More to mak­ing can­dles than just pour­ing the wax

The Morning Bulletin - - HOME GROWN - VANESSA JARRETT Vanessa.Jarrett@cap­news.com.au If you have a story for the Home Grown se­ries, please email vanessa.jarrett@cap news.com.au

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.

Photo: Al­lan Reinikka ROK091118a­can­dle3

SWEET SCENT: Roland Anselme of Lit­tle­boy, pour­ing the scent into the melted wax.

Photo: Al­lan Reinikka ROK091118a­can­dle1

Mea­sur­ing the fra­grance.

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