Introducing Etikette Candles, local makers of candles that inspire the sharing of stories of Australian landscapes through the power of scent and memory, and an exciting and welcome addition to Life Instyle's The Neighbourhood: Great Southern Land feature for Life Instyle Sydney 2021!

Life Instyle sat down with Ella Walker, one half of founding sister duo, Ella & Georgia Walker, to discuss what makes Etikette Candles special and unique.

Tell us a bit about the story behind your brand; inspiration, the meaning behind your scents and designs, brand mission etc:

Etikette Candles are sharing stories of the Australian landscape through the power of scent and memory. Our pure soy wax candles are lovingly hand poured in the beautiful Adelaide Hills, handcrafted with fragrances that link your heart and your home through a sense of place. We feel deeply connected to the rugged beauty of the Australian landscape, especially through the power that our sense of smell has and its ability to transport us back to a time and a place in an instant. We create fragrances to recall fond memories of beloved locations across Australia. We honour a gentle existence, where quality, purpose and sustainability are paramount. Our simple, minimal products are mindfully designed to suit all interiors to provide moments of connectedness and calm.


What sets your brand apart from other candle companies?

At the heart of Etikette Candles we draw on the direct link between scent and memory and how powerful our sense of smell is, especially when recalling memories from the past. My first ever memory is of the smell of clovers underneath our washing line and I’ve always been aware of how scents and fragrances form such vivid part of my childhood memories. Our candles have the power to reconnect people with their memories and honour the heartfelt connection that nostalgia ignites.

As far as we know, Etikette Candles is the only candle company operating with an integrated recycling program in which we buy back previously used Etikette Candles glassware and recycle it back into production. We also love seeing our glassware repurposed and encourage everyone to consider a future use. Our signature amber glassware is particularly good for plant propagation as it keeps the water free from algae for longer and we love knowing our glassware can have such a purposeful afterlife. 

This year we launched a masterclass series of candle making workshops and have so far trained over 120 new ‘chandlers’ in the art of fragrance blending and how to hand pour natural soy wax candles. It’s been an incredible opportunity to meet with other fragrance enthusiasts and encourage their own skills in a craft that is equal parts science and creativity.


What were the first steps you took to launch? And what would you say was the scariest part/your biggest fear?

Etikette Candles has grown from a small passion project in my laundry to a blossoming and much loved brand stocked in over 200 stores across Australia. We have grown very organically, humbled by the support for our brand at every turn. From small beginnings with a trestle table stall at local markets, we now work from a purpose built studio in the Adelaide Hills, surrounded by gum trees and rolling hills with a growing team of incredible makers who help up to hand pour almost 3000 candles each and every week.

In the first few days that COVID became a reality we sat down and had a very scary “what next” conversation and braced ourselves for the worst.  Thankfully and so gratefully our home fragrances have been able to provide moments of calm and joy in peoples homes throughout this strange year and we feel eternally grateful to be able to keep doing what we love.


What sparked the idea to start the business together?

To be honest, I haven’t ever imagined running the business without Georgia, we work so well together and have such similar values and vision for what Etikette means to both of us. Its been just over a year since Georgia came on board full-time and we’re loving the process of growing and learning the business together. We grew up in a very creative household, our Dad is a surfboard maker and furniture designer and our Mum is a visual artist, so we approach Etikette Candles from a creative place first and foremost. We both had careers in communications and PR before jumping head-first into the world of wax and those skills are definitely a huge part of our business approach.


Why does Australia play such an important part of your brand story, from being Australian made to producing scents that represent Australian locations?

