After more than a decade living and working overseas in Hong Kong and Iceland, James and Jo Long returned to the UK in 2019 with the spark of an idea to set up their own business in beautiful West Cumbria.
That spark was born on an earlier trip to Keswick and the Lake District the previous year when the couple were planning their move back. Looking for a thank you souvenir for James’s mum back in Iceland, who had been looking after their beloved Hong Kong rescue dogs, Bella and Custer, they had drawn a blank. Historically, candles were their go-to gift of choice for Mrs Long (who loves a candle), but finding something that was good quality, a reasonable price, made in Cumbria and indicative of the area proved a difficult task!
Cumbria in a Candle
Soon after landing in the UK in 2019 the couple established Lakeland Lights Company with a shared goal to create luxury scented soy candles inspired by some of their favourite locations in Cumbria. The company started with just three scents - Buttermere Heather, Whinlatter Forest and Honister Slate - based on the places James and Jo had visited on their initial trip. Having settled in West Cumbria, their St Bees and Wasdale candles soon followed and the brand was born.
Their main range of delectable Cumbrian scents now consists of eleven candles and wax melts, and they have big plans for even more scents in the future.
The Inspiration Behind the Scents
Each candle has its own unique story and a scent that reflects it. For example, the St Bees Tidal candle is inspired by walking the dogs on St Bees beach, which for James and Jo meant a zingy ocean-fresh scent. The Ennerdale Views candle was chosen by the staff of and visitors to The Gather, a community-owned café and shop in Ennerdale Bridge, while Wasdale Sunset was influenced by an amazing photography workshop James attended by Wastwater at, you guessed it, sunset! And so the stories go on...
From Kitchen to Workshop
Having started pouring candles in their West Cumbrian kitchen, things soon got out of hand, forcing the fledgling company to move into their Cleator Moor workshop. Here the husband and wife team handpour, label and package every candle onsite using high quality fragrance oils and 100% soy wax.
They hold themselves up to high standards for the environment, too, advocating the use of reusable, recycled, recyclable and biodegradable materials in everything that gets sent out of their workshop door. They strive to produce a high-quality product that they would want to buy themselves and take pride in the attention to detail.
Lake District Magic in a Jar
The couple are extremely proud to have produced something that combines their love of candles and their passion for Cumbria. They feel very fortunate that the people of West Cumbria and visitors alike have taken their candles and wax melts to their hearts. The aim was to evoke some of the magic of the Lake District in a jar and we think they’ve done a fine job!
And what about James’ mum? Well, she now has a good stock of Cumbrian candles, and particularly loves the Whitehaven Harbour scent!
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This is a guest blog written by Jo and James from Lakeland Lights Company. You can visit their website to shop online or find their candles on sale across Cumbria.