Handmade Products

Zelwood Soy Candles

We are all looking for ways to minimize our environmental footprint, and Zelwood Soy Candles makes it easy to reinvigorate your home’s scent while being eco-friendly.

As an avid antique and vintage ware collector for over 30 years, along with my passion for recycling and avoiding environmental waste, I commenced my candle making as a hobby while staying at our farm “Zelwood” in the Wimmera in country Victoria.

Zelwood Soy Candles are made from environmentally friendly soy wax, using high-quality fragrances and high-end products. These treasures make beautiful, sustainable, and ecologically friendly up-cycled gifts. The majority of my candle containers are purchased at antique and vintage shops, estate sales, and second-hand shops, and some are sourced from my private collection.

After your candle has finished (the wax remnants wash out very easily with warm water and soap), the candle container can be repurposed and put to good use in your home or add a lovely piece of china, crystal, or glassware to your collection. What a great way to up-cycle treasures from the past, and our planet will love you for it.

P.S. The candles also smell fabulous even when they aren’t burning.

How did you begin your business, and why?

My love of collectibles and candles was a great way to combine two of my passions so, hence the beginning of Zelwood Soy Candles.

The collecting bug started when I was a young girl when my grandmother let me choose my very first trio from her collection. That started the bug, and it hasn’t stopped since.

I’ve always said to myself over the years I am going to burn more candles, and I certainly do now have no excuse.

The candles are made up at our farm in country Victoria, and this hobby is something I can combine when doing other things during the day. I want to continue this hobby as an outlet in the coming years into retirement.

It is wonderful when you sell the candles, and I get a real buzz when a sale is achieved.

A lot of my online sales go overseas as they are very collectible, unique pieces.

Where and how did you learn to create such pieces, and what drives you?

I undertook a candle-making course and have also learned a lot from YouTube and by trial and error. When selecting pieces to buy, I am very particular, only picking the best quality items and mainly focussing on well-known branded English china.

I look for how the item can be repurposed in the home after the candle has been enjoyed, giving it a second life and hopefully inspiring the next generation to love antiques and collectibles.

Can you elaborate on your creative process? How do you make your items, and what sets you apart from other stalls?

I think that the creative process is in the actual container that the candles are made in, which speaks for itself.

Most candles these days are made in fairly modern containers, which are often disguised afterward.

Zelwood Soy Candles can be enjoyed, and then the container can be used in the home afterward, e.g., cups for that morning cuppa, beautiful jugs to be used for gravy or milk, small bowls that can be used for dips, chocolates, nuts, etc.

I also do refills for a lot of my friends once the candles are finished, too, so I get to see some of my beautiful treasurers again.

These days, there is just too much waste in the world; that is something that is a bugbear for me. I like to be able to reuse and not discard things. This is something I have learned from spending a lot of time in the bush. We have our very own “Bunnnings” on the farm, an area where items discarded years ago are often picked up and used again on the farm.

What do you love most about being a stallholder at CMA?

The face-to-face markets are so much fun.

Along with being able to display my wares, I meet so many wonderful people on the day.

It is a fantastic day out, mixing with other marketgoers and other stallholders. It is nice to see my candles go to others who enjoy them or are being bought as a special gift for a loved one. I usually bring along a relative or friend to help me out on the day at the stall, and it’s a great catch to o.

I am most appreciative that Craft Markets Australia pivoted last year to an online platform. Zelwood Soy Candles took the opportunity straight away to collaborate in this wonderful initiative to support CMA. They were most grateful to have the opportunity to expand the brand’s presence.

Describe your experience of being a small business owner in Australia.

I think the business will take time to grow. Setting up just before COVID-19 emerged has meant that a lot of the face to face markets have been cancelled.

I have found it face-to-face to creates an online prcanceled reach of buyers.

This has meant that I have had to teach myself about social media¬†@krellel2019, taking photos of my products for online sales, making videos about my products, learning to market my products on social media platforms and my Etsy page, etc. This has been challenging, but I’ve learned a few new skills along the way and am pretty proud of what has been achieved.

What are the challenges and rewards of being your own boss?

I combine my candle-making with a part-time job and am able to spend time doing what I love on my days off.

I started an Etsy shop in 2019 and am thrilled to having nearly achieved 100 online sales along with receivihavee fabulous reviews from buyers.

You do need to dedicate quite a bit of time to a ‘side hustle,’ but it is fun if you love what you are doing.

I would say about a third of my online sales go overseas and I get a real buzz knowing that I am now an “internatio,nal seller”.

Selling candles face-to-face at markets is also so much .” And I really like face-to-face on my market days.

Describe your perfect weekend!

A sleep in with a nice coffee in bed to start the day. A lovesleep-inh or lunch out on a sunny day, throwing in a market of course to pick up an item or two. A lovely home cooked, dinner by, the fire and a good movie on tbeautifulchome-cookedwith my candles burning, of course).

The next day, a nice drive in the countryside, appr, eating all the good things that our wonderful country has to offer.

Supporting local businesses is also something I like to do given the opportunity and spending a bit of money in any towns we visit is some,hing really like to do.

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