tips on looking after our candles?

Candle burning actually requires a bit more care and attention than people realize. It is key to always melt your candle all the way across the top when you light it – this can take many hours (4-5 with a large M&J London candle) so make sure you are able to invest this time before you light your candle. If you extinguish it too soon, you will create a memory pool and your candle will tunnel. This will prevent you from experiencing the full burn time of your candle.

It is also vital to always trim your wick before you re-light your candle. This will stop any soot appearing and give you the maximum clean burn. You can find loads of other tips on our website.

We believe that relaxing rituals, like hair oiling, are important parts of self-care, necessary for mental and physical health. What rituals do you have to help you relax?

I really enjoy having a hot bath by candle light. Lighting the candle first allows the bathroom to fill with the scent and also sets the mood – this isn’t a quick shower – this is self-care time! Turning off all bright lights and taking some time for yourself is like a tiny spa treatment at the end of an often hectic day.

As people look to more natural, sustainable ingredients, we’ve seen a huge increase in interest in green beauty. What are your favourite natural beauty products?

I love the Espa – Pink Pomelo Lip Balm, and the Neal’s Yard – Frankincense Intense Cream, Plus for more daily use I love the hand wash and cream from Soap and Co!

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