Frequently Asked Questions

Our tins weigh a minimum of 210g and are 80mm diameter and 55mm tall. Picture a short, standard tin of baked beans or tomatoes and you’ll have the right idea.
Around 20 hours of proper smelling goodness.
Mostly, Harper’s Bizarre is a candle business and we sell terrific candles.  But because this business is so personal to us, we want it to reflect our own values and we won’t own a business that supports animal cruelty. Not only that, but the way we run this business and the way we live our lives places our love of animals at the centre of pretty much everything we do (we even have a big cofy sofa for our dogs at our unit so they can come to work with us). We happily went through a lot of checks and hoops to carry The Vegan Society logo (they were just so helpful and nice – thanks Sarah!) to show that we don’t just state that we are a cruelty free business that is against animal testing, but that we are recognised by an official body to prove it – and neither are our suppliers.  Why do we not believe in animal testing? Because we’re not worth it.
Around 20 hours of proper smelling goodness.
We don’t want someone wearing real fur to also be carrying a bag with the Harper’s Bizarre logo on it.  That would imply that we think it’s ok.  We don’t think it’s ok.
We do run out of certain candles from time to time, but they are usually listed again within a few days. If you drop us an email we can probably tell you when that will be. Other candles are seasonal. Summer candles run from April until August inclusive and our Autumn/Winter range from September to December inclusive.
We can sometimes make this happen (drop us an email and we’ll let you know) but as a general rule of thumb, an experiment is just that. Make the most of the one you have!
Yes – absolutely. The candles are all handmade in small batches. I designed, drew and wrote every logo, leaflet and label. Everything is printed in our office and that’s where we run all the admin side of Harper’s Bizarre too. The labels are printed and cut up by us and we even stick them on the tins. The stall that we use at markets was made by us and the wood was bought from The Wood Shop down the road because we support local traders wherever we can. I even hand stitched all the bunting on the stall, although sewing is not my strong point and I looked like I self-harmed by the end of it.  As businesses go, this is about as handmade as we can get it.
Unfortunately, the short answer is no for a number of reasons, mostly to do with our insurance. Melted wax and fragrance oils can be pretty dangerous stuff. For one thing, overheated soya wax combusts and for another, raw fragrance can be a skin irritant. Also, making our candles is enormously time consuming so unless you’re actually doing the fun hands on bit it’s potentially one of the dullest days that you could ever, ever have. Think “watching paint dry” and substitute it for “watching candles set” and then stand up all day until your feet hurt while you’re doing it. Secondly, we invested a lot of time and money in Harper’s Bizarre to create the right fragrance blends and the right finished products. In order to protect this little business, it’s wise to keep our secrets under our hats!
Candles are like anything – they’re easy when you know how. Whilst it isn’t the hardest craft, candles can be pretty time consuming, need quite a lot of space, a significant amount of safety awareness and it’s definitely messy (I consider that last one to be a plus). Soya wax can be more of a diva than Streisand so some of it is also about knowing how to handle what you’ve got. Getting the right fragrances in the right proportions into the right wax and then choosing the wick that suits that particular candle best requires time and patience (and money!) and you can expect to get it mostly wrong before it starts going right. You also need to be prepared to deal with waste in an environmentally sound and respectful way. You can buy candle making kits that take away all of the guess-work on websites like Amazon and this might be the best place to start.
I’ve been self employed and doing the stuff it takes to run Harper’s Bizarre for a number of years now so I’m used to it. In general I probably only spend a quarter of the time actually making candles (the fun bit). The rest is taken up with all the other stuff that even a small business like this requires. You have to be ready to deal with wholesale suppliers, law and legislation, accounts, retail, marketing, websites, customers and (queue Jaws music) the tax man. It’s not a get rich quick scheme because if it was I’d be writing to you from Barbados and the candles would be handmade by minions. You also need to know that at any one time at least one area of your business will be going wrong; i.e. your container supplier has run out and won’t have any more for two months or a best selling fragrance has been discontinued or your printer is out of ink and you have 200 labels to print by tomorrow and it’s Sunday so everything’s shut. Another good one was that it’s Christmas, it’s your busiest time and for no apparent good reason the clutch and hydraulics suddenly fail in the large vehicle you use to cart your business around (in the middle of a busy road where a horrid old man shouts at you from the opposite side of the road to “Get out and push it yourself”, testing everything nice that you think about yourself) and then three days later you get man-flu on top. All fun and games! The best piece of advice I was ever given was that going into business for yourself involves eating a s**t sandwich at least twice a day and having to smile while you chew (thanks dad).
Ok, bear with me because this is going to get wordy!

