Our story

It all began in 2018…

We’d already been friends for a few years, having originally met at our children’s school. We were on a play date when we found that we had two more things in common: we were both massively into scented candles and trying to do more in our everyday lives to reduce our environmental impact.

We’d recently learned that the majority of mass-market candles are produced using paraffin wax – wax made from the sludge at the bottom of crude-oil barrels and often treated with known carcinogens like benzene and toluene. Prior to this, we’d been blissfully unaware that what we were filling our homes and our senses with was not just a nice fragrance, it was also the toxic fumes of paraffin wax. (If you’ve ever noticed that some scented candles leave a black, sooty residue around the jar and even on walls and furnishings, paraffin wax is the culprit.)

Right there and then we decided to start making our own candles. Our vision was to create clean-burning, naturally scented candles in eco-friendly packaging. What came next was quite a journey!


Learning the craft

Neither of us had ever made our own candles before, but what we lacked in know-how we made up for with drive and determination! We spent every free moment we had (around our day jobs and our families) taking classes, watching online tutorials and learning the craft of artisan candle-making.

We agreed early on that we would make our candles with pure essential oils and soy wax, which is natural, vegan friendly and burns slowly without emitting any harmful toxins. Over time, we learned how to measure and melt the wax, blend and add the oils and attach and secure the wick.

We searched for beautiful, reusable vessels to hold our candles and settled on our apothecary-style amber glass jars, which not only look lovely and give off a soft glow but have lids to preserve the fragrance between burns. We also discovered a lot about essential oils and which ones work well together (and which ones definitely don’t!).

After a lot of trial and error, at the end of 2019 we were ready to launch the very first of our signature scents, Florence.

What’s in a name?

We’re both big believers in being cheerleaders for other women and it was important to us that GLØD reflected this. That’s why we decided that each of our scents would be named after a woman who has achieved incredible things, and that we would donate a percentage of our profits to Women for Women UK, a charity that offers life-changing support to women who have survived war.

Whenever we create a new blend, we always know who we want to name it after and the first thing we do is think about what kind of scent feels like a fitting tribute to that woman. Check out our shop to read about the amazing women who have inspired our signature candles.

Getting out there

We initially started selling our Florence candle at maker’s markets in and around London. We were really nervous to put our candles out there, but the response we got from customers blew us away and it gave us the confidence to believe that we could turn our dream into a reality. Back in the studio, we added two more blends to our range: Rosa and Emmeline. More markets, more great feedback and another new scent (Malala) followed, and everything was going brilliantly.

And then COVID-19 happened.

Moving online

Overnight, all of the markets we had planned to attend were cancelled and we were left wondering what the future held for our fledgling candle business.

We really didn’t want our journey to lose its momentum, so we decided to take GLØD online. We quickly created a website, ventured onto Instagram and began to build a following and sell our candles via mail order.

We got loads of messages from people who were loving our candles and it felt like, while the circumstances were far from ideal, the pandemic had given us a push in the right direction and a reason to just go for it.

So here we are!

And that’s how, in a (pretty big) nutshell, we went from being two working mums with an addiction to scented candles to artisan candlemakers finding our way through a global pandemic and growing an e-commerce business!

We still have the same passion for clean-burning, naturally scented soy wax candles and we still blend them, pour them, label them and pack them by hand in small batches in our South London studio.

We couldn’t be happier to be here and we hope you get as much enjoyment from our candles as we do.

Joanna and Charlotte x