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Q&A with Emma: Our New Home Fragrance Collection

20th August 2020

On the 5th of August, we were so pleased to reveal our first ever Home Fragrance collection, featuring six of our most-loved designs with exotic bespoke fragrances to match the intricate hand-drawn illustrations. Many of you had lots of questions about the designs, the scents and the background of the collection so Emma and our wonderful Fragrance expert Margaret from Bahoma London sat down for an Instagram Live to answer all of your questions, which you can see here or scroll to find all of the answers below...

How did the collaboration come about?

Emma: "I have wanted to create a range of candles and diffusers for quite some time, but because it's an area that I didn't know a huge amount about I wanted to team up with an expert in the areaMargaret from Bahoma London then got in touch, she has been working in fragrance for many years and has a huge amount of experience in fine fragrances, candles and diffusers and has a wealth of knowledge in this area.

"we knew we wanted to create bespoke scents that would compliment each artwork"

We first started to look at the designs that would work for the collection and we knew we wanted to create bespoke scents that would compliment each artwork. The six designs we chose come from different inspirations, this was intentional so that we could have some really varied scents reflecting the stories behind each one.

I then took a trip to Bahoma to see their fragrance library and I started to pick out the scents that I felt an affinity with, that I thought would work best with the illustrations. We then mixed the raw scents together with Margaret's help and expertise to create really amazing multi-layered fragrances that became the final combinations we now have in the collection." 

"we really wanted them to be heirloom keepsake pieces that people could treasure for a really long time"

Margaret: "I had seen the Emma J Shipley bedding collections and thought that designing fragrances with your designs would be such a pleasure, we then connected a few years ago and it's been quite a long journey to get to the final fragrances and the vessels we have now, but I must say it has been a fantastic journey."

Emma: "Yes I think we started speaking at the end of 2018, which gives people an idea of how long this type of thing is in the making. It's not a quick collection that gets put out there, it's had a huge amount of time, thought and attention go into it, which I hope everyone can see in the final pieces. When it came to developing bespoke fragrances, Margaret really helped guide me through the whole process brilliantly from the beginning."

A selection of the final Home Fragrance designs including Lynx, Zambezi, Audubon and Kruger in the background

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Emma: "The inspiration comes from all over the place, often from travelling, and stories of fantasy literature and films, plus my own imagination. I always want to create something that is a mix of real and imaginary and bring to life designs that are unique with a surreal signature twist."

Hand-drawn Zambezi design on the left and the original hand-drawing of the Caspian design on the right

What are the candles made from? and why did you go for the materials you chose for the candles, diffusers and the wax?

Emma: "This was something we spoke about from the beginning and we really wanted them to be heirloom keepsake pieces that people could treasure for a really long time. They are made from real fine bone china which is all ethically sourced, this was really important to us and we have also used completely natural wax, hand-poured in London making sure they are all ethically manufactured. This is such an important aspect to us when creating any collection - making sure that we can stand behind the production and be confident in the making of them. Each candle and diffuser have really rich, exotic and unusual scents that have been really carefully tested and we wanted them to be really distinct and unique, and not a throw-away piece."

Margaret: "I felt that choosing bone china was a must for these vessels, there are a lot of products which are available in porcelain contains in the market but for the EJS collection, I thought you would be losing the magic of the candle if it was made in anything else. The beauty of the whole candle is that you get the shadows through the vessels illuminating the designs, the more wax you burn the more the design becomes visible, which brings the magic of the designs to life and makes them more dynamic. There is no other material which captures this as well as fine bone china so that was the main reason for this.

"Given Emma's passion for animals and wildlife, it was also important for us to extend this environmentally friendly consideration into the packaging"

The wax is 100% natural coconut and soya. I have always been conscious of making candles using natural wax and I know that Emma is also very conscious about making sure everything is environmentally friendly, so this was important to get right.  It can be challenging to make sure the sources are natural, but this blend of coconut and soya was the best we found.

Given Emma's passion for animals and wildlife, it was also important for us to extend this environmentally friendly consideration into the packaging used, so all of the boxes are made from recycled materials which are biodegradable. This addresses that whatever we make and whatever packaging we use will not be damaging our environment or be around for very long after use."