The Classification, Labelling and Packaging Regulation (EC) No. 1272/2008 is the EU’s implementation of the UN’s Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). It applies directly across the EU without being transposed into national law as from any new products made after June 1st 2015 and applies to non-cosmetic products containing hazardous chemicals, such as perfumes or essential oils. Our candles are a combination of an article (the wick, which functions as a carrier material) and a substance/mixture (the wax (non-hazardous and not included in CLP) and smell (around 8-10% of the finished candle)). Therefore, our candles are now in scope of the CLP Regulation.

CLP has made major changes to the way chemicals are classified and labelled in the the EU/EEA. It has introduced new pictograms, warning phrases, hazard statements, and criteria, with larger and more colourful labels too. We also have Safety Data Sheets for each candle. Some chemicals and essential oils will now need labelling to include these and others with relatively mild warnings will be labelled in a much more severe way – despite their properties being unchanged.

Our candles all carry the new warnings stating that where applicable the raw fragrance is a skin irritant and that they are hazardous to aquatic life. That’s the basics but the actual warnings will all be on the candles if you want more specific information. We always buy top grade fragrance and only use registered and reputable producers with whom we have a solid and longstanding working relationship.

So that means that whilst we haven’t changed anyting that we do as from 1 June 2015, any new products that we made have been labelled in accordance with CLP law and applies to our products containing fragrance or essential oils, such as candles, wax tarts, wax melts, diffusers etc. Please do bear in mind that despite scary looking names, some of these ingredients can be found naturally in things like strawberries so we’re not trying to use anything that could bring about the zombie apocalypse.

We only sell candles. Candle supplies is a whole other trade.
This little business carries a Registered Trademark, is subject to copyright and I fully understand my rights.  I defend Harper’s Bizarre with the same laid back attitude as a mother lion does her cubs.
I’m afraid that I don’t.  In the evening I mostly like to sit down and watch the box.
If you live locally or come to markets we do recommend smelling before you buy and have samples for each fragrance. It is at this point that customers should decide whether or not they like a fragrance enough to by it. Unfortunately due to postage costs, refunds and exchanges are not available on sales made from the website unless the candle proves to be faulty. If you want to ask about any fragrances before you buy them online, please do so and we will be more than happy to answer any questions that you may have. I’m sure that we can help you to make sure you’re happy with the ones that you order by telling us what you already know you do and do not like – but in the end the decision is yours.
Yes indeedy.  We have a super Barclaycard portable card machine gizmo :)
I’ll say it now; Harper’s Bizarre cannot (and will not) compete with factory made paraffin wax candles in terms of cost and mark up. This is a totally different sort of business.  The main criteria for me is that any shops interesting in stocking my candles would have good ethics and be owned by FRIENDLY people who really care about their business and their customers and don’t stock anything horrid like real fur or animal tested products.  I also don’t want to stock more than one shop in a given area.  The best thing to do is to contact me and have a chat.
Candles are fairly simple things and it’s pretty hard to break one! If they crack, they re-seal on the first burn. All of our candles are made using the same process and the same products, always in the same quantities. As each fragrance is made in small batches it would usually become clear if we had done something wrong because other customers would contact us with the same issue! The most common problems are is the “Tunnel of Wax Syndrome” where a burnt candle leaves a lot of unused wax around the outside of the container, making it difficult to re-light. We tell our customers in as many places as possible that the large 210g tins need to be burned for at least two hours at a time to avoid this problem, but the double wicks are there to negate tunneling anyway. Secondly, natural soya wax candles like to be stored in a cool place, but never in a cold place, and not next to a radiator or heat source (including lamps) and definitely not in direct sunlight. In winter time, being a natural product, soy wax tends to harden and this can sometimes result in the wax pool not being quite full but our candles will still throw fragrance and this is what they are made to do :) Lastly, DO NOT HOARD OUR CANDLES! These are a handmade, natural based product and they won’t appreciate being stored for months on end. Obviously, if we have got it wrong and sold you a faulty product please let us know so that we can apologise profusely and assure you that we have a refund or replace policy firmly in place – because happy customers are the only sort we want.
The clue is in the word “safety”. We need our customer to have as much information about how to burn candles safely and it is ALL in the leaflets that we give out and send with every purchase. We obsess about heat proof surface because it’s terrifying to us that so many candle users do not. We just want you guy to be safe. Please read our information and use it!
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