Frequently Asked Questions

Our large tins weigh around 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.  They will burn for around 30 hours when burn instructions are followed.  Small tins weigh around 115g and are 64mm diameter and 45mm tall.   They will burn for around 20 hours when burn instructions are followed.  Our wax melts come in a pack of six, with each melt being the same size as a small ice cube.  We find that each cube throws fragrance for the duration of 3-4 tealights, depending on the fragrance ordered.  Our reed diffusers are around 100ml with 9 reeds and each lasts for over a year (unless you place it too close to a heat source or in a sunny position).

It’s my surname so it’s easy for me to remember and I didn’t fancy punning.  That gets on my wick.

Mostly, Harper’s Candles is a business that makes and sells terrific home fragrance.  However, because what it does is so personal to some pretty longstanding beliefs, it to reflects personal values and I won’t own a company that supports animal cruelty. Not only that, but the way Harper’s Candles is run and the way we who work in it live our lives means that a love of animals and an absolute support for rescue animals lies pretty much at the centre of everything we do.  The company logo is Flora, my rescue Jack Russell, so it would be odd to not think about ethics with her on all of our labels.  There is even a big comfy dog sofa with lots of fluffy blankets at our unit so she can come to work too.  This business happily goes through a lot of checks and hoops to carry The Vegan Society logo to show that we don’t just state that we are a cruelty free business that is against animal testing, but that we are able to prove it.  Why do we not believe in animal testing? Because we’re not worth it and it’s about time that more companies raised the profile of ethical mainstream products.

Harper’s Candles is a mainstream business that happens to be vegan.  We are firm in the knowledge that everything with the Harper’s name on it can more than hold it’s own against any other fragranced product whether it be similarly ethical or three steps away from selling it’s grandmother to a circus. It’s simply that ethics dictate that there is no reason why this business should not be cruelty free and promote awareness about looking for similar branding in other products across the board to promote being animal friendly and maybe going to a rescue for a dog rather than buying one of those designer puppies (seriously y’all – they’re mongrels *coughs “Emperor’s new clothes”*).  I digress…  We at Harper’s don’t expect all of our customers to be vegan but it’s lovely to think that some might start buying non-animal tested shampoo or washing powder and definitely get a rescue dog instead of buying a puppy when they’re looking for a family pet as a result of meeting and chatting with the non-scary animal friendly candle folk who weren’t wearing hemp or attempting to beat them over the head with banners.  We eat chips quite a lot.  Seriously, we already have things in common. We use some of the profits from Harper’s Candles to support ethical charities, we promote and own rescue animals and none of us eats meat.  The Harper’s Candles unit is vegan friendly, from the candle supplies to the cleaning products.  Basically, we make awesome products and while we’re at it we’re just plain nice.

I don’t want someone wearing real fur to also be carrying a bag with the Harper’s Candles logo on it.  That’s my dog and that’s my name.  It would imply that I think it’s ok.  None of us at Harper’s think it’s ok.  I’m good that the lady at the NEC in November 2018 pointed me out to her friend when I quietly suggested that she might like to go and buy candles elsewhere because she had something dead wrapped round her head.  No need to fall out about it.  We enjoy telling people who wear fur that we don’t think it’s ok.  We don’t enjoy that in this day and age we still have to.

Fish don’t really like candles.  They’re tricky to light under water…  Seriously though, we get asked this due to some of the labelling we are obliged to carry.  Nothing that we use is animal tested and is cruelty free from source.  The fragrance in our candles is bad for fish and aquatic life so you have to make sure that they don’t get into waterways.  This can be done by disposing of the tins thoughtfully and not trying to give them to your fish as gifts or adorn their tanks with them.  Fish are not big on mood lighting either.  It does not mean that we are bad, bad people and hate fish and tadpoles.  It simply means that what we use isn’t very good for them and their watery kin.  This is the same as chocolate is bad for dogs.  Lots of chocolate is vegan despite this.  People just know not to feed chocolate to dogs.  Now you know not to give candles to fish.  Same thing.  Salt is very vegan (we know as we put in on chips all the time) but it’s harmful to frogs and salmon alike.  Please do not email us and tell us that we are bad, bad people and ask for a refund and return at our expense.  We are not bad, bad people.  We are nice people.  Some things just belong in their rightful place.

We do run out of certain candles from time to time, but they are usually listed again within a few days. If you join the waitlist of the candle, melt or diffuser you’re after then the website will let you know as soon as we list it as being back in stock.  Other fragrances are seasonal. Our Autumn/Winter range is available from August until February whilst stocks last.  Christmas fragrances are available from October to December inclusive.  If you can’t see the candle you want at all, then it’s likely we stopped making it to give us some room for new, shiny ones.

Our reed diffusers last a very, very long time.  Some of ours at home have been on the go for over a year now.  We think it’s a bit hinky to have a Christmas reed diffuser doing its stuff in August…  so basically it’s because we’re a little bit OCD and we’re saving you from yourselves.

