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Iggy Box Reveal | August Maker

Welcome to your August box ‘May your dreams be full of sun, sand and coconuts…’

Meet your August maker

Our featured maker Megan started Sandwick Bay candles from the kitchen table at her home on the Isle of Lewis in Northern Scotland back in 2016 and has since expanded to a workshop and retail space overlooking the bay and local harbour!

Having moved from New Zealand after falling in love on a backpacking trip, Megan has found her business a great distraction from being thousands of miles away from home. Many of the fragrances used in the vegan collection are inspired by an upbringing there & in Australia, as well as her travels.

Wicks inside my box

This month we present to you ‘Seagrass’, coconut water & oakmoss. Housed in a clean white matt vessel, hand poured using 100% soy wax and cotton wick.

The candle

This month’s candle a rejuvenating fresh scent inspired by life in the Outer Hebrides. Clean notes of coconut water, seagrass and oakmoss. That faintly floral marine fragrance transporting you to beautiful beaches around on the Isle of Lewis.

Float away on driftwood with the contrasting deeper earthy oakmoss notes. This Summer scent will truly let you escape, imagine the sea breeze flowing over you and the sand between your toes…

The Wax Facts

The Little One | 200ml | 30 hr burn time | RRP £22

The Bigger One | 300ml | 45 hr burn time | RRP £29

Little Something Extra

This month’s little something extra will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth! Enjoy a selection of fizzy cola bottles and love hearts from a proud, family run business.

A passion for sweets runs in the family, with grandparents owning sweet shops in the past. Sugar Coated is your one stop shop for all your sweet gifts.

From pick and mix to themed selections, their letter box sweets have all your needs covered. They think every celebration or occasion is made better when it’s SugarCoated!

It’s time to meet your maker

How long has your brand been going/ is it full time or do you do other things?

Sandwick Bay Candles started in 2016 from my kitchen table. It began as a side hustle as I was home with my youngest child of 3, Samuel, on break from a busy career as an Occupational Therapist.

During that leave, my candlemaking became more regular and the business grew gradually. I went full time 3 years ago and at the same time moved into a small workshop. I would work from home when I had the time and nipped up to pour in my evenings.

During the lockdown our website became more and more popular as people sent candle gifts across the country to let their loved ones know they were thinking of them. It was a privillege to be able to help people feel connected in such a difficult time.

Undoubtably the businesses during that period helped us level up to the stage and we started stocking other businesses within our giftboxes. Last year, we opened our lifestyle shop – Sandwick Bay Living – on our highstreet. Sandwick Bay Living has all our home fragrance as well as stocking lots of fabulous small and local businesses. Splitting my time between working in the back office in the shop, the workshop and childcare has been busy, but it has been incredible to see the business grow.

Where in the UK are you based and what space do you use for your ‘workshop’?

We are based in Stornoway in the Isle of Lewis, in the wild and wonderful Outer Hebrides. A kiwi originally, I moved here when I fell in love with a Scottish man over 13 years ago when backpacking Scotland. The rest is history!

In the past month, we have just recently moved into a larger workshop unit just a short walk from our shop. We are excited to have a new space that allows us to be more creative and organised than ever.

What inspired you to start making candles? Do you have a passion that has been embedded in your brand?

Funnily enough, there was a candle making kit I was given as a gift sitting unused in my wardrobe for a few years. I was finally inspired to give candle making a try when my sister gave me a beautiful soy wax candle for Christmas in 2015. It was a beautiful, elegant scent from Australia, and I thought I’d like to make something similar.

I have always liked baking and making things but found the idea of selling people cakes stressful without knowing how it would taste.

I made my first few candles as ‘thank you’ presents for teachers and then for Christmas presents. The initial feedback was great, and as I continued to make the candles it was a gradual process learning how to perfect all the stages of pouring, fragrance mixing and finishes. That winter there was lots of nights I spent sat up on my phone researching while feeding my youngest.

At the time, there certainly felt there was a gap in the market for some artisanal candles on the island. Quickly the candles became a popular gifting option or treat for themselves. I have always loved the idea in our hectic lives of our customers taking time to relax by lighting a Sandwick Bay Candle.

Although they continue to be handmade at every stage, I had always sought out an elevated look and feel in their packaging and scent even from the first batches of candles.

I found that candle making was also a great distraction from homesickness being thousands of miles away from home. Many of our fragrances are inspired by my mixed upbringing in New Zealand & Australia – as well as my travels with tropical ingredients like guava and frangipani.

I believe ‘things happen for a reason’ and it’s a mixture of hard work, serendipity and amazing support from our community that has gotten SBC to where it is today.