"I always light my candle just before bed, and it's a really nice ritual to unwind at the end of the day "

Emma: "Each piece comes in a beautiful bespoke box that we spent a lot of time developing, featuring the design on the front that can be kept after the candle and diffuser has been taken out and be used again and again."

Margaret: "The challenge of working with natural wax was that I wanted to capture the richness and complexity of fragrance, and usually, paraffin wax is seen as the most reliable wax base for fragrance candles because it burns up easier, making the scent throw stronger. But I was thinking we have fabulous designs, beautiful bone china vessels, and we also have amazing fragrances that we wanted to make sure was noticeable when the candle is burnt. So that is part of the reason this project was in the works for quite some time, because apart from designing the fragrances using essential oils and natural wax we had a very long testing time to make sure the candles were going to perform very well, which I think we achieved and we are very happy with the final result."

The glow you get from lighting the fine bone china candles, beautifully illuminating each design bringing it to life

The beautiful bespoke packing - made from 100% recyclable and biodegradable material. But can also be used as a box to keep treasures in.

How did you choose the vessels?

Emma: "I wanted the shape to be quite simple because of course, the artworks are quite intricate and detailed, so we wanted something that would be a beautiful canvas for the designs. I also loved the idea of having a bold and simple shaped lid, making a feature of that by using a complimentary block colour to the vessel. Each illustration wraps all the way around the vessel seamlessly, with real gold accents."

Each vessel has striking real gold accents, with a matching block colour lid. The Kruger Candle is on the left, the Zambezi Candle is on the right

Do you have any tips for the best way to use the candles and diffusers?

Margaret: "I would say that diffusers have some more benefits over candles especially in Summer they are a great product! If you have a diffuser and you put it in an area with good air circulation then you will find the fragrance is going to be carried and linger from room to room. I think candles have different benefits but are not able to spread the scent around in this same way.

The Diffusers come with cotton fibre reeds and when you first use the diffuser... put the oils into the vessel, then put on the lid and then put the reeds in leave it for 24 hours. Then I would advise you to take the reeds out, turn them upside down and put them back into the vessel, you will find that this will give you an intense boost of fragrance. Then it is a personal preference for how frequently you turn the sticks over. If you have a smaller space, you can do it less often, and if you have a bigger space more often.

"it is important to always trim the wick on your candle before you light it"

We do not use alcohol in our diffusers because alcohol has a very high evaporation rate and fragrance oils do not, so what happens when you have a diffuser that contains alcohol, the alcohol evaporates quickly and leaves a very small amount of fragrance making them last much less time. Our diffusers will last 6-8 months. 

It is very important to read the instructions on our packages for both candles and diffuser for the simple reason that we use a lot of essential oils and if it drops onto furniture or delicate fabrics it can damage or stain them, so I would always suggest that you read our packaging first before using the candles or diffusers. 

For Candles, it is important to always trim the wick before you light it, make sure you check it is not more than 3- 5 mm in length, trimming is important even on the first use. Then we recommend to burn it for a maximum of 3 hours, so make sure to keep an eye on the time.

"I have the Zambezi Diffuser in my bathroom and it just brings me so much joy every time I step inside, it fills the whole room and changes the atmosphere of the space"

Use the lid to extinguish the flame, our lids extinguish the candles perfectly and you won't get any smoke which is great. Then next time when you go to burn the candle again, trim the wick. If you keep to a maximum burn time of 3 hours this will guarantee an even burn across the top of the candle. Our candles should last between 60 - 80 hours depending on how often you burn them, and how long each burn time is."

Emma: "I always light my candle just before bed, and it's a really nice ritual to unwind at the end of the day and I might only have it on for half an hour, but you can imagine that will last me such a long time, even lighting it every day which is wonderful!"

The Amazon candle glowing beautifully, picture by @mydarkhome - on the right is the Zambezi Diffuser styled lovingly styled by @the_girl_with_the_green_sofa

Which is your favourite scent in the collection?