Pop one of the wax melt cubes out of the shell packaging, or one of our deli-pot melts (broken in half or whole depending on the size of your melter), into the top dish of your warmer. Do not add water or oil.  Or bubble bath.  Or ketchup. In fact don’t add anything.  Just the melt cube.  Moving on….

To begin using your fragranced wax melts pop a tealight into your warmer or turn your wax warmer on if it is an electrical one.  Always place warmers on a level surface away from drafts, curtains etc and anything flammable (following general candles safety instructions is best!). The wax will now begin to melt and your room will be filled with lovely smells.  Turn off your melter or blow out the tealight after around 4 hours (again, like the candle safety instructions).

Melted wax does not evaporate.  After a few uses (the number depends on the fragrance you choose and your preference on how strong you like your rooms to be fragranced) the fragrance just dissipates and leaves plain but used wax that needs to be cleaned out.  Don’t worry.  This is the work of seconds.

Once the wax has cooled, you will either need to scrape the wax out of your melting dish (we use plastic utensils for this to avoid damaging our ceramic melters) or warm it as normal for just a couple of minutes to loosen the base layer a little and gently nudge it to pop the wax out.  Do not discard used wax down a drain.

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. As it says on the side of the tin, make the most of the one you have!

If you’re a lucky blighter then you’re reading this because you are a proud possessor of a voucher code.  We love voucher codes.  We love money off anything!  Simply pop whatever you want into your shopping basket and checkout as usual.  On the checkout screen select the Coupon box, write the code in it and click on Apply Coupon.  Voila!

(Incidentally, the website calls them coupons but we call them vouchers.  Why?  Because we are unable to say the word coupon without sounding like the lawyer in Jurassic Park who says “coupon” like it’s the dirtiest word in the book.  Haven’t seen Jurassic Park…? Really…?? You guys still exist??!)

Yes – absolutely.  This business is a lean, mean fragrance machine but it’s all done in house.  The candles are all handmade in small batches. The designs, drawings, sayings, leaflets and labels… it’s all entirely done by us and it always has been.  Everything is printed in our office and that’s where we run all the admin side of Harper’s Candles 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 even the bunting on it is hand stitched, although sewing is not a strong point and I looked like I self-harmed by the end of it.  This website… well I’m writing this into it so I guess that this sort of counts too.  As businesses go, this is about as handmade as we can get it.

The short answer is no for a number of reasons, mostly to do with our insurance.  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, I invested a lot of time and money in Harper’s Candles 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!

This little business carries a Registered Trademark, is subject to copyright and I fully understand my rights.  I love my business, I’ve worked incredibly hard for it and it pays my mortgage.  I defend it with the same laid back attitude as a mother lion does her cubs.

Oh how we hate being asked this because it’s just awkward.  No.  Make it stop.

Candles are like anything – they’re easy when you know how.  They can be tricky little blighters, need a lot of space, a significant amount of safety awareness, it’s definitely messy (I consider that last one to be a plus) 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 running Harper’s Candles for a while now so I’m used to the hoops. In general only around a quarter of the working week is spent actually making candles (the fun bit). The rest is taken up with all the other stuff. 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. 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 was Christmas 2015 (the busiest time where sleep is a memory) and for no apparent good reason the clutch and hydraulics suddenly fail in the large vehicle you used 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 part of the rock and roll lifestyle.  The best piece of advice I was ever given was that going into business for yourself involves eating a sh*t sandwich at least twice a day and having to smile while you chew (thanks dad).  I love it but if it was easy I’d be rich.

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 can be 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 do buy in packaging and all of that is recyclable, planet friendly and would probably pat kittens and make them breakfast on the way if it could.  We also reuse a lot of packaging and that includes non-recyclable packaging and fill that we get from some of the deliveries to the business and from other businesses we know who don’t use packaging they receive so pass it on to us (thanks Denise at Samsara!).  Thus we recycle and re-use it.  We would love it if all suppliers used recycled packaging that patted kittens and to be fair, most of them do. The bottom line is that we do the best we can in an imperfect world.  Our advice is to re-use non-recyclable packaging and make it recycled from that point onward rather than ending up in a landfill.

We get asked this.  We really do.

We make a Jaffa Cake candle.  It is not possible to get jaffa cake essential oil – so no.  We think that we get asked this because people assume that natural means safe and healthy.  Lots of the warnings on fragrances are for natural products.  We use a mixture of natural and top quality synthetic fragrances.

I’m afraid that we don’t.  In the evening we mostly like to sit down, see our friends and families and watch the box.

If you met us at an event we do recommend smelling before you buy and have testers 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 delivery costs, refunds and exchanges are not available on sales made from the website unless the candle proves to be faulty. We try to describe each fragrance as accurately and concisely as we can but if you want to ask about any of them before you buy them online, please do so and we will be more than happy to answer any questions that you may have. We’re sure that we can 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.

