Did You Know That Cellophane Is Biodegradable?

 

I didn’t.  I’ve always just assumed that cellophane was just a type of plastic.  Unlike in the UK and some other countries where cellophane is trademarked, here in Canada, cellophane has become a genericized term that is often used to refer to plastic film products not made from cellulose, like plastic (cling) wrap.

Thanks to a wonderful gentleman who owns an incense distribution company in Australia, I discovered that cellophane is made from plant cellulose, and is completely biodegradable.  Cellophane has additional benefits, which you can see in the picture below.

Loose Incense Repack a Plastic bag on the left, cellophane bag on the right.  The cellophane bag has a crystal clear finish that enhances the aesthetic of the product.

So why am I talking about cellophane?  Well, I’m very proud that I have produced a full line of products that are all natural, and that the herbs, resins, and essential oils I use are certified organic.  Quite often when I’ve been packaging my Loose Incense, Sabbat Altar Sets, or Stick Incense, I found myself wondering why I’m using plastic packaging that’s going to end up sitting in landfills, or floating in the ocean.  I felt like there was a disconnect between the products and the packaging.

Not anymore.

I’m excited to announce that I will be switching my packaging to cellophane, which means that my 100% natural products will now be in 100% biodegradable packaging.  It’s better for the environment, it more attractive, and it doesn’t increase my production costs.  It’s a win-win-win.

Besides the Soy Spell Candles which are shrink wrapped in cellophane already, you will first see this packaging change with the Stick Incense.  It’ll take a bit longer to see the repack with the Loose Incense and the Sabbat Altar Sets, as it’s a matter of selling out of already packaged products.

This is one small step I can take as an individual and a business.  The positive effect on the environment may be small, but when we all take small steps together, we all can make a big impact.

 

 

Advertisements

Happy Canada Day

IMG_5471

While everyone across the nation is celebrating Canada’s 151st birthday, I’m celebrating the first two months since the launch of my Soy Spell Candles.  I’m thrilled with how well received they’ve been, selling more and quicker than expected.  As I continue to make more and more, I’m loving them more and more.

I think back to when I first started experimenting with making these candles.  Not only did I have to experiment with different types of soy waxes, I also had to experiment with the process to ensure that I enjoyed it every step of the way.  I would never make and sell products I didn’t enjoy making, so if I found this candle-making process too tedious and unenjoyable, they never would have made it into my product line-up.

I remember removing my first candle from its mould.  I was thrilled that I was successful, and so pleased at how nice the candle looked.  It was perfect…a little too perfect, actually.  It sat on my desk, and I kept starring at it from across the room.  It was so perfect, and I should be jumping up and down at how easy it was to make such a great looking candle.  It looked just as nice as any candle in a store, like the ones made by machine.

It was too perfect, it didn’t look hand-crafted.

At that point, I was pretty sure that I was going to scrap the idea of launching these candles.  I like how nice all my products look, and that they look hand-crafted…nice, but not perfect.  Perfect imperfection.

But…once I have my mind set on something, it’s hard to turn away from it, and I really wanted a candle option of my vegan customers that can’t use my Beeswax Spell Candles.  So I sucked it up and kept going, experimenting with different soy waxes until I found the one I was happiest with, then moved on to testing dyes until I got the colour the way I wanted them, and finally working on the fragrances.  Eventually, everything was ready to go.

By that point, I was more excited for the launch.  I still wasn’t over the perfect shape of these lovely, blemish-free, semi-matte candles, but they were definitely growing on me.  Why?  Was I just getting used to them?  Was I just getting over myself?  Nope!  Every time I think they’re still a little too perfect, I just flip them over and look at the bottoms of the candles.  They’re a mess!  Not being made in machines, but in individual metal moulds that I hand pour the wax into, these perfect looking cylinders of wax can sometimes harden with slight unevenness that has to be corrected by shaving off some of the wax.  On top of that, the knot of the wick tied around it’s stick can create a bump that has to be shaved down.

The bottoms of the candles aren’t pretty…and I love them!

No one can mistake my candles for machine made, and that makes me very, very happy.  I love my new Soy Spell Candles, and I’m thrilled that everyone else does as well.

Perfect Imperfection

 

 

May Has Gone By Soy Fast!

IMG_4865

That’s not a typo, that’s me being clever and funny…ahem…moving on.  I can’t believe today is the last day of the month, and Beltane seems months ago.  I’ve been the busiest I’ve ever been with product making, as well as working on something, that when (positive thinking!) it comes to fruition, I’ll make an announcement about, because it’s going to be exciting.

I’ve been making the Soy Spell Candles like mad this week, thanks to finally getting my double-burner hot plate.  I’ve been able to take my candle candle making out of my kitchen, and into my workspace, which is also my temple.  That’s important for me, plus it’s much more convenient, as both rooms are on different floors, and the back and forth was just annoying.

The more I make the Soy Spell Candles, the happier I get with them.  Like I mentioned in my last post, it was a long journey to get to this point, starting with testing out various types of soy wax, and even trying out a soy-paraffin blend.

