The candle market is a competitive one. At Decor + Design, we’ve test-driven our fair share. From Goop’s slightly ridiculous slogan candles to the cult brand Diptyque and more, a posh candle has become the cashmere comfort blanket of 2020.

Yet hands-down the most sumptuous, life-enhancing candle we’ve experienced is the Vesuvius from Melbourne-based brand Apsley and Company. Also known for their exquisite home fragrances, their luxury candles may just be the panacea to lockdown woes.

The Vesuvius candle

The story of a fragrant love affair

Apsley and Company’s inspirational love affair with fragrance has been cemented over twenty-five years. Established in 1995, the company’s initial focus was the creation, development and distribution of prestige body care and home fragrance products for the Australian gift market.

In 2005, Apsley moved into home fragrance production, becoming the first company to introduce fragrance diffusers into the Australian market. The success at home opened the door to international demand. Apsley and Company now supply more than 200 home fragrance products to over 20 countries. Their three major brands are Apsley and Company, Scented Space and Abode Aroma, each a unique offering.

The eponymous collection Apsley & Company is the ultimate in luxury and opulence. Developed by a cadre of talented European perfumers and encased in exquisite artisan glassware, each striking candle and diffuser is designed with uncompromising attention to detail.

The Abode Aroma brand is a more affordable indulgence. The Totem range of aromatic diffusers and soy wax candles exudes fun and a contemporary aesthetic, with great use of colour and geometric design. The Crystal range is an avant-garde, art-deco inspired collection featuring hand-cut bevelled lead crystal in its diffuser and candle range. The empty vessels can be reimagined into lasting home ornaments.

Scented Space is lustrous and refined, making fragrance a focus of the home. Each Scented Space candle and diffuser exudes charming femininity and unrivalled elegance via complex yet comforting fragrance blends, designed to be the signature scent in your home.

Santorini Candles from the Apsley and Company range

Apsley and Company will be showcasing the latest products from their luxury range at the virtual Decor + Design 360 exhibition, September 28 – October 2.  In the lead up to the event, we asked co-founder and CEO Helen Armstrong to tell us how their global business has been successfully weathering the stormy 2020 conditions.

It’s been a challenging year for everybody, what has 2020 been like for you?

2020 has certainly been a year of challenges. The challenges began for us when our factory was unable to reopen after Chinese New Year due to the COVID issues in China. In addition, our glass factory also had to change work procedures to meet government requirements which slowed production enormously resulting in delays of up to 6 months on some lines. This meant we had delayed shipments to both the Australian and international markets. As the virus spread, international customers begin cancelling orders.  This had significant impact on our cash flow and stock holdings, as we had already purchased raw materials.  This coincided with our factory reopening.   As level three restrictions were introduced into Australia, we found many of our domestic customers shut their doors. We were very concerned.  The government support programs that were introduced were a godsend.  Until this time, we had a very small online business, and suddenly, we found we were overwhelmed with web orders and without the infrastructure to supply.  What a steep learning curve!  At the same time, our business in the Luxury lifestyle stores in the Netherlands grew enormously and we were shipping weekly by DHL to meet the demand.  Our entire business has been tipped on its head. Areas of the business that we expected to be slow, have been very busy and vice versa. We have continued with our product development programs but found it quite difficult due to the delay in getting samples as a consequence of delayed FedEx shipments, and restrictions on travel to work on new projects.

Kalingrad candles from the Aspley and Company luxury range

The theme of the International Seminar Series at Decor and Design is the ‘interconnected world of design’ How do you currently connect with both clients and suppliers around the world?

We are fortunate to live in a world where technology can solve lots of problems. Between zoom, WeChat, Instagram messaging, phone calls and emails on a daily basis, it’s been easy to connect with both our customers and our suppliers.  As we are very familiar with dealing in a multitude of different time zones with our partners, we haven’t really noticed much of a difference.  We have very long-term relationships with all parties, so that’s also been very helpful. Without those long-term relationships it would make the current situation almost impossible.

Why are interiors and the home industry more important than ever right now?

Never has it seemed more important than now to have a living space that feels safe and comforting and creates an atmosphere where you feel less tense and anxious.

Having a calm and relaxing space does so much for our sense of wellbeing.  When we all suddenly find ourselves isolated and less connected than we would like to be, our surrounds are so critical in making us feel safe and free from stress, and a little bit in control.   Candles have always been acknowledged as helping add a sense of calm and peace during troubled times.  For many, lighting a candle, is a ritual that acts as a sign to escape from the craziness of dark times and a busy life, or sets the mood to get into a peaceful state.

Apsley and company will be a virtual exhibitor at Decor and Design 360.  What can visitors expect to see from you?

Apsley and Company luxury range

We are very excited to be a virtual exhibitor at this year’s show! It will give us the opportunity to show how beautiful a candle or a diffuser can be. It’s not only a decorative accent, it can add an exquisite fragrance and add another sensory, luxury element to the mix.  For us, beautiful interiors can be made even more special, by adding a signature scent. Whether it’s a candle, a diffuser or a room mist, each element can be used to add additional atmosphere and ambiance, to a beautiful space. In addition, each piece of our artisan mouth-blown glassware is one of a kind, so they are very special. Clustered in groups, or as accent presented with a collection of other treasured objects, they make a stunning statement.  Conscious of minimising waste, there are refills for the diffusers and the beautiful candle glass can be repurposed as a vase or planter.

Ready to optimise your life? Visit Apsley and Company’s website here.

Design and retail trade visitors can register here to visit the virtual Decor + Design 360 exhibition, where Apsley and Company will be showcasing the latest products from their luxury range.