Belinda Clayton of Sanjula explains her creative point of difference.
Artisan candles are big business. Entrepreneurial Australian candlemakers are thriving and have successfully led these covetable home decor items to become a leading cottage industry and retail sector.
In an era where handcrafted candle brands have evolved as an essential element of any household and are now considered de rigueur, it is increasingly imperative for candle manufacturers to hold a premium point of difference, a lesson learnt early on by Belinda Clayton, head designer of Sanjula.
Distributed by AGHA Wholesaler Member Francalia, Sanjula offers a range of aromatic products which draw upon luxury Indian design and branding. It was Clayton’s signature candles that became Sanjula’s most popular offering, standing out from the ayurvedic massage oils, hand-rolled incense and essential oil infused hand creams.
"In a futile search for the perfect candle for Sanjula, we decided to embark on our own candle-making," Clayton told the AGHA.
"Sanjula blends are all a combination of fragrances with touches of essential oils. Very rarely do we take a straight fragrance – it has to be absolutely incredible. We like to make blends that nobody else uses and believe that Sanjula sets itself apart because of this,” she said.
"As anyone in the industry would know – candle making is a very difficult science of endless product development. I have a Ph.D. but one in chemistry would have been better!"
Clayton exhibited the Sydney-based company at the AGHA Melbourne Gift Fair in August to boost its brand awareness and expand customer reach, which is predominantly locked into the New South Wales market.
"Exhibiting at the AGHA Melbourne Gift Fair seemed like a logical decision and certainly gave us the exposure we were looking for. We subsequently formed many new exciting relationships with stockists and retailers," Clayton explained.
"We felt that the AGHA Melbourne Gift Fair was an excellent opportunity to intuit what was not being done. In other words, not only did we receive great customer contacts, but we also came away with a sense of what Sanjula needed to do moving forward, in order to continue creating beautiful products."
Sanjula’s newest range, the Conical glass vase series, was also launched to buyers for the first time ever during the AGHA Melbourne Gift Fair. The exceptionally large, handmade glass candles make a statement and come beautifully gift-boxed with a stylish ribbon.
Each detail of these “very large pieces of art” is a labour of love and the candle's key features include meticulously hand-poured soy wax, hand-blended fragrance, and hand-made vessels.
"We felt that the AGHA Gift Fair was an excellent opportunity to release this Conical glass vase series and we were extremely happy about the way they were received and the number of orders placed," Clayton said.
"We had a great position with adequate aisle space, which allowed the customers to meander at a leisurely pace, and therefore they were more likely to stop and take note of the stands they passed by."
The next big business move for Sanjula is to try something different, in the form of a fragrance dispersing product and a range of scented liquid hand soaps with velvety and moisturising properties.
"We were very happy with the result of Sanjula’s presence at the AGHA Melbourne Gift Fair. The hard work (and that it is!), is paying off for us now as we continue to produce and supply our customers with new products.