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Monthly Archives: July 2013

  • A night at the opera... candlelit by Queen B!

    I'm thinking that it's pretty tragic that it took a candle order to get me to go to the opera, but there it is... My life is quite tragic in many ways (and deliciously fabulous in others :-)). All I can say is that I regret not going sooner.  Last night we went to see Opera Australia's production of Tosca and it was extra-ordinary.

    Let me start at the beginning... see if you can guess whether Tilly was excited or not?  Sydney Ferries provided limousine transfer door to door.

    Sydney Ferry limousine to Opera House to see Tosca candlelit by pure beeswax candles from Queen B Why is it that the best photographs are never in focus?!

    We had a beautiful dinner by the harbour... and then on to the opera!

    I have to admit up front that while I was very excited to be seeing our candles lighting up Tosca, I was a little less sure about whether I would actually enjoy a whole opera.  Sure, I love the operatic aria's.  Sure, we listen to classical music at the hive.  But I wasn't sure about 3 hours of opera.  I'm happy to say I was wrong.  I loved it.  So did Tilly.   Not only was it an auditory feast, but it was a visual feast.  The set was astonishing.  And I think I appreciated it all the more because I'd been to Opera Australia HQ and been given a quick tour through the carpentry department, metal working department, fibre glass department, costume design, sewing, painting, decorating etc etc and is was just so gratifying to see that it is all being done locally.  We may be shipping in entire buildings in shipping containers from overseas, but Opera Australia are building incredible sets in Australia.  GOOD. ON. YOU. OPERA. AUSTRALIA.  I am tempted to go to more opera's on the basis that I'll be supporting those jobs.  I'll be the one in the loges with the 'partially obscured view'... and I'll be loving every second of that partial view! Opera Australia run a behind the scenes tour on Wednesday's for $15 (that's a bargain).  You can find more information on their website.

    Whilst it was an obvious highlight to see our candles lighting up the production, it was also a little bit distracting for this tragic soul!  I think I missed about 50% of the surtitles in the first act because I was checking to see that the candles weren't dripping in the cross breezes on stage...

    and then noticing how slowly they were burning and calculating that at that rate of burning they would be lasting Opera Australia for around the next decade of productions of Tosca...

    and watching to make sure that despite their extraordinary length they were upright...

    and trying to pick out the fake candles (yes, there are some of those too)!...

    and then checking to see that Tilly was also enjoying it!!

    Phew!  It was exhausting.  And I'm happy to report that they didn't appear to drip, that they were upright, that you could tell a real candle from a fake and that Tilly enjoyed himself!

    Acts 2 and 3 were a little more disappointing relaxing because there were no Queen B candles burning.

     

    Opera Australia's Tosca candlelit by Queen B's pure beeswax pillar candles Look at those beautiful beeswax candles and the magnificent set they built around them

     

    Beeswax candles for Tosca by Queen B Opera Australia's TOSCA. Candles by Queen B. Photo by Prudence Upton

    I'm thinking that the Australian Ballet may need to commission us next.  I'm dying to see a ballet.

    The ticket that I bought for Tosca (and gave away on Facebook) in the loges was $67.50 (+booking fee) which really in the general scheme of how incredible the production was, the talent, the set (and those candles) makes it an affordable investment in the Australian arts, your own edification and a great night out.

    We're giving away 2 Tosca pillars in a competition in the next Opera Australia newsletter, so head on over to the website and register for the newsletter and be in the running to win.

    Still glowing...

    Cate

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  • The journey from unhappy customer to happy customer - it's all in the detail!

    About a week ago I received an email from a customer who wasn't happy because our tapers were dripping.  [I could go into how gutted I was at this stage but as that would make me relive it, let's spare us both :-)].  Her email went like this (this is the full email and pasted in full because it's quite a lovely way to write a complaint):

    Hi Cate,

    I absolutely love your candles, thank you! I'm hoping you can help me with the dinner sticks I have a box of. They look great on my table, however I find I've stopped using them because I can't stop them from dripping onto the table.  Any tips to make them dripless? I trim the wicks regularly.  I'm hoping there's a solution so I can start using them again as they burn so beautifully.

    Thanks so much,

    K

    What a sweetheart.  Moment to reflect on how lucky we are to have customers who are beautiful on the inside (and out).

    I responded and again I am putting in the full email because it has good tips for anyone burning taper candles:

    Hi Kay,

    Thank you so much for your email... it is only if a customer raises a concern that I get the opportunity to fix it.

    I burn the tapers myself every evening.  Have done for years.  So I know from first hand experience that they are dripless when they are burned in a draft free environment.  If they are dripping, then there must be a draft... be that from open windows, air conditioning, central heating, fans or simply a drafty house.  I would try moving one to a spot that you know is draft free and burning it there.  That won't help you with having them burning on your table, but at least it will convince you that they are genuinely drip free when burned in a draft free environment!

