October’s nearly here and there’s nothing like a scented candle to cheer the darker Autumn evenings. We spoke to Dee Hopkins of Hopothecary Candles about her business, her inspiration and her experiences of trading at the Frome Independent.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS
I graduated in Textile design at Loughborough School of Art (many years ago) with a specialism in interior fabrics and I have always had a passion for creating warm and inviting living spaces. Candle making was just a hobby which grew into a kitchen table business after I became fed up with buying cheap synthetic candles which overpowered the home. I really wanted to make myself candles which were subtle and luxurious but eco friendly too. They proved a hit with family and friends and a small business idea began to grow.
WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INSPIRATION?
I’m inspired by nature, my travels and the memories of much loved places. I created a very evocative bluebell fragrance in lockdown. At that time I was unable to travel to my favourite woods when they would have been in full bloom. Later when I was selling it at market a customer began to cry as the fragrance reminded her of walking through bluebells with her mother. Experts say that memories associated with smells tend to be older and thought about less often, meaning the recollection is all the more vivid when it happens. It’s almost like giving the gift of time travel and that is incredibly inspirational.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO TRADE AT THE FROME INDEPENDENT?
I have been fortunate enough to live in Frome for the past 20+ years and have been visiting The Frome Independent since it began. I love trading in my home town, have many regular local customers and also get to meet lots of new ones from further afield. The set up and pack down is so easy on market day with only a five minute drive home.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT MARKET TRADING, WHY NOT JUST TRADE FROM A SHOP OR ONLINE?
Whilst I have a website and have my products in some shops locally such as Black Swan Arts in Frome and National Trust Stourhead, there is nothing quite like meeting customers face to face and having a chat about candles and all things fragrance related. I have regular customers who stop by every month, they often bring me treats of coffee and cake. I love to catch up with other trader friends, many of whom I now consider friends. It’s very inspirational seeing what they are all up to.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR OWN FAVOURITE OR BEST SELLING PRODUCT. HOW MUCH WORK GOES INTO CREATING IT?
Candle making is hard! When I started out I had no idea just how much testing would be involved. Wick sizes, melt pools, burn times, hot and cold throws all have to be taken into consideration. Creating a good candle involves a lot of science and maths, which I find tricky as a creative. I really enjoy creating the fragrances, branding and the product photography side of things, those elements are more “me”
Best selling fragrances come and go in phases depending on the time of year. I particularly love South West Coast Path which was inspired by my favourite beach in Cornwall, Holywell Bay. It’s often bought as a gift for someone who has walked or is walking the path.
As Christmas approaches and candle season comes into full swing I can barely make enough Christmas Spice and Christmas Tree to keep up with demand. My customers absolutely love these fragrances as they are so evocative and nostalgic.
WHERE CAN CUSTOMERS FIND YOU?
I will be trading on Justice Lane the first Sunday of each month in October, November and December. Sandwiched between The Black Swan Arts and the Park and Ride drop off point next to my lovely Market neighbour Issi Bulloch Jewellery.