I knew right from the start that I wasn’t going to use paraffin or palm wax.  I have some serious issues with palm-derived raw materials.  As the natural market increases, particularly with cosmetics, the demand for palm-derived raw materials is increasing.  Approximately 85% of cosmetics contain palm-derived, and as a result, palm plantations are popping up all over, Indonesia in particular.  The downside to this – the Indonesian rain forest is being razed at an alarming rate, and I’d rather not contribute to that more than necessary.  Now, one can argue that the increase in soy demand is contributing to the accelerated depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer, and one would be right.  The lesser of two evils, I suppose.

What I didn’t realize was that there were so many different types of soy wax blends.  Some include other vegetable waxes, some include vegetable oils, and like I mentioned above, there are soy-paraffin blends too.  I wouldn’t have thought that companies would combine soy and paraffin, but as I discovered, there is a very good reason why.

Now what, you may ask, am I doing even considering an ingredient containing paraffin?  Well, let me tell you.  I wasn’t actually considering it as an option.  I wanted to test it so I could speak to its properties, both good and bad, with knowledge and experience.  If at some point I need to compare my candles properties to paraffin, palm, other soy waxes, and soy-paraffin blends, I want to be able to do it honestly and from an educated position.

The first soy wax I tried was horrible!  The candles came out of the moulds so greasy, I had to let them sit for two days before I could even touch them.  And even then, it wasn’t the most pleasant experience.  The wax was so soft (soy wax is soft period, but this was SOFT), that I really felt it wouldn’t be the best bet for a consumer good.  On top of that, both the cold and hot throw sucked.  I always planned to have these candles very lightly scented, but with this blend, the fragrance was almost non-existent.  Lastly, it burned too quickly.

The second soy wax I tried was a blend with other vegetable waxes.  It didn’t come out greasy, and was harder than the first wax I tried.  The scent throw, both cold and hot, was pretty good, but not great.  This blend had a longer burn time, but still not as long as I wanted.

It was at this point I tried the soy-paraffin blend.  It produces a beautiful candle, not greasy, nice and hard, and a really good scent throw.  You can tell that this blend contains paraffin.  Soy wax is opaque and matte, paraffin is translucent with some shine to it.  This candle was slightly translucent and shiny.  It really has the best shelf appeal.  If you put a soy wax pillar next to the soy-paraffin pillar, I really think a customer would choose the soy-paraffin, based solely on their first impression based on looks.  It was the most high-maintenance to work with, though.  I assume that has to do with the properties of the paraffin, because the two other soy waxes were much more low maintenance.

The soy blend I really wanted to try, but had to wait patiently for (my three least favourite words – OUT OF STOCK) took some time in getting.  This one is blended with vegetable oils, and was well worth the wait!  It has the burn time I wanted, the cold and hot throw is magnificent, it’s easy to work with, takes dye and fragrance very well, and creates a hard candle, although not as hard as paraffin or palm wax.

It was so nice, after so many weeks of working with different waxes, to come across a wax that scores 10 on all the properties that mattered to me.

This post is getting long, so I’ll stop here, and focus more on the properties of the winning wax in my next post.

 

Blessings

Lailoken /|\

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scented Soy Spell Candles – Coming Soon

Soy Launch done

After a long wait, supplier issues, raw material orders going missing during shipping, and with much work, I’m excited to finally be able to launch the Soy Spell Candles, the newest products in the Lailokens Awen product line-up.

As far back as 2016, I had it in mind to expand the product range with these candles.  But, as my business exploded thanks mostly to my two distributors, it was enough trying to keep up production with the current products.  The soy candles were shelved, but not forgotten.

What really prompted me to get to work on these was learning that vegans will not use my Beeswax Spell Candles.  Now, for those of you who have followed my business from the beginning, I launched the range of Smokeless Smudge Sprays to accommodate those who have issues with incense smoke.  I wanted to be as inclusive as possible.  Now I learn that I’m neglecting a large group of potential customers, and that needed to be corrected.

During the process of formulating, I thought about those individuals sensitive to smoke, which made me think of those sensitive to scent.  I can burn incense by the cauldron full, but I can have a hard time burning scented candles.  They often irritate my eyes and nose, and I’m not particularly sensitive to scent.  So, I decided to keep the Soy Spell Candles lightly scented, giving enough scent that you can detect something in the air, but not be overwhelmed by the fragrance.  Sitting within a few feet of the candles while they burn offers enough scent to be pleasant, but again, without being overwhelming.  What I am really happy about is the quality of the cold throw (the scent given off when the candle isn’t burning).  It’s perfect!

I’ll be talking about the Soy Spell Candles more over the next few weeks, but for now, this will do.

Happy Samhain!

happy samhain

I spent the day of Samhain doing what I always do on a Sabbat.  My mornings are ALWAYS dedicated to coffee, which makes it the best time to do my paperwork and various other administrative things related to owning a business.  The afternoon I dedicated to preparing for the evenings ritual.