    In terms of then coming up with a solution for your table, well, if there is air movement in that area, then you are never going to get a taper (dinner stick) that doesn't drip.  Unfortunately because they are so narrow, there is little room to play with choosing a wick.  So, in that case, I'd suggest either trying the Bee Lights (although they tend to drip in a breeze too for exactly the same reason) OR I would try the solid pillars... which are also great bang for your buck.  The 15cm Solid Pillar and 20cm Solid Pillar are a great simple candle that you can simply sit on the table or on a ceramic holder or a tile or something else.  They are good for burning for anything over an hour at a time.  The Squat Pillar is good for burning over 2 hours at a time.

    I hope that helps.

    Please keep me posted with how you go burning the tapers in a place where there is no breeze.  In order to determine if there is a breeze, simply watch the flame... if the flame is "dancing" then there is a breeze.  If the flame is still, it will burn perfectly top to bottom without a drip.  Promise.

    Warmest everything

    Cate

    And here's the cruncher, because we actually get to close the loop on this one.  'K' wrote back to me this morning with an update (which made my day because when I know that we have an unhappy customer I genuinely lose sleep over it).  Again, in full, it read:

    Hi Cate,

    You're absolutely right, thank you! I've tried burning them in a different spot and they're beautifully dripless!  It's a bit silly I didn't think of that, sorry.  I was burning them on our kitchen table, which is surrounded by windows and a door. They look amazing there, but sadly that spot doesn't work due to airflow.  I have your pillars already, which I've put there instead. 

    Thanks very much, Cate. I'll be in to purchase more soon, I'm sure!

    K

     It seems to be a week of posting tips for beeswax candle use and better burning!  What I learned from my last post is that that's pretty useful for lots of people.  I also thought it might be interesting to share just a small selection of the photographs from when I did the wick testing for our tapers... and wow, the memories it brought back.  There are no duplicates in this image (created with the help of iPhoto and my very limited photoshop skills!).

    beeswax dinner taper candle cotton wick test Wick testing images for beeswax dinner taper candles

    Sometimes my mind makes me giggle... as I was creating the image above, I had the following playing in my mind... you can tell a lot about a (wo)man by his hands too!:

    and the classic

     

    and this from a woman who doesn't really drink beer!

    Cate xx

    PS While we're at it, if you have any issues with burning your Queen B candles or tips, please let me know by commenting below, commenting on facebook or emailing me.

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  • A tip for cleaning your tealight cups to reuse them

    In the midst of the madness that was last week I received an email from a customer that actually made me laugh out loud.  I was laughing at myself and my own stupidity and the genius of someone who looks at a problem with a fresh set of eyes.  Barbara wrote to me with a tip on how she was cleaning her clear tealight cups for reuse.  Her email read as follows:

    "Dear Cate aka Queen B

    Enjoying your candles so much both at home and in my Yoga classes, particularly good for Yoga Therapy sessions when healing is the focus

    I might have missed this on your site but initially I used to make a big mess with boiling water and paper towels to clean and recycle my clear cups. Then on one of our cold winter Melbourne mornings I noticed the wax remnants just dropped out – so now all the finished cups go into the freezer for a few hours/overnight, are gently squeezed, tapped and out pops the remnants and the little wick disk

    Many thanks for the healing, light and love Queen B and court provides

    Barbara"

    Apart from her lovely feedback (which warms our cockles in a building that doesn't get much over 8 degrees celcius throughout winter) I had to laugh because I'm a 'boiling water' cup cleaner.  I think it's because I learned by cup cleaning habits with our votive glasses (and its so easy just to sit them in a tray of boiling water... and as soon as you see the wax turn white on the edges you can just scoop it out with your finger).  I'm not sure whether this cleaning tip would work with glass.  But it is genius for the our beeswax tealight candles in clear cups.

    If you have a clever tip, please never assume I already know about it!  Sometimes I'm so deeply in tune with the 'trees' that the view of the forest evades me!

    Thanks again to Barbara for a genius tip.  Please feel free to share any you might have by commenting below or emailing me.

    I hope you have a great week.

    Cate xx

    Clear tealight cup versus aluminium tealight cup Clear tealight cup versus aluminium tealight cup
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  • Nett magazine article about email marketing - featuring Queen B!

    A few months ago I approached by Nett Magazine on advice that I would give other small businesses about email marketing.  I had lots to say!... I think it is a privilege to have access to someone's inbox and it is a privilege that I am always conscious not to take advantage of.  I think I break most of the 'rules' of writing a good newsletter (or 'blog') by being too verbose, but then again I dislike rules and I think it is more important to be authentic!  I am verbose.  I am passionate.  Nothing about Queen B is fickle or done without a huge amount of thought and I believe that knowledge is power and so I try to make what I write 'powerful' in terms of it being educational.

