Not many visitors to Barbados end up buying a local candle factory. But after a chance encounter on a beach in 1994, Rachel Vosper did just that.
As she built the business up, Rachel’s new-found interest developed into a passion and, in 2011, she opened her flagship store in Belgravia, selling deliciously scented, hand-poured candles to a mix of retail customers, corporate and private clients.
Just as Rachel Vosper’s route into candle-making was extraordinary, so too are her candles. Using only the finest European sourced ingredients, Rachel employs traditional methods to ensure the longevity of the fragrances and the optimum burn. Top tips: ‘Never burn a candle for less than an hour, as that’s how dips form around the wick,’ says Rachel. ‘Don’t keep them lit for more than four hours and trim the wick to about 6mm.’
Not surprisingly, creating a candle that smells amazing is one of a chandler’s most difficult tasks. ‘I like to focus on balancing top, middle and base notes, approaching it in much the same way as an expert wine producer would,’ says Rachel. ‘When choosing a fragrance, I look for simplicity and don’t overcook combinations. It’s also important to consider the occasion and season.’
Equally unique is Rachel Vosper’s refill service which allows customers to bring back used votives from the shop or provide their own vessels. ‘I like being given the chance to use something sentimental and old that has been brought in by a customer – perhaps it has been tucked away in a cupboard for years or inherited – and then give it a new lease of life,’ says Rachel. Not only can you have Granny’s antique soup tureen filled with scented wax, you can watch it being made in the store’s open-plan atelier.
As demand for bespoke scents increases, Rachel Vosper has been commissioned by a number of property developers to create bespoke scent packages for their latest projects. She also provides corporate clients with personalised gifts and fragrances for exclusive private and commercial properties.
In addition, Rachel works closely with a number of high-end interior designers, recently filling Baccarat and Lalique glass for a 16-bedroom house on Belgrave Square.Got an idea for your very own fragranced candle? Rachel Vosper will make it for you.
‘My clients are a constant source of inspiration,’ says Rachel, who participated in one of the four interactive areas at Decorex this year, ‘and I love meeting the people who buy my candles, some of whom are now old friends.’
Never one to rest on her scented laurels, Rachel Vosper updates her fragrance library every season. She introduced three new scents this autumn, including Scent 69, which combines elements of all her bestselling fragrances. She has also launched a diffusion range with one of Britain’s leading home furnishing retailers, which includes candles, diffusers and spa-inspired toiletries.
‘My real passion lies in the product development. I love creating things, especially bespoke products and fragrances for other people,’ she says.
RACHEL VOSPER 69 KINNERTON STREET, LONDON SW1X 8ED +44 (0)20 7235 9666