Wax / Wine – Meet the Maker

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Wax Wine candle with wooden wick burning

With a faint crackle of a burning wooden wick, and the delicate aroma of patchouli and lavender drifting over my keyboard, today I am meeting the founder of Wax / Wine, Magali Bellego.

Within her business, Magali has an extra element that makes her products sustainable so I was thrilled to be invited to try them out. What is it that makes them different? They are all based on what can be created using an old wine bottle. Inspired by her time working in hospitality, Magali noticed a huge amount of wine bottles going to waste and put her mind to doing something about it.

Before I meet her, I have the pleasure of trying out two of her products*. The patchouli and lavender candle made with coconut and rapeseed wax, and an unscented taper candle that comes with a bottle top holder. Both candles are 100% plant based, producing a cleaner burn. 

The scented candle is a great size (220g) which equates to around 55 hours of burning time. Nicely presented in the bottom half of a used wine bottle it would make a fabulous gift. Both this candle and the wine bottle top holder are well smoothed well leaving no nasty sharp edges that might present a hazard. They arrived in 100% recyclable packing too, carefully wrapped in a mix of brown cardboard and paper. There are six fragrances within the Wax / Wine candle range, each housed within its unique half bottle.

You can find these and other products, including lamps, on the Wax / Wine website below. First though, let me introduce you to Magali.

Magali Bellego founder of Wax Wine

Hello Magali, and welcome to Cup of Toast. Thank you for joining me today.

Were here to talk about your business, Wax / Wine, but before we do, can you tell me a little about yourself?

Hello! I moved to London from Mexico 17 years ago to study Visual Communications and I ended up working in hospitality because of its flexible working hours. I have always enjoyed making stuff and reusing materials or things that we have already got at home. Let’s say that I will always choose second hand before purchasing something new.

How did working in hospitality influence your decision to set up Wax / Wine?

After spending over a decade working in various bars and restaurants I became fascinated with the industry, and concerned about the bigger environmental issues around the waste created in there.  I decided to take it upon myself to create high quality, sustainable and beautiful products out of excess materials. And thus, Wax / Wine was born, contributing to the circular economy and minimising waste. 

What was it about repurposing wine bottles that particularly appealed?

For a while I had noticed how beautiful and funky the labels in natural wine bottles were and it felt such a shame to put the artwork in the bin. I knew some bars used the empty wine bottles to decorate their walls and some people also kept the empty bottles at home as trophies or mementos of a precious moment shared with someone.

Repurposing these bottles into candles and other products not only created a functional thing out of literally rubbish and reducing waste at the same time, but it also inspires people to keep on reusing what already exists out there.

The environmental impact of your business is at the heart of what you do. Why this is so important to you?

They say: “Practice what you preach” so I preach what I practice! I don’t believe in a disposable culture where things are manufactured cheaply but at a high price for the planet and for those who make them.

Your candles are proudly made with natural ingredients, which includes plant based wax. How did you go about sourcing the various component parts to ensure that the end product fits with your ethos?

I researched the market to source as local  as possible or at least from suppliers who were transparent about their sourcing. For plant waxes, one of the most serious negative impacts is the destruction of rainforests, so the supplier I source from makes sure that all their plant waxes are sourced responsibly to avoid deforestation. The wax I use is made from rapeseed and coconut oil. The rapeseed oil is harvested in Europe whilst most of the coconut used comes from small-hold farmers in the Philippines or Indonesia.  There is no forest removal in order to plant new coconut trees and all farming contacts are closely monitored in that regard.

Can you explain a little more about the benefits of having a plant based wax candle?

When you burn paraffin candles, you will be inhaling everything that comes off of them. This can sometimes include more poisonous chemicals, such as benzene and tetra-decane. A plant based wax will burn much cleaner and won’t include these harmful by-products.

Not only are there many positive health effects that come with choosing a plant-based wax candle, but there are also some more material benefits. For example, soy wax, or Coconut and Rapeseed Wax, which our candles here at Wax / Wine are made from, burn slower than their alternatives.  

On your website, you talk about being inspired by biodynamic practices and the lunar cycle. How did this become a particular interest, and what do you do to incorporate it into your business model?

Wax / Wine’s name is a play on words on the waxing and waning of the moon. I named it as such because the cyclical nature of my business – collecting and repurposing the empty bottles from bars, and turning them into something new and full. There is a strong association of spiritual rebuilding connected to the waxing and waning of the moon, moving forward with your goals as the moon waxes, and removing negative toxicity from your life as it wanes.  Each full moon, when the powers of nature are at their peak and the unconscious mind is open to subtle influence, I complete a candle ritual, and encourage those who buy candles to do the same, so one can align themselves with natural magic through positive affirmations. The biodynamic practice of winemaking works alongside the lunar calendar too, mirroring the waxing and waning of the moon – a spiritual-ethical-ecological approach to agriculture, which is a recurring theme of Wax / Wine as a business model.

You have branched out further to include additional lines such as lamps, jars and glasses. Do you have any other ideas in mind that you would love to include in the Wax / Wine shop?

Yes, pendant lights are coming this Autumn!

Sounds great! What else is on the agenda for Wax / Wine?

I want to do more of the Candle Making Workshops I have started recently.

And finally, is there anything else that you would like to share?

Reuse, Refill, Repeat 🙂

If you would like to know more about Magali and her business, Wax / Wine, please visit her website.

Wax Wine candles

*N.B. I have received two candles in exchange for this post. All views however are entirely my own, and it has been my pleasure to introduce you to Wax / Wine today. For more information about how I work with others, please visit my disclosure page.

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