Margaret: "For myself, at the beginning of the process Audubon was my least favourite design compared to some of the others that I was more drawn to, but it's been an incredible journey and right now Audubon is actually my favourite in terms of design and in terms of fragrance. It's very multi-layered in the fragrances and I love the patchouli notes, so it's my number one."

Emma: "It's hard for me, I love the Zambezi for the scent and the design, which is the stunning vetiver and damask rose - it really evokes a tropical jungle and is floral without being too sweet, with a really rich deep muskiness to it. I have the Zambezi Diffuser in my bathroom and it just brings me so much joy every time I step inside, it fills the whole room and changes the atmosphere of the space which is so lovely. It's such an exotic scent with so much depth to it. I have also been using the Lynx candle a lot and it's also such a beautiful scent!"

Margaret's favourite design and scent - Audubon on the left and Emma favourite Home Fragrance design and scent - Zambezi on the right

Which is stronger in scent, candles or diffusers?

Emma: "Diffusers really do fill a large space and especially if you have airflow coming through, whereas the scent of the candle is more specific to where it is situated in your home and being burnt. I do like the combination of both. Also having pets, diffusers are so great to have around the house as they create a beautiful scent filling every room."

Margaret: "Yes diffusers are much better for throwing the fragrance around, whereas candles are different in that they create a beautiful ambience but they don't throw the scent as well. But it is difficult to say which one is stronger, however, diffusers do carry the scent to a wider space."

The Caspian Vanilla & Sandalwood scented Candle and Diffuser featuring the the iconic British lion and unicorn, inspired by C.S.Lewis’ world of Narnia, with details of surreal trees that add a signature twist to this design. On the Right - The Kruger Aromatic Woods Scented Candle and Diffuser inspired by an African safari adventure and features a fantastical array of creatures and foliage, including spotted giraffes sheltering under tropical palms.

Where can I find the candles?

Emma: "You can find the complete collection available on our site here - we also have the range exclusively in-store at Harrods, so if you do fancy taking a trip to the shops to smell them in person, they are in the fragrance department."

Candles displayed in store at Harrods - Our Home Fragrance collection can be found exclusively on our site and in store at Harrods

Will you be doing any other designs on the candles?

Emma: "At the moment these are the only six designs available, but we may look to introduce more in the future. So watch this space..."

Will you be making any fragrance cards to send out?

Emma: "I think this is a great idea! We don't currently have this option but we are looking into it and hope that in the coming weeks this is something we can have available online. This would be great for people to try the different scents and to discover the one you like the most."

"The candles and diffusers can be shipped worldwide!"

Will refills be available?

Emma: "Yes we would love to do this for the diffusers, this is something we are also looking into as we want them to be pieces that you could treasure for a very long time. We will be working on making these available soon so that you can top up the diffuser scent after it's been used."

Can you shop the candles Worldwide?

Emma: "Yes we are very happy to say that the candles and diffusers can be shipped worldwide!"

What can you use the candle vessels for after the wax has been burnt?

Emma: "I think it's such a lovely thing to be able to give the candle a second life after the wax is used up. Simply clean the vessel by placing the candle container under a tap and turn the tap on warm to hot. Wait for the water to melt the wax and turn off the tap. Carefully pour the hot water out of the container along with any melted wax. Repeat until all of the wax is removed, we don't advise using boiling water with fine bone china as the heat may crack the vessel.

Then they can be turned into many things including a trinket pot, planting little plants like cacti or succulents, holding stationary. I would personally use it for jewellery, to hold my keepsake ornaments, and just to have as a beautiful vessel on my dressing table." 

We hope this answers all of your questions about our new collection and gives you lots of helpful tips and advice, but if you have any other questions at all please leave them in the comments section below... and if you want to find out more about our Home Fragrance launch you can read our previous blog post here

You can shop the complete Home Fragrance Collection here

On the Left - the Amazon scented Candle and Diffuser, created to evoke the jungle dreamworld behind the Amazon design, with juicy notes of ripening fig set on a fresh yet woody base of cedarwood creating a playful melange of aromas. On the right - The Lynx scented Candle and Diffuser, with exuberant and seductive notes of Tuberose and Gingerlily, set on an Amber and Musky base which takes you on a truly magical fragrance adventure.

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