    If you're interested in reading the full Nett article about email marketing click on this link - 201307 Nett magazine.  For those of you who are more visual, there's a page shot below.  Just to preempt any comments, yes, I do look different when I've had my hair and makeup done!

    email marketing, nett magazine, queen b, beeswax candles Nett magazine page shot - Email marketing tips featuring Queen B

    Wishing you a very happy weekend - hopefully at least some part of it will be beeswax candlelit.

    Cate xx

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  • Our biggest overhaul in 9 years... with never seen before special offers

    I can honestly say that this is one of my most exciting posts in years... we've given the Queen B brand a smart new look and we've overhauled some of our packaging.  Back in my corporate days I was used to having a marketing team, advertising agency, design agency (yes, they're different!), Global Brand Team, brand bible and a pretty hefty budget to keep things looking fresh.  At Queen B there's, well... me taking on these various roles (although for this overhaul I did engage a snappy young designer to help).   Whilst the process was, let's say, time consuming, at times traumatic, and expensive (we've had it all printed in Australia, with soy ink, on 100% recycled, FSC certified card!), I am absolutely delighted with the results.

    So, with no further ado... drum roll... I launch our new look and some of our new packaging... with a few never seen before offers to help us clear the shelves of the existing packaging which has served us well until now. [Because we hate wastage, the new packaging look is being rolled out as and when we run out of existing packaging, so this will take a little time].

    The first piece of packaging to get the overhaul was our tealight boxes.  To help us roll out the new look as quickly as possible, we're offering Buy 2 Get 1 Free on our Box of 9 x 4-5 hour Beeswax Tealight Candles and our Box of 9 x 8-9 hour Beeswax Tealight candles in the 'old' packaging.  Simply place your order online and write Buy 2 Get 1 Free in the Comments field as you check out.  Available until we run out of existing stock... or 72 hours... whichever happens first!  We'll keep you updated on Facebook.

    beeswax tea light candles are long burning and natural for your eco wedding or event Queen B pure beeswax tealight candles... now with a fabulous new look

    Our second piece of packaging to get a whole new look is our Jam Jar Tealights packaging.  While we tested the popularity of the product (it is overwhelming!) we were using a box bought 'off the shelf'.  With it's popularity cementing its position in the Queen B range, we have been able to design and print our own packaging and best of all the cost is around half of what we were paying.  We're also getting the jam jars in such huge quantities now that their cost is also around 30% down.  And the good news is that that has allowed us to lower the price of the 2 Jars + 8 candles to $24.95 (which is almost 20% off the previous price) and we've created a new box of refills -  10 Jam Jar Tealight Refills for a smashing $24.95.  To help us roll out the new look as quickly as possible, we're offering Buy 2 Get 1 Free on our Jam Jar Tealight Candles (box of 8 candles with 2 jam jars) and our Jam Jar Tealight Refills (box of 15 refills) in the 'old' packaging.  [Note the Box of 15 refills will be gone once we've sold this stock... replaced by the box of 10 refills].  Simply place your order online and write Buy 2 Get 1 Free in the Comments field as you check out.  Available until we run out of existing stock... or 72 hours... whichever happens first!  We'll keep you updated on Facebook.

    Pure bee wax tea light candles in glass mason jam jars for your eco wedding or event Queen B pure beeswax Jam Jar tealight candles in glass jars... now with a fabulous new look

     

    That's the end of the special offers, but not the end of our new look packaging.  We've also got 3 new Point of Sale boxes for our retailers to sell Queen B bee created light by the individual candles... available at quality retail stores soon!

    beeswax dinner candle tapers Lovely new point of sale packaging for individual sale of Queen B pure beeswax candles

     

    pure bee wax long burning tealight candles in clear cups for your eco wedding or sustainable event Pure beeswax tealight candles in clear cups - buy 1 or buy the whole lot!

    Please note that the special offers are our way of thanking your for "Liking" us on Facebook and/or subscribing to our newsletter and/or getting our blog feed.  The offer is only available if you write "Buy 2 Get 1 Free" in the Comments field on check out and only available while stock lasts or for 72 hours.

    We'd love your feedback on the new look and packaging if you have any thoughts.

