Known for their colourful and beautifully fragranced candles, Elume is a family-run business in Sydney with a proud history and loyal customer base.
The idea of Elume came to owners Mark and Joelle Lavender over 25 years ago when the pair were living in Canada. After working in a candle factory in Vancouver, Mark was inspired to bring his skills to Sydney and open a unique business to fill a gap in the Australian market. There were initial challenges with sourcing the necessary ingredients, but the determination of Mark and Joelle could not be quashed. Hard work and passion led to the creation of Elume’s Signature Pillar Candles, with their characteristic snowflake effect and gorgeous fragrances.
Starting small, Mark and Joelle began selling their products at local markets in 1999. They then received interest from retail shops and steadily gained popularity with their signature candles. It wasn’t long before Elume’s candles were in shops across Australia!
From the beginning, it was very important to Mark and Joelle that their candles were manufactured locally. With Mark working as Production Manager and Joelle as Managing Director, they are still heavily involved in all levels of the business in their Sydney factory. From creating colours from scratch, hand-pouring candles, sourcing wicks and creating packaging, their personal touches and passion are evident in every product.
Mark was born in the Sutherland Shire and Joelle is from Canada. They met in Canada but decided to bring the idea of Elume back to Australia because it was very unique here. Being involved in the business and staying connected has led them to grow a loyal consumer base equally passionate about Elume’s candle colours and fragrances.
“Most of our fragrances now have a huge following, so we don’t change our candles up too dramatically anymore, but we do try to introduce new ones if we come up with an idea we can’t resist. For example, I can’t wait to start making our Orange Citrus Pop in a pillar candle! We choose fragrances to cover the categories of fruity, woody, spicy, gourmand, floral, and citrus.”
Elume Pillar Candles are particularly sought-after during the festive season. Having made Christmas Pillars for many years, they are hugely popular.
“The traditional fragrances of cinnamon spice and berries, pine needle and sage, and vanilla nutmeg in our Christmas candles have customers coming back for them year after year.
They look different from our signature pillar candles with beautiful shiny, solid colours in red, green and white - the vanilla nutmeg even has real nutmeg sprinkled on the top! We have been making our Christmas pillars for many years, and we seem to make more and more every Christmas season. They are a seasonal favourite that everyone waits for, whether for at home or to create the most beautiful displays in retail shops.”
This is not the only example of Elume working to meet product demands. After receiving many requests, Elume extended its range to include Hand Washes and Lotions. Each uses Elume’s signature fragrances and is manufactured locally.
Mark said, “We received a lot of requests for hand wash and body lotion to coordinate with our beautiful candles, so after much consideration, we decided to use an experienced and local body care manufacturer to fill the bottles, using our range of fragrances.”
The relationship with their customers has been bolstered over recent years as the family-run business has continued to grow.
Joelle said, “It has been very challenging to keep our prices stable whilst facing so many price increases ourselves. But we have managed to keep going thanks to all the support of our loyal customers, who appreciate the quality of Elume products.
It is so important for consumers to buy Australian Made to support the economy and everyone employed in Australia. Now more than ever, it is vital to support local. It is reassuring to see customers recognising the importance of quality and Australian Made.”
Recent Roy Morgan research found that over 70% of Australians have been looking to buy more Australian-made products in the last 12 months. Elume has seen this for themselves.
“More and more, customers are looking to buy products that are genuinely made in Australia,” Joelle explains. “Every time we do a gift fair, one of the first questions is always, ‘Where are your products made?’ We always proudly say that we hand-pour our candles ourselves in our Sydney factory.”
“Using the Australian Made logo on our products allows customers to instantly identify and also trust that our products are truly Australian Made. We often see customers on the lookout for the logo when shopping.”
Despite the challenges that candle manufacturing brings, Mark and Joelle are motivated by the loyalty of their customers and the demand for Australian Made products.
“We love creating our beautiful Australian Made candles and will continue to do so for many years. Candle manufacturing is a big challenge, and we have overcome so many obstacles. Still, it is the loyalty of our customers and the demand for Australian-made products that keep us inspired.”