How I Fell in Love With Artisan Candles
From craft bakeries to bespoke jeans, handcrafted goods have taken off. I chuckle when our beeswax candles are credited as being part of this craze because it seems to me we’ve been handcrafting these artisan candles before handcrafting was cool. To be completely honest, many who have witnessed us sweating (and sometimes weeping) through the hand burnishing process have asked us why we don’t cut corners. Is it worth the extra time, effort and burnt fingertips?
My answer? Yes! Gasp! Bite your tongue! (Imagine me saying this while grasping my pearls.)
Why? For me, it’s personal. It’s about love. It started when I inherited my grand-daddy’s beekeeper tools, planting the first seeds for The Beeswax Co. Then the opportunity to break into the beeswax business came when I was 8 months pregnant with my first child. We had to jump on it although we knew the timing was insane. My husband and I traveled to Mason, Texas, for weeks learning the craft from the previous owners. When we moved the business to the Austin area, my daughter was only weeks old. That time is almost a blur to me now—trying to figure out how to run a business and take care of a new human being for the first time, all at once. But that process: hand burnishing each artisan candle with love—using those same tools from my grand-daddy—became therapeutic for me. I would spend hours at the shop burnishing candles with my baby girl sleeping next to me. It was my time to think and dream while doing something meaningful (that didn’t involve diapers and sippy cups). It was…and still is…therapy for me.
In the meantime, that hand finishing became one of the things that truly set The Beeswax Co. apart from other candlemakers. Here’s an idea of why it’s so special (and why my family and friends think I’m obsessed): It takes about eight months for our candlemakers to “graduate” to being able to hand finish the candles to my standards. That’s right: It’s harder than it looks.
As my understanding of the bee ecosystem and our roots in the local bee community expanded, my insistence on handcrafting our artisan candles became even stronger. It’s the same reason we insist on getting our beeswax from only the best local beekeepers and why we visit their farms to ensure our bar for quality is met, even though there are no regulations in place requiring us to do so. My family and friends will tell you it’s because I’m a control freak, which may be part of the story, but I blame another obsession: love.
We now offer our products nationwide in stores like HomeGoods and TJ Maxx and, to meet those demands, we’ve stepped up our production of poured candles that don’t require hand burnishing. Let me tell you: If I could hand-burnish thousands of candles each day, I would. For those candles, we’ve focused our love and attention on ensuring our beeswax remains top-notch and our candles remain poured by hand right here in Dripping Springs, Texas, by our little family of candlemakers. And as they’re being made, you can often still find me in the corner of the shop, hand burnishing—and burning what’s left of my fingertips on—our custom, craft, artisan (whatever term you choose to use) pillars and tapers. Some things never change.