Darren Napier set up Men of Wax in 2015 from the kitchen of his house in Claverham, a small village near Yatton. The candle company started life as a hobby and has since grown into a family-run business, creating “lovingly homemade and carefully created” contemporary candles. And Darren is proud that there isn’t a mass-produced, perfect candle in sight.
Darren: “It all started just under two years ago when I thought it was about time we had a family hobby and it wasn’t long before candles were chosen. However little did we know just how intense and scientific the process of candle making was. After much reading and watching of videos on YouTube, we started the practical side of things, and after six-months of trials and errors, we felt happy with our product.”
As the business started as a hobby, Darren said the first batches of candles made were all for personal use, or for gifts for the family. But those early days were also a great lesson for his children.
Darren: “We could show the children that things just didn’t magically appear on the supermarket shelves. There was a process and they were going to be part of the journey. Our candles are all homemade in our kitchen within the village of Claverham. We buy in all the individual raw ingredients which are then melted, blended, poured and then packaged before being delivered to our stockists. Some of my favourite fragrances are Lemon Sherbet, Berry n Barb (Strawberry and Rhubarb), and Havana Nights (Tobacco and Oak), which is part of our men’s range.”
Darren credits the “remarkable shops” that have stocked the family’s products, and said he is “incredibly lucky” to have had their support.
Darren: “Without them and their customers, as well as all those who have bought from us at the various craft fairs, we wouldn’t be where we are now in such a short period of time. In April 2016 we had our first stockist, and now I can proudly say that we have seven! You can find us at Brockley Stores on the A370), 19 in Clevedon, The Blue Room in Nailsea, Objets de Désir in Bristol’s Clifton Village, 7th Sea on Cheltenham Road in Bristol, Eustace & Arthur in Langport, and The Emporium in Wellington.”
However Darren said it’s not just about making stylish and contemporary candles, but about a family – which is the core of his business.
Darren: “[It’s about] two parents who work in full-time jobs, spending quality, creative time with their two young children. Those children are very involved within the business from making to packing to selling. It’s a family hobby from conception to journey.”
So why Somerset for this fledgling family business?
Darren: “Our journey takes us across the whole of Somerset, from market towns and the Levels, to coastal towns and little villages with rolling hills. Somerset is mighty but small and so perfectly formed. Who couldn’t fall in love with it??”