As an aside, I run a local pagan group, and like so many groups, we have to plan our group rituals around our lives, which often mean they are not performed on the ‘proper’ day.  So, we had our Samhain ritual on the weekend, and last nights ritual was a solo one.

Besides ritual, one thing I like to do on a Sabbat is a small, three-card tarot spread to give me some insight on what is in store for me between one Sabbat and the next.  So, I decided to use my new Landon Connors Occult Detective Tarot Deck, created by author Bob Freeman.

Tarot Spread

Left card represents the previous six weeks, or so, in this case between the Autumn Equinox and Samhain.  Middle card represents now, and right card represents the upcoming six weeks, or between Samhain and the Winter Solstice.

I wasn’t surprised to find that there were no Major Arcana in this spread.  The Nine of Cups reversed summed up the recent past quite accurately.  I’m still meditating on the Ace of Cups reversed, and the 10 of Pentacles shows a favourable outcome for the near future.

Phew!  Dodged another bullet!

The last thing I do on a Sabbat has become the most important – that would be making batches of my Samhain Loose Incense and Samhain Anointing Oil.  These are for my Sabbat Altar – Loose Incense & Anointing Oil Sets.

Samhain Altar

I make the Loose Incense and Anointing Oil for each Sabbat only on the day of the Sabbat in question, so if I don’t get around to it, it doesn’t get done.  And if I don’t have stock to sell…the tiny home trend is all the rage, but somehow I think living in a cardboard box is stretching it a bit.

I’d like to say that today I get some downtime.  I think I deserve it, this being my favourite time of the year, I do a lot of Halloween activities.  Add all my Samhain activities into the mix, and it makes for a busy few days.  However, a large order from my Canadian distributor beckons, so off I go!

 

 

Occulticon 2017

19055798_895323237276154_2213324196642895462_o

I came across the ad for Occulticon on Facebook back in June.  Normally I don’t click on the adds, but look at that visual…how could I not?  So glad I did.

Part of my business plan is to start doing more vending, get out there and meet the customers, see what they like, what they don’t, and find out what they want.  However, my plan was to start vending in 2018, but Occulticon looked too good to pass up.

This was year one of Occulticon, so it was a bit of a gamble, especially since it meant a 16 hour drive both ways just to attend the event.  But I had a really good feeling about this, and the email communication I had with Ben, the vendor coordinator, added to my confidence that attending this festival would be very beneficial.

I’d love to be able to go on and on about how great the festival was.  I mean, I certainly can because I had an incredible time, but I missed all the good stuff because I was just that busy selling.  Of course, being a vendor, I’m there to sell, that’s my first priority, but there were a few lectures I would have liked to sit in on.  I was actually that busy that I missed everything I was hoping to participate in.  Thankfully, there were a few evening events that I got to experience because it was dark and pretty impossible to vend.  I experienced a Voodoo ritual, a High Magick ritual, and a seance.

I’ve never been to a Voodoo ritual, so that was a special treat, and an amazing experience.  I practice the Golden Dawn System of Magic, but solitary, so it was nice to take part in the High Magick ritual with other people, especially with those that know what they’re doing.

It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if this became the ‘must attend’ festival of the year.

Oh, I can’t forget to talk about the festival location.  It’s called Mythwood Campground & Private Retreat, and it’s probably one of the most amazing places I’ve ever seen.  It’s 60 acres, and filled with magic and imagery from familiar myths.

IMG_0942

IMG_0946

IMG_0948IMG_0949

IMG_0944

map-adam-11x17.ai

The pictures don’t do the ground justice, but you can see more pictures here and here.

Lastly, the volunteer staff were beyond incredible.  They were the nicest, kindest, caring, most helpful people I have ever met.  Within a few short hours I felt like I was among friends I had known for years.

So…Occulticon 2017 was a great success.  I’m already planning for Occulticon 2018.

Blessings – Lailoken /|\

 

At some point before the middle of 2016, I wondered how strange it would be if I were to quit my ‘day job’ and focus solely on Lailokens Awen.  Besides being called a business owner, what would I be called?  A magician?  I make my living doing magick.  If I were speaking to a non-magical person, they of course would immediately assume I’m referring to stage magic.  It would be interesting to see how the conversation would go, were I to have such a conversation, and explain to them magic-with-a-k.

My business really took off the Summer of last year when I partnered up with wholesale distributors here in Canada and in the US.  By October, I said goodbye to the day job and now work exclusively for myself at home.

I’m a magician.  It’s what I do for a living…I make magick.  It’s strange thinking about that, stranger even when I type it out.  It’s definitely a step up from the alternative, ‘I make crafts at home’.  And if at any point I start feeling like a powerful Gandalf or any other book/movie magician, I’ll come crashing down to earth real quick when I have to whip out the hammer and chisel just to make incense.

12672059_1689288817984469_3129007346330009247_o
If your wondering what goes into making incense, here’s an example.  Yeah…that’s a hammer and chisel!