Explore the world of sustainable candle making with Isil, the founder of The Very Good Candle Co.

When did you realise that you wanted to pursue a career in candle making?

I always loved candles and having proper, soft lighting wherever I am. It is my #1 mood booster. 

Around 2 and a half years ago, I had a massive turning point in my life; I got married and moved to Amsterdam. 6 months later, I found myself outside the corporate world I was so used to back at home where I had a career in Marketing. I had to organise music events and worked with international brands like Disney and Coca-Cola.

Honestly, for the first time in a while, I felt completely free. I always had the desire to start my own business, and I knew whatever I did, music had to be a part of it, even if it was a small part, or the inspiration. I also knew that if I was to make something, it had to be as sustainable as possible. The idea formed itself from there.  

What do you think that you would be doing today if you did not start The Very Good Candle Co.?

I would love to see myself working in an animal shelter or for an NGO fighting against climate change.


What would you say are the challenges of being in the candle making business nowadays?

When I started, it was the resources. I literally had no capital. I  was pouring candles in a tiny little room in my house (even my cats smelled like candles!) It was a challenge to execute your vision without the financial means to do so, but it really does push you to be creative.

Nowadays, I'd say the challenge is standing out. Candles are becoming more and more popular, and it seems as if there is a new brand appearing everyday. I believe though that it's a good thing, as it makes us push ourselves in new directions and think outside the box.

What does a normal day as a candle maker look like?

I love the mornings and no matter how busy my day is going to be, I always try to have a good breakfast and spend some time with my cats before I leave home.

As soon as I arrive to my studio, I put the kettle on (and by kettle I mean the giant wax melter!) and turn my music on. I arrange my online orders, check e-mails and then I like to disconnect from the world for a few hours and just focus on making candles whilst re-watching my favourite series on Netflix or listening to a new podcast.  

"I knew that if i had my own business, it had to be as sustainable as possible"

Can you tell us a little more about your creative process when it comes to making a new product? First of all, I need a story. I need to find my muse, the essential inspiration, the spark of the idea. 

Then I start visualising... What will it smell like? What will it look like? What will the details be? Why?

Once I have an image and the idea of the product in mind, I start the making process, which can sometimes take a while until I get to the point where I am completely satisfied. For example, it took me almost a year to achieve the best pot shape for the Terracotta collection. But I believe it is worth it. Details matter! 

We understand that each product is different, how long does it take you to make one of your candles?

It is very hard to say to be honest...

All my products have different processes and steps involved. What I will tell you is that the product that requires a crazy amount of time to create and you wouldn't expect it due to their size are the tealights. 

What are your favourite ingredients to work with?

I love the rapeseed wax that I use in its raw form - so soft and pure - but most importantly, locally sourced. 

And of course, essential oils, especially mandarin, rosemary and pine. I can't help but to take a deep sniff every time that I mix them!

What do you want to communicate to the person who purchases one of your products? I would love them to know the story and inspiration behind each product. We have five scents and each of them is inspired by one of our favourite music festivals and the magnificent nature of their locations all around the world. 

For example, Asagiri is inspired by a small festival in Japan which is celebrated on the foothills of Mount Fuji. Every time I smell it I am transported there!

A more sustainable lifestyle is extremely important to us and our customers. Could you tell us what you do to approach your business in a more sustainable way? 

I wanted my business to be as local as possible. First off, I challenged myself not to use any soy wax (as it is primarily sourced - unsustainably - from the US & South America), so I decided to go with the beautiful rapeseed wax, which back then it eas pretty uncommon. It is grown and made in Europe, uses less resources and also burns slower than most alternative waxes. I also source all my materials within the EU, avoiding overseas transportation as much as possible. 

I try to encourage people to recycle and upcycle and so I offer a discount for returned jars. I will soon be launching a refill product for the jars and terracotta candles, so that people don't have to purchase the full product every single time. 

And we are also 100% plastic-free!

Do you have any plans for the near future to increase your sustainability even further? Oh yes, definitely. I’m always fine tuning my processes to make them more sustainable, or looking for materials which offer a lower carbon footprint. I want to work with companies like yours that share the same values, and apply the same level of detail when it comes to sourcing their product, especially with the essential oils.

If you had to choose only one of the candles that you have made to take with you forever, what would it be? 

Oh wow, that’s a tough one! I think I’d take a Naeba terra candle with me. Don’t tell my husband though, he’d be very disappointed I didn’t choose Asagiri!

Discover The Very Good Candle range