Go to Amazon, search “Game Of Thrones Entire Box Sets”, put in basket, checkout and wait.  Shop for snacks and beer like there’s going to be an apocalypse. When the box sets arrive tell your work you have The Plague.  Load dvd’s into player.  Stay inside for a month surviving on snacks and beer with the curtains closed.  Do not sleep.  Problem solved.

Yes indeedy.  We have a super Barclaycard portable card machine gizmo complete with contactless.  Cool bananas, huh?!

We do, but we limit them to one shop per area and don’t want to be in any outlet that sells real fur, animal tested products or any produce that compromises our ethics (fois gras – seriously bleurgh!).  We love working with independents because we are one.  Please click on the retail form at the bottom of the website and fill out the form.

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.  Follow the safety and burn instructions that we give you in all of our leaflets, on this website and written on our packaging. 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.

Check out our social media and count the number of pictures posted by customers that follow safety instructions with the same vehemence that my cats follow my insistence that they shouldn’t chase birds.  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!

No, they are metal and metal conducts heat. Never use one of our tin lids to stand your candle on. Not even a bit. Even if you didn’t know before and you’ve been doing it for years. We use ceramic tiles.

If you follow the candle safety instructions on our containers, on this website, on the leaflets you will have received with your candle purchase and if you listened when you met us at a market while we were talking (because we do talk about candle safety with pretty much every customer we see) then achieving any of the above will be fairly difficult, although it could get you a nomination for the Darwin Awards. The candle safety warnings are there for a reason.

Would you put a hot cup of coffee on your mantelpiece/table without a coaster…?  Seriously.  You have to follow safety instructions even if you have used candles your entire life from birth and got away with it so far.  Change your habits.  You’ve just been lucky and need to use proper heat proof surfaces and follow the instructions!  We put pictures on them and try to make them quirky and as friendly and non-lecturey as possible.  We run competitions and Lisa makes lovely info-social-media-thingies.  It’s so easy to follow them and not have an issue.  Let’s all do that, huh? 🙂

No – people are dangerous. Please see above.

Yes.  Absolutely.  This business has done little but prove to us that the majority of people are nothing but funny, kind and nice.  We get buckets of animal pictures, lovely emails, awesome chats and laughs at our stand when we are out and about.  We see some posts on social media and in blogs about what we make that have us messaging one another saying how touched we are followed by lots of hearts, kisses and smileys.  We have people who we see all the time at our stands who just quietly smell, choose what they want and don’t want to chat too much, but just enjoy what we do.  We love you guys too.  We work so hard to make sure that what we make for y’all is the best that it can be and you truly warm the cockles of our hearts.  Without you there would be no us.  Sincerely.  Thank you.

Number of customers since April 1st 2012: Literally tens of thousands.

Number of rude customers since April 1st 2012: 5



Safety Instructions:

Don’t leave candles burning longer than 4 hours at a time or where you can’t see them.  Make sure they’re on a stable flat and fire resistant/heat proof surface.  Neither should you leave candles where they can be reached by children or pets.  Keep them away from drafts and anything flammable.  Keep wicks trimmed to around 5mm and don’t let any foreign materials, such as pieces of wick, fall into the wax.  Do not get wet.  Do not eat.

General Instructions:

* ALWAYS follow the candle safety instructions.

* Store candles at room temperature in dry places, out of the cold or direct sunlight, and away from extremes of heat.

* Burning candles for too long can cause wick damage, the wick to turn back on itself into the wax pool and is generally unsafe.

* Avoid burning container candles down to the very bottom.  This can cause scorching.  Leave the last half an inch of wax.

* Always light both wicks in our two wick candles.

* Fragrance is carried from the melted wax, not the flame.  If you don’t burn candles long enough to create a full wax pool they won’t burn properly.  Candles have memories.  Once a candle has started down a bad burn route, it will continue.

* As a general rule of thumb, for each inch across a candle, divide by the number of wicks and that’s the number of hours you should burn a candle for to get a full wax pool.

* Keep your wicks trimmed to around 5mm.  The majority of the soot comes from not keeping wicks trimmed!

* Don’t let the flames get too high.  This can cause too much heat and your candle will burn down much faster.  Tall flames can also be a hazard, stress containers and cause glass to shatter.

* If your candle is not burning properly, if it flickers or smokes, extinguish it, let it cool and then trim wicks before re-lighting.

* Take good care of glass.  Be aware that tiny imperfections will occur in used glassware and this can cause shattering.

* Place all burning candles at least 4 inches apart.

* Soot is inevitable as it comes from burning the wick.  We use high quality cotton wicks, but there will still be soot.  Black marks on containers can be wiped off with a paper towel and not placing candles close to walls helps prevent soot marks on your paintwork.

* It is normal for a pure soy wax candle to release a little fragrance oil if exposed to large changes in temperature.  Wipe off any excess oil with a tissue, wash hands and burn as usual.  It won’t happen again after the first burn.