Richard Hills-Ingyon & Sargon Latchin,
founders of The Recycled Candle Company
1/First of all, we would love to know about your business, how you started and what inspired you to start Recycled Candle Company. We would appreciate if you could give us a short statement explaining your journey and outlining things that inspire you.
Richard: I’ve always been obsessed with making candles and I’ve been inspired with my eco mission from my childhood in Devon, appreciating nature and the beautiful area I grew up in. After graduating in London, I started to make candles to take to Sunday markets to earn a bit of extra cash. I met Sargon and it grew from there. We refined the processes and started supplying to shops. Then we moved back to Devon and opened our first shop in Ottery St Mary, the town I went to school in. We did so well that we decided to the independent shopping street Gandy Street in Exeter, which is where we are now.
2/As a small business owner, what's your work/life balance like after your shop door closes?
Sargon: It’s hard to shut off. Work never stops really, even when we’re not in the shop. We’re always thinking about the business, how to make improvements, what calls we need to make, what jobs we’ve got on the next day – how many candles we need to make! Even if we’re doing something totally unrelated, like seeing a film at the cinema, it’s always on our minds.
3/Where do you get your ideas from and motivation to keep going? Are there any particular websites, films, social media profiles that you motivate you to keep going?
Sargon: I’ve been curating a list of magazines and websites since I was 16. I’m a trained architect so I tend to look at architecture first, as this is where I think some of the new trends actually start. These then filter into fashion and graphic design. I follow @teklan for inspiration on colour palettes. For fragrance and image inspiration, I like to start from ideas rather than an aesthetic, I prefer not to replicate but to innovate.
Richard: My ideas are always based around motivation for the environment. I’m aware of the waste generated by many industries – my mum is a florist and growing up I realised that even in that sector there was so much waste. We use her dried flowers in our firelighters now!
4/How did you manage to open your shop? Did you operate online before being able to sell your candles in person?
Richard: The shop came first, we added online sales as we became more successful. It made sense to have a shop as we need a space to make the candles. In our first shop it was a bit tight for space, but our Exeter shop has lots more room for candle-making and storing the products ready to ship out. Online is really important to us now, our products are seen by so many more people and it’s great to get the message out that old candles can have a new life!