Heart warming, soul soothing and uplifting...

The ethos of Dorset-based Fox and Willow is to create luxury scented, vegan, natural wax candles that support your eco-conscious lifestyle and enlighten your home.

The company was only officially launched in August 2020 in the midst of the pandemic but has proven just the tonic for so many customers in these challenging times.

Fi Clark, from Ferndown made her vegan candle vision a reality and has created a brand with a conscience, which was vitally important to her - and that's why she is our Trader of the Week.

Explaining why she set it up, Fi said: "Fox & Willow started as a ‘passion project’ which quickly turned into a little side hustle which was launched officially in August 2020, I had wanted to create a vegan candle collection years before! Due the usual life/ time/responsibility constraints, having the time to really put everything into it was really difficult, the pandemic really allowed me the time to concentrate fully, get creative and gave me the opportunity to throw myself into the website design, marketing and product/label design too! "

What was the aim when you started the business?

"I’ve been buying candles since before I can remember, usually high-end brands (which can get very expensive! I spent a fortune at Jo Malone for our wedding!) My vision was to create a collection that had all the hall marks of my favourite candles, the incredible scents and amazing hot throw (how good the candle smells when lit) but pairing this with sustainable, vegan and cruelty free ingredients, all wrapped with a more personal home developed, yet laid back luxury feel!

When my hair and make-up business was hit hard by the pandemic, I knew this was a now or never time to let the creative juices flow. My aim was to create beautiful products, never did I think that just a few months after launching my candles would be stocked in some incredible local businesses such as The East Street Deli in Wimborne, Wild Roots in Poole’s new Kingland Crescent and the gorgeous online homewares collection at River & Ivy. "

It is an impressive ethos which Fi says: "is to create handmade, luxury products paired with sustainable, eco conscious, cruelty free & vegan ingredients. All our packaging is either recyclable or biodegradable. Even our labels and packing tape are vegan and recyclable. I love to encourage customers to reuse & upcycle their empty candle containers too!"

Fox & Willow offers both vegan candles and vegan wax melts, using 100% natural & sustainable waxes and cruelty free fragrance blends. The original collection includes stunning fragrance pairings such as Blackberry & Bay (the ‘Bramble’ candle), Pear & Freesia (the ‘Summer Dancing’ candle) and the best seller ‘Neptune’ which is a beautiful Sea salt & Sage. Fi also created her limited-edition concrete ‘Kintsugi Collection’ as a nod to her love of art history.

These stunning candles are hand created and hand painted, inspired by the ‘Fox & Willows’ ethos is to create handmade, luxury products paired with sustainable, eco conscious, cruelty-free and vegan ingredients’ Japanese art of repairing broken ceramics by hand painting the cracks with gold leaf, allowing the break to become the beauty of the piece.

The Christmas collection included fragrances such as Baked Bread, Gingerbread & Mulled Wine, which were a huge hit with customers! Baked Bread has also been very popular.

Most recently Fi has been working on a new range created around mindfulness & self-care which, she says, is more important now than ever. This range features " 3 key scent blends to create a collection curated with purpose, kindness and love at the very heart of it. The first in this collection is ‘Mysa’ which is a Swedish translation for the word ‘Snuggle’ This is a stunning, calming & soul hugging fragrance blend of Magnolia Blossom, crushed musk infused with vanilla pods and sultry sandalwood.

Why was the vegan and eco-friendly aspect so important?

"The older I get the more acutely aware I am of our impact on our planet so to create a brand without having a conscience just wasn’t even an option to me. Reducing our waste is critical so that was at the forefront of my mind when choosing containers, packaging and labels. I’ve always used cruelty free and vegan products throughout my hair & make up career and in my personal life so that was important to incorporate. I don’t understand why, if something can be created without harming animals, why should it need to be! There is always a more conscious route to take and we all have a responsibility to do so."

How important is it to you to keep suppliers, products etc locally sourced in Dorset?

"This is really important to me, where I can I source my ingredients as close to home as possible. Almost all of my range has been created using solely UK suppliers. When a company in Dorset can provide everything for my brand, I’ll never have to shop outside of Dorset again!

Are you inspired by where we live when it comes to the creation of products?

"Absolutely! Living in Dorset we really are so spoilt with the beautiful outdoors all around us! Our ‘Neptune’ Sea Salt & Sage was of course inspired by our beautiful beaches, the sand covered dunes and soothing sounds of the sea. Our ‘Bramble’ Blackberry & Bay takes me straight to the forest, those gorgeous woody notes! "

Did you have to undertake any training to set up the business? Or do you have a background in the industry?

"Yes, I completed an Aromatherapy diploma, and a course in candle making! So much of creating candles is trial and error. It takes months of testing to create just one scent, so the process isn’t quick, easy or for the impatient! What works for one chandler won’t work for another. That’s what I love about this process, it’s all so personal and intricate.

What’s next for Fox & Willow?

I’m working on the new Mindfulness Collection, new containers, new laid back luxury scents all crafted with mindfulness, wellness & self-care at the heart of it. I feel we all need a bit more of that in our lives! I’m also excited to see more of my candle collections in incredible local stores! And of course, continually fine tuning, experimenting with new fragrance blends, connecting with our incredible customers and followers and generally building the brand. I’m excited to let the brand grow organically."