Wick & Tallow | Running A Family Business

Posted on February 17, 2016 by Alice Malcolm Green

Wick & Tallow, which is owned and run by my husband, James, his twin brother Tom, and I began around 5 years ago at Portobello Market, when I started making candles from the flat that we all shared in London.




The candle making would happen in the kitchen, Tom and James didn't tend to mind too much, the only low point was when the oven was perfumed with English rose.


I would then hand wrap the candles with cellophane and ribbon and sell them on Saturday, bright and early from the market stall. The candles began to get quite a following, with visitors from all over London coming down especially to buy them.


As the market stall got busier, it soon was becoming too much for me to handle on my own, so one night over dinner at home, James, Tom and I started discussing joining forces to create a luxury home fragrance company.


With James' product design background from Central St Martins, Toms' interest in business and brand building and my scent and interiors knowledge, the three of us set to work on creating our company.


The first outing was a day trip to every candle department store in London to see what was already on the market and also to look at the various scents, quality and packaging.


We quickly realised we wanted to create something different, a brand that appealed to both men and women. Also one that celebrated colour, and good old fashioned candle making. After a lots of research and ideas being thrown around we decided on the name Wick & Tallow. James got set to work on branding and we all loved the idea of using wax seals and cylindrical packaging.


Our first collection took us 18 months to create. This was due to attention to detail and not wanting to compromise on quality, whilst we also fitted in our day jobs! We designed 8 unique fragrances that covered the whole scent wheel. In order to get the scents exactly right, I would carry around scent samples in my handbag and ask friends and family's opinions.


For packaging, James spent hours at his computer designing concepts. We went through lots of prototypes and it seemed sometimes that the smallest detail would take the longest time and most effort to get right!


Tom was in charge of setting up the company, website development and meetings with different suppliers.




In November 2013 we were finally ready to launch our first collection. It was such an excitement for all 3 of us when we were able to click live on our website. 


In 2014 we added the Floral Collection to our range and in 2015 we introduced reed diffusers to our Bold Collection.


We love working together and each of us play to our strengths. Running a family business isn't always easy, but what is fantastic is being able to be completely honest with each other. We are all so incredibly passionate about our business, so we can't agree on everything all of the time, but we have learnt to compromise. We are so excited about the direction of our brand, all the important milestones we have already achieved and working with the fantastic Redwing PR to build our profile.


We have been incredibly lucky to have such supportive families, friends and customers who have really helped us grow our business. We have lot of exciting projects this year, in particular working with a whole host of other luxury brands to create their own candles as well as focusing on new product launches for ourselves. Watch this space for all our exciting news and announcements!



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