More to making candles than just pouring the wax
HE’S been a military police officer in the Australian Army, a train driver and his current position is a supervisor at rail freight business Pacific National.
In a twist to his CV, Rockhampton man Roland Anselme is also a chandler.
A chandler is a maker and seller of candles, soaps, oil and paints. The word is derived from Anglo-French word chandele, meaning candle.
Candles have been around for over 5000 years. Egyptians used them in 3000 BC but it is believed the Romans developed the wicked candle before then by dipping rolled papyrus in melted tallow or beeswax.
Over centuries candles were made from animal fat at some stages before wax was discovered.
Mr Anselme and his family, wife Lisa and their three girls, Ava, Lily and Ella are the faces behind Litteboy, a Rockhampton business making and selling candles, wax melts, reed diffusers and body products.
This is the ninth edition in The Morning Bulletin’s Home Grown series, where we go behind the unique businesses in Central Queensland and share their stories.
At the Littleboy workshop, the candles are made from soy wax which is an all-natural base.
All candles are handmade, and each candle hand poured.
He started out on a kitchen bench, and Mr Anselme now has a workshop in his downstairs garage.
First the container is prepared with stickers and the wick is inserted.
Soy wax flakes are poured into a professional pot where they are melted.
This melted wax is then poured into a jug and the scent is added and mixed in.
The fragrances are constantly mixed up to provide new options but they include coconut lime, lychee peony sea salt and sage, and bamboo white lily. A new line is a sweet tobacco smell.
The candles are then left to set.
Mr Anselme likes to cure the Littleboy candles for three days.
He said this was where the process could become tricky, because the ambient temperature of the hot, humid CQ weather could play havoc with setting.
“With temperature variation, going hot, cold, hot, cold, we are suffering making them at the moment,’’ he said.
It was also important to get the temperature just right to achieve the “perfect smooth glass top” on the candles, he said.
Over the years, the selftaught “chandler” has learnt the tricks of the trade.
The business started in 2014. Mrs Anselme had always been interested in candles and her husband began thinking about how he could make his own.
Away for work for eight months, Mr Anselme was home every fortnight or so for only a couple of days.
In his downtime while he was away, he began researching how he could do it.
After test batches and many “flops”, he found his way and the couple started to give the candles to friends as presents.
Soon after, friends were requesting to buy them and the couple slowly started developing the business.
From small beginnings, they started to do market stalls every week.
“If there was a market on, we were doing it,” he said.
From there, the customer base started to grow and the momentum started gaining.
They opened a website for online orders and eventually the business began to take care of itself.
The candles are stocked at businesses in Rockhampton and Yeppoon, and gift lines vary throughout the year.
Littleboy is at a point where it does not have to go to as many markets this year, having attended only big events such as the Rockhampton River Festival.
“At Christmas last year we doubled sales from the year before and so far we are on track for this year,” Mr Anselme said.
What sets the candles and products apart from others on the market is their quality.
Each candle is individually created with love and care.
Mr Anselme said the strong scent was also a selling point.
Coming from such a “industrial” background, Mr Anselme said candle making was not something he imagined he would be doing five years ago.
Many other workers at the railway workshop were also exArmy and Mr Anselme said: “I copped a bit of a stick at the start.”
He said shift work and making candles at home were two “completely different worlds”.
“The only thing is patience .... one little thing can make a difference... you have to modify with changes,” he said.
Mrs Anselme said there was a creative streak in the family, with she and the girls able to draw and create craft work.
She said Mr Anselme used to paint figures as well, do dioramas and be quite hands-on.
“It wasn’t unnatural evolving into something else,” she said.
The family has big plans for Littleboy.
The business’s mantra is to keep evolving.
That is offering new scents, containers, styles and lines while maintaining quality.
The Anselmes want to expand into essential oils and herbal candles using scents such as rosemary and thyme but it could be expensive.
Products would always be handmade, Mr Anselme said, adding machines were not an option.
He said he would love to see the business grow so big it would have to employ people to make the candles.
In the meantime, the Anselmes are anticipating their busiest time of the year as Christmas approaches and end-of-school presents are sought for teachers.
SWEET SCENT: Roland Anselme of Littleboy, pouring the scent into the melted wax.
Measuring the fragrance.