In the studio with…Lucy Heale from The London Refinery
The London Refinery portrait.
Lucy Heale is the founder of natural scent company, The London Refinery. We visited Lucy’s studio in West London, to find out more about what it takes to make her unique scented candles, currently available to buy from not just a shop.

Describe your typical day

I’m also an art director so my typical day differs depending on whether I’m in The London Refinery studio. Studio days are normally at the weekend, when I’m busy developing new fragrances. I normally spend time replying to emails from stores before experimenting with wax and oils.

 What are the key stages of your design and making process?

Fragrance

I start by thinking about the story or the feeling I want to create, e.g. whether it’s a candle for relaxing or revitalising, or a scent story from a memory. I use pure essential oils to create the fragrance and carefully consider their combinations. Fragrances are developed using top, middle and base notes; top notes tend to be more citrusy and herbal and base notes more woody and balsamic.

Left: Candle wax in a bowl on a scale. Right: Scented oils being measured.

Refining

We then decide on the amount of essential oils to soy wax ratio. We test each candle over and over for a good burn by checking the wick size and ingredients levels. When the product has been refined it can go through official testing for EU sale!

Candle wax being poured and weighed.

Pouring

Then the production can come to life. We start by heating the wax, then we blend the oils at the right temperature before finally pouring the candles into our trademark amber jars.

Left: Hand holding seven candle wicks. Right: Candle wick being put into a jar.

The Packaging

I develop the colours and tones for the packaging, before going on to design the label and card packaging ready for sale.

The London Refinery Candle

What is the best thing about your job?

Receiving feedback from customers who love our products!

Do you listen to music in your studio? What three songs are on your playlist?

Yes, I’m a huge fan of London Grammar, Haim and M.I.A.

What’s on your desk right now (provide photos of three items and explain their significance)?

A London Refinery unused Revitalise candle; I love its refreshing scent, even when it isn’t lit!

A London Graphic Centre marker pad, which I use to sketch quick ideas.

Stylist Magazine – as I picked it up this morning and is always a good read!

Who do you look up to as entrepreneur?

I’ve been really enjoying reading Jo Malone’s autobiography. Also Elon Musk and Anita Roddick.

What three apps or companies should every entrepreneur know about?

Blinkist, Apple podcasts, Shopify.

Why were you interested in having your products sold at not just a shop?

It’s such a great idea, space and community to be involved with!

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