This is a guest post by Alex and Laura, founders of Concrete & Wax.
Hi, we are Alex and Laura, owners of 2SOM Ltd and founders of CONCRETE & WAX.
Since the end of 2018 we have been handmaking concrete homeware items and fragranced natural wax pillar candles in our Suffolk workshop.
Prior to this we worked for over two decades in the fashion industry, designing and providing trend forecasts to many casual and sportswear apparel brands, which may sound incredibly different to what we do now, but in some ways explains the design concept behind our CONCRETE & WAX collection:
We have always loved getting hands on with different material textures and especially combining contrasting surfaces in new ways. The materials, concrete and wax couldn’t have more different properties and textures, yet when together they unite in a tactile and harmonious way. Alex has always loved the modular, intelligent design of technical sportswear clothing and so, when he began experimenting with pouring concrete in his spare time (which inspired Laura to start experimenting with pouring wax), this love transferred easily into the design of our stackable, interchangeable collection of holders and candles.
They allow you to put together a candle arrangement depending on your mood (by mixing colours and shapes, styling dramatically or keeping it low-key) in the same way you might pull together an outfit from your wardrobe.
We spent many months honing our new skills to perfect our recipes and refine our collection, looking to local craftsmen to handmake our candle and holder prototypes, from which we handmake moulds, from which we pour our pieces. We designed the packaging and branding, developed the website and set out on the ever-so complex and slightly daunting marketing path. We’re not going to lie, it has been a steep learning curve with many “casualties-of-pour” along the way, but also incredibly rewarding, inspiring and a lot of fun too. Nothing beats seeing our products proudly displayed in a store or shared by a customer on social media – we smile every single time.
We know it’s hard to shout our eco credentials from the rooftop when working with a material such as concrete, but we have founded our business with a sustainable model by sourcing our materials locally, using skilled craftsmen from our neighbourhood and having absolutely minimum waste.
When we launched, our motivation was absolutely not to bring another candle company into an already saturated marketplace, but instead to deliver interesting and unique products that are built to last. The fact that all the holders are designed to fit any standard tealight as well as our candles is not just a design detail, it’s because we fully appreciate the concrete will always outlast the candle and, rather than our customers being tied to us to buy replacement candles, we wanted them to be able to pop in any standard tealight instead, as every piece of concrete deserves a long and happy life.
We like to encourage our customers to re-use our cardboard packaging and even repurpose the concrete where possible. Take our concrete pots for example – they can be pen holders or plant pots, just as successfully as burn any of our candles in.
If we’ve learnt anything in the last few years it’s that a) you’re never too old to try something completely new and b) don’t get hooked on the likes and follows of social media. Strike your own path and enjoy what you do.
If you are interested in trying out pouring your own concrete and candle combinations then please join us at our up-coming knack workshop. We were thrilled when Jan at knack asked us if we’d like to collaborate, although we are a little nervous because this will be the first “live” workshop we have ever done so we can’t promise it will be flawless in execution. We can however promise it will give a real insight into the craft of pouring concrete using different techniques and making pillar candles in a variety of sizes and in your own fragrance choice. We’ve even designed a special concept “bottle candle” for the occasion which will necessitate you providing a (straight sided) 500ml plastic bottle to use as a mould – now normally we don’t condone the purchasing of single-use plastic, but in this instance it means your single-use bottle will get a 2nd life while helping you to create something unique to you.
We hope to see you there!
Alex and Laura are leading knack's September workshop to show our members how to make several candles and concrete candle holders! You can see more and sign up to this workshop here.