    Warmest everything

    Cate xx

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  • An eco wedding lit by honeycomb pillars

    When one of the original team behind Earth Hour organised her wedding, the eco credentials of all the partners that went into making her day magic were critical.  Being a bit of a style maven the look was just as important.   She came to us wanting the candles to be the centrepiece of every table.  Rather than volumes of flowers thrown away at the end of the night, the bride opted to keep the table decorations very simple with one of our large honeycomb pillar candles in the centre of every table and a smaller beeswax pillar candle at each place serving triple duty - bomboniere/wedding favour gift, place holder and ambience creator.  Using candles as the table centrepiece is an idea that is a fraction of the cost of what many brides spend on flowers alone and then had an abundance of candles left over on the night to light up their honeymoon (and probably about the first 5 years of married life given how long our beeswax pillars burn for)!

    wedding decorations, wedding table centrepiece idea, eco wedding, wedding candles Keeping the wedding table decorations simple, a Queen B pure honeycomb pillar candle formed the centrepiece of every tableOur bride had the venue turn the lights to their lowest setting to allow the ambience to be 

     

    Our bride had the venue turn the lights to their lowest setting to allow the candles to create a magical and romantic ambience on the evening.  Look at the incredible warm glow created with all those golden, bee created flames. 

    candle bomboniere, bonbonniere gift, eco wedding Eco wedding ambience courtesy of pure beeswax honeycomb pillars

     

    Each hand-rolled, pure honeycomb, beeswax pillar candle was wrapped with twine and a place card for each guest... a bomboniere gift for them to take with them at the end of the evening.  As a bride said to me once, every time one of our friends lights their wedding favour candle they'll be thinking lovely things about us and you can't buy that sort of karma!

    wedding favour, bomboniere idea, wedding centrepiece, eco wedding Queen B pure beeswax pillar candles doubled as wedding favours and eco table decoration

     

    bomboniere idea, bomboniere gift, wedding favour, wedding centrepiece, wedding table decoration Bomboniere gift idea, wedding table decoration and eco wedding ambience all rolled into one

     

    If we’ve lit your wedding or event (no matter how big or how small) and you have beautiful, professional quality photographs showing the candlelight on the occasion that you’d be happy for us to share, please email them to me and we’ll give you a $25.00 credit on your next order.  We’re also happy to provide credit to the photographer.

    Sweetness & light and all things bright,

    Cate xx

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  • Luxury wedding at Catalina lit with bee created light

    Another day, another amazing event lit with bee created light from Queen B!  Our brief for this occasion was to light a luxury, eco wedding at Catalina, Rose Bay.  Flowers by Grandiflora.

    The ambience for this occasion was created with two types of candles:

    1. Firstly, we created bespoke candles for the bride and groom featuring the design on their wedding invitation.  We made 4 candles in total which were placed with a large floral feature as guests walked into the venue.
      wedding candle table centrepiece, eco wedding, sustainable wedding, luxury wedding, Wedding table centrepiece - personalised unity candle for luxury eco weddings
      unity candle, wedding candle ceremony, unity candle ceremony, beeswax pillar candle, beeswax candle Luxury wedding unity candle centrepiece decorations
      unity candle, wedding candle, wedding centrepiece decorations Bespoke design wedding unity candles as wedding centrepiece decorations - pure beeswax and hand-painted
    2. Secondly, our 8-9hr tealights were placed in small fishbowls at each guest place setting... best actress in a supporting role to the incredible wedding centrepiece flowers done by Grandiflora
      wedding centrepiece, wedding candle, wedding table decoration, Wedding table centrepiece flowers + ring of beeswax tealight candles in mini fishbowls. More wedding ideas.
      wedding ideas, table centrepieces, eco wedding, luxury wedding, designer wedding Wedding table centrepiece ideas - for your eco friendly luxury wedding. Eco wedding supplies and gifts.
      table centrepieces, eco friendly wedding table decorations, wedding ideas Table centrepiece flowers with beeswax tealight wedding ideas for eco friendly wedding supplies and gifts
      wedding table centrepiece, wedding idea, unique table decorations, eco wedding, sustainable event The simplicity of nature - bee created light courtesy of pure beeswax candles from Queen B and gorgeous flowers (pollinated by bees)!
      wedding ideas, table centrepieces, eco wedding, luxury wedding, designer wedding Table centrepieces - combine beautiful flowers with pure beeswax tealight candles for gorgeous ambience and luxury style

       

    Funnily, my last boss (the lovely one who thought I was mad for giving up my well paying job to do Queen B) was at this wedding and seated next to a guest who upon seeing the candles burning recognised them immediately as being pure beeswax and started raving on about these 'Queen B' pure beeswax candles that she buys online etc etc.  He was proud as punch!  That was only two degrees of separation to a customer I had never met before but who had bought online for years.  It's lovely how things come full circle.

    If you're organising an eco wedding or sustainable event and you're looking for ambience that packs a punch and unique ideas, give us a buzz.  As an Australian manufacturer we can move fast and you can rest assured that you're hard earned money made a difference many times over - not just to creating an unforgettable event, but to the jobs supported by buying Queen B candles.

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