The UK’s only candle recycling business, The Recycled Candle Company has opened its new shop in Gandy Street in the heart of Exeter’s indie shopping district.
City shoppers looking for a combination of luxury goods with a strong green ethos have been flocking to the store to browse the candles, which are created by reusing scrap wax.
Founder Richard Hills-Ingyon explained: “The concept is simple; wax from used candles is melted down, filtered, dyed and scented to create beautiful new candles.
“As far as we know, we’re the only company providing this opportunity for recycling candle wax in the UK, if not the world.”
Richard grew up in Sidbury and his interest in candle making started at an early age. “I was just seven when my parents gave me a kit to keep me busy on rainy days.”
At first the candle making was a hobby, but over time it became Richard’s passion and he became intrigued by the idea of reusing old wax by melting it down and purifying it.
Richard met architect Sargon Latchin in London and together they formulated the idea for The Recycled Candle Company, opening their first shop in Ottery St Mary in 2017. Sargon said: “We spent some time devising techniques that would enable us to reuse wax on a large scale whilst ensuring the end product was of the highest quality.”
They then found a UK-based French perfumer willing to design their bespoke fragrances; Sargon says they are fortunate to be one of a very few small businesses the company will work with.
Once they’d perfected the techniques, they started attending trade shows across the country, bringing them to the notice of organisations such as the Eden Project, National Trust and Adam Hensons Cotswolds Farm Park, all keen to sell the products in their own shops. Big name customers encompass Selfridges, Fenwick, KT Tunstall and blogger Buella. As interest grew, so did the need for expansion.
“Although we loved being in Ottery, it became increasingly obvious that we needed more space to allow us to take the business to the next level,” explained Richard.
“Gandy Street fits our profile perfectly with lots of like-minded businesses close by, so when the shop became available the decision was easy to make.”
Customers bringing old candles into the shop are offered a discount on purchases. Richard and Sargon are also keen to encourage hotels and restaurants in Exeter to recycle their candles, as at the moment most of these come mainly from London hotels. Sargon said:
“We are happy to collect used candles from any local businesses. The good thing is, this will help them to achieve their green objectives and keep old wax out of landfill.”