Originally based in the Caribbean, Rachel Vosper is now one of the leading chandlers in the UK, offering her unique Refill
Service – where customers can bring in their own vessels to be turned into candles from her boutique in London’s Belgravia…
What first sparked your interest in candles as a career?
I had a serendipitous moment on a beach in Barbados many years ago. I fell in love with the sensory art of candlemaking.
Did you do any specific training or are you self-taught?
I’m self-taught but I was blessed to have invaluable mentoring and training from one of the world’s leading chandlers, David Constable.
Do you have a particular philosophy or set of values when you approach your work?
I aim always to source from within the UK, making Rachel Vosper a true British brand, collaborating with British artists and manufacturers. My key philosophy is to be unique and for my customers to be part of the creative process – using their own vessels or creating something bespoke for their home and lifestyle. Everything we do is done with this in mind – the highest quality, handmade, individual and with a personal touch.
What part of your process most pleases you?
I am always so happy at the final pour and meeting a customer who is buying something that has just been made here in our atelier. I love the client interaction and knowing that what I have just created is going to a good home where it will be enjoyed. We offer a personal service to each customer regarding their home, their lifestyle and what they love to help them find something uniquely right for them.
How do you bring the senses into play in your work?
Our fragrance library encapsulates something from each part of the fragrance wheel, and everyone has their own unique association to fragrance. We choose specific ingredients for unique blends: for example with our wedding gift service we can bond together experiences and memories of the bride and groom – bringing together different elements in people’s lives in a sensory experience.
Do you use other senses to enhance the experience of your work?
Other than olfactory, I like to play with light, colour, the transparency of vessels – light refracts off materials in such different ways. I like being able to use something sentimental and old that has been brought in by a customer – perhaps it’s been tucked away in a cupboard for years or inherited – and then give it new life.
Do you connect a particular smell to your happiest memories?
In Barbados there was so much jasmine, ylang ylang and frangipane: heady scents mixed with the salt and fresh air, evoking wonderful memories of my time there. In London there is a rose garden in Hyde Park where I used to take my daughter when she was a baby.
Where is your ‘hole-and-corner’?
In South Devon near my parents’ home by the sea, where I grew up, there is a slate shelf at the base of a cliff where I like to sit, overlooking the sea – a stolen moment of ‘me time’, away from everyone.
Photography: Jake Curtis