What do you love about our featured scent?

We are so excited to share our beautiful Seagrass scent with the lovely Iggy boxers.

I absolutely love the water and go wild swimming whenever I get the chance! The invigorating feeling of a cold dip is unbeatable. Distinctly Hebridean with a touch of Kiwi, this Seagrass scent is the perfect introduction to me and Sandwick Bay Candles.

There are so many scents you can choose to make…How do you go about choosing for your collection?

Being so inspired by island life, lots of scents take inspiration from nature and we tend to gravitate towards fresh & often fruity scents. We release seasonal summer & winter collections as well as our signature fragrances.

What has been your proudest moment since starting out?

There have been so many highs and lows in the small business journey, but a huge boost of confidence was being chosen as one of Theo Paphitis #SBS winners in April 2019. At Monday night at 8pm the winners are chosen. I was upstairs in the loft making candles and went down to get my phone. I noticed all the tweets coming in and had a feeling straight away that I had been chosen. The words that came out of mouth shocked the lovely Emma who was upstairs helping me. Congratulations were coming in from all over the UK and we were jumping about the workshop. I’m not sure how the kids slept through it!

Through #SBS I was then chosen as one of the small businesses to win a free stand at the Autumn Fair in Birmingham. I had never had the confidence to sign up to a trade show before and now I was heading to one of the biggest in the UK. With an estimated 20,000 visitors it was a whirlwind introduction to the world of wholesale! From the fair, I met lots of inspiring small businesses and good people that I still work with today. It’s open to any small business and I would really recommend applying as well as seeking out all kinds of opportunities to expand your network and boost your confidence.

Do you have a fun fact or anecdote about your brand?

The name of Sandwick Bay Candles comes of course from Sandwick Bay in Lewis, which is visible from my kitchen window. I used to look out to the bay when pouring my first batches of candles in the kitchen, so the name came to me.

There is quite a few Sandwick Bays, including one in Orkney!

Do you have any specific ambitions or goals for Sandwick Bay Candles?

 I’m an ambitious director but I would never say never to anything. At the beginning of candlemaking I always said I never wanted a shop and now we have had a retail space on the high street, I absolutely love it. It’s great to have the space to get to know regular customers, welcome tourists to the Hebrides and we also have a great coffee machine.

In the next few years, we’d love to get the word out and reach out to more potential stockists across the country, keep our loyal customers happy and continue to support my team. And of course, bring out new products to bring joy and calm in your homes.

Do you have any charitable or environmental partnerships we should know about to share?

I think charity starts at home and we always try to do our best to support local causes. We have two raffles with Bethesda Hospice and raised a total of £90,000 in two raffles. The results were just amazing and a testament to the generosity of islanders and local businesses.

We love partnering with charities to creating bespoke candles, namely Christmas collaborations with TheirWorld and Autism Eilean Siar.

Is there anything that you believe makes your brand different or stand out?

Our island-life fragrances create an unforgettable souvenir or brings a sense of the Outer Hebrides from afar. Having that kiwi touch in the Western Isles makes us stand out from a lot of other great local candlemakers in our packaging, fragrances, and personality!

We have always tried to build our business while being kind to the environment and we love our in-store refill station filled with eco-friendly refillable handwash & household products with our signature scents. The response has been incredible and we are delighted to provide a green alternative for those in Stornoway and further afar.

I know I’m biased but our team is just amazing! We have built the team slowly and everyone has found a place they shine whether they are on the shop floor, in the workshop or the office.

We hope we make our customers feel appreciated as their support has been amazing over the years and we are always excited to invite new people to the SBC club!

Are there any plans for new products or news over the next few months?

We made our first sets of elegant, ridged pillar candles for one of our team member’s weddings. The result was just beautiful. We have recently finalised the packaging and will have the sets available to purchase in-store and online very soon.

We have a popular candle subscription service and have just released a tealight service alongside our new revamped boxes, which is a letterbox friendly and compact way to enjoy the month’s fragrance.

Can’t reveal all, but we have got some VERY exciting products in development for our popular Christmas range as well as the return of the best-loved fragrances. Watch this space!

Feel free to add any other information you would like us to share with our subscribers…

We really hope you love the fragrance and that it allows you a moment of escape & calm in this busy world, as well as inspiring you to see our beautiful island for yourself.

If you ever get the chance to visit us on the isle of Lewis, come visit us in our shop! We are Sandwick Bay Living just opposite the ferry terminal. Come say hi, grab a coffee and see our full range of candles inspired by island life.

So there you have it Augusts box revealed! Let our final summer candle take you on a wild marine journey with some sweet treats for company… Happy burning Iggy boxers!