Georgia and I were both born in Southern Tasmania and lived there for most of our childhoods. If you’ve been fortunate enough to go there you’ll know the incredible power of Tassie’s wilderness. It’s rugged and wild, unexpected and sometimes even a little intimidating, but it also invites you to connect with the environment more than any other place I’ve ever been. My childhood memories are defined by the smells of the bush, damp dirt roads, big rain and ocean spray, of kelp drying on the beach, smokey campfires, straw in the chook shed and picking blackberries in the sun. They are treasured and nostalgic smells that take me back to a time and a place in an instant, where memories of my favourite place come to life again. Our sense of smell gifts us an incredible passage to travel back in time to the places we hold dear and for us there’s magic in the power of the Australian landscape and how those smells become such an important part of our memories and identity. 

Why is it important to use natural and renewable resources in your ingredients and to have a fully integrated recycling program?

When we started putting down on paper the things that were most important to us we knew that we wanted to work exclusively with sustainable resources and partner with local suppliers. We choose to work with 100% pure golden soy wax because it’s a biodegradable, non-toxic and a renewable resource. Soy wax also provides a longer burn time than alternate waxes and produces an even scent throw. Being able to source all of our materials locally has connected us with a true family of supporters and we love knowing that our business is part of their success too. Supporting Australian made products and businesses has never felt so important.


What do you think your customers love about your brand/product?

The emotional connection people have to our brand and products is really moving. Our location namesake candles offer an immediate sense of nostalgia and connection, which people truly value. We often hear stories from our customers about their experiences “growing up in Clare” (one of our beloved candle fragrances in sweet neroli and basil) or road-trips to the Mornington Peninsula (another of our scents in poet’s jasmine and wild peony) and I think that ability to bring those memories to life through scents and home rituals is so meaningful and a joyful experience. We recently heard a really beautiful story about sisters who went backpacking for a year and they each packed a Eyre candle to take on the journey because it reminded them so much of home.


What are your personal favourite products in your collection, and why?

 For me, I love our Otways candle in Bush Botanicals, it smells just like a bushwalk after the rain has fallen and it reminds me of childhood adventures exploring winding bush tracks in Tassie.


What path lead you Life in Style and what is it about the show that makes it a great fit for you?

Sydney 2020 year was our first foray into Life In Style and it was such an incredible opportunity to showcase our brand. The energy at the show is so inspiring and it was an absolute delight to be surrounded by other designers and makers forging a path in creative retail. We can’t wait to be back.


Who are some of the other brands at Life In Style who you love/admire?

Hello Middle Child, beautiful handmade jewellery designs created by the loveliest, most genuine makers based in Geelong. Bright Threads, our favourite Barossa Valley designer who’s bright and popping linen tablecloths bring so much joy and Zakkia who we were fortunate enough to neighbour with at LIS in Sydney last year with an exceptional eye for timeless homewares.

Can you share one of your proudest moments in business so far?

Opening the door to our purpose built studio in July was a dream, all our imagining and planning coming to life in that moment was such a thrill, and since then growing from a team of 2 to a team of 11 has been a very proud (and pinch me) achievement.


What is the best piece of business advice you have been given?

That while looking to the future is really important, equally so is stopping and being fully present in where you are right now. It’s a wonderful reminder in how to be present, grateful and connected.


What exciting things are on the horizon for 2021 and beyond?

2020 has been a year of collaboration for us and we’ve made some amazing connections with like-minded brands and social enterprises who we’re partnering with in 2021 on some really exciting projects.


When you’re not busy with the business, what’s uyour ideal way to unwind and give yourself a bit of self-care?

Self-care for us is time in nature, a bushwalk or a camping trip, a blast of fresh air and salt water or a night under the stars someplace new.


Favourite podcast?
How I Built This with Guy Raz

Guilty pleasure?
A winery stop and a cheese plate (spoilt for choice here in the Adelaide Hills)

Bucket list holiday destination?
Driving a big old Bedford bus around Australia for a year

Last book you read?
This One Wild and Precious Life by Sarah Wilson

You can meet Ella and Georgia and experience Etikette Candles in person at The Neighbourhood: Great Southern Land at Life Instyle Sydney, 20-23 February 2021 at the ICC Sydney in Darling Harbour.