There are candles. And then there are Island Trading Co candles. You know the ones - scintillating smells, perfect packaging, general air of exoticness. You can thank Kathy Sheeran for that. Yup, thanks to her online shopping addiction, weakness for beautiful homewares and Polynesian culture, she's used her experience to create something truly amazing. Neon Moose caught up with her to get the sweet smelling skinny...
Tell us the premise behind Island Trading Co.
Homewares are my weakness! I have always had a love for the South Pacific and the Polynesian culture so I wanted to create a range that draws inspiration from the rich cultures.
I have collected various pieces of art, homewares and pineapples from all over the world for years [I’ve even had 6ft tikis flown in from Hawaii].
The past 2 years the whole Island/Hawaiian theme has become very popular and unfortunately a little tacky; I just can’t look at one more fluro pineapple. I needed to bring chic and elegance back to ‘island’ homewares and I think I have achieved that. The bedding is divine and the customer feedback I’m getting is really beautiful and the candles and onyx tealight holders are truly luxurious. I wanted to make products that made people smile.
What sets you apart from other candles?
There are so many beautiful candles on the market but I felt there was something missing; a real WOW factor. I really wanted to make our candles not only smell amazing but really stand out. Sure when the candle is finished you can use the glass as a vase but I wanted more than that. The glass jars can be used in the kitchen for coffee, tea and sugar or herbs, in the bathroom or bedroom even in the office. I wanted more than a candle I wanted a piece that people would make a feature in their home not just a jar of wax that smelt good that they put in the background.
What are you inspired by?
Pineapples and palm trees definitely. I love hand crafted items like basket weaving and wood carving, it’s a true skill and talent, the detailing always blows me away. I’m obsessed with India Hicks.
Your packaging is beautiful - was it a hard process organising packaging?
I changed the design so many times. The first candle I made was ok it had a few shells hanging from the glass. I sat it on the table and stared at it for about an hour all I had to do was sign off on it and production could start but I couldn’t do it; it didn’t really represent who I was. It took a few days after that and everything was really clear I knew exactly what I wanted and it wasn’t easy. The actual candle was easy, I’m working with a great company here in Australia but all the bits and pieces to complete it; well that’s been really hard. The rattan is hand woven in Lombok, I have been able to create work for women who can work from home and look after their families which is really nice this has taken months to complete all the covers. The brass swing tags, logos and lids were also a time consuming job. People thought I was mad spending so much time and money on the brass but when they saw the completed product I think they got it. Then I had to decide what I was going to put the candle in, I had a few ideas but when I saw the bag that we are using it was a no brainer it was perfect.
What's your fave candle from the Island Trading Co range?
This is a hard one I really do love them all. If I had to pick one it would be Wahini (cucumber & melon) although Tiki (ginger) is amazing and then so is Outrigger (wild mint & lime), Aloha (coconut) and Maui (pineapple). This isn’t fair this is like asking who is my favourite child. I can’t do it. I love them all.
What does creativity mean to you?
Absolutely everything. It needs to represent who you are. I received the best compliment you could ever get. I received a phone call from the gorgeous Donny Galella not only did he say he was very proud of what I had created but the ultimate he said, “Kath this has your name all over it” and that’s made all the hard work, sleepless nights and the more frequent visits to the hairdressers because of the greys all worth it.
Island Trading Co's plans in the pipeline?
There are a few projects on the go which I can’t discuss at this stage but I can tell you we are expanding our range in the new year to include doona covers, cushions and we have a range of marble arriving end of January.
Check out all the deliciousness here.