09.07.18

Thoughtful, imagined, minimal. These are the words Posie Candles founders Ashleigh Sampson and Casie Brooker feel best capture their craft. Though always finding joy in the ritual of candle burning, the two found it challenging to discover scents that carried more earthy and woody notes, so while planning for a trip through America and Mexico, they began experimenting.

Casie and Ash’s travels would go on to inform so much of their creations, with Posie’s scents often intricately tied to memory. With each scent carefully designed to evoke a moment in time, the pair’s collection quickly found their way into the homes of many near and far who have come to love their unique blend of fragrances.

Finding their home in Bangalow and a beautiful, light-filled studio space to call their own in Byron Bay, Casie and Ash have joined a succession of local makers working to create and celebrate the handmade.

How do you both typically start your days?

We generally start our day with a coffee at our local café and a walk with our dog Frankie. We discuss how our day looks, what we have on, orders in progress, the typical day to day in running a small business. We have our hands in many pots and whilst busy at times, we also feel it allows us to really connect with the brand and leave our fingerprint on everything we do.

How has becoming candle-makers changed your sense of smell?

Since working with fragrance we are definitely more acutely aware of different smells, and each scent’s tone and hue. Typically, a scent may be described as sweet, earthy or fresh however we also tend to reflect on how it makes you feel; can it be aligned to a texture, be it a soft or light type of blend. Candle making and working with fragrance has expanded our sense of smell, it’s a whole new world and we’re excited to continue to explore. 

What does your creative process look like from concept to finished product?

Our scents are inspired from a number of experiences, places and people in our lives. When we develop a scent we have in mind, our aim is to recreate particular elements from that memory or moment in time.

We sketch out the characteristics of each scent idea and how that will transfer across whilst being interpreted through scent. From here begins the experimenting with fragrance notes and oils. Sometimes working with the complexities of various oils and wax, our initial concept or analogies take a little time to come full circle. With each blend comes a lot of testing and burning to ensure that whilst we have captured what we are after, we have the scent throw right - does the blend perform well when lit, does it fill the space and create that sensory experience.

What values are important to you when creating Posie? How do these show up in the process?

I think if you look back to when you were a child, even an adult, there is a proudness or a sense of achievement when you create something, when you have hand-crafted, be it an artwork, a piece of furniture or even a great meal. It’s that sense of “we made it” and I believe being proud of that creation shows through in the process.

We want to be accountable in our production, where we source our raw materials and transparent in how our community can also benefit in keeping the process local. For us, crafting the products by hand in Byron Bay we know we are able to ensure each piece reflects these values. This thought process becomes contagious and sets our intention to then create products that are high quality and within reach of the general consumer.

Paint a picture of your studio space when it’s at its ideal for creativity.

We feel most inspired in our studio space of a morning. You’ll find copal incense burning whilst the easterly sun is still rising to its peak. We have such beautiful morning light and it’s definitely our most photogenic and time of day. We also choose a blend to burn, sometimes a few at a time to create a mix of fragrances.

Throughout the day our playlist will change depending on our mood, be it one of us working solo for the day or the time of day tells us we need some added energy. We find there are always those artists who appear on high rotation. We tend to keep Ryan Adam’s close by, Dan Auerbach, Alabama Shakes, and Khruangbin to name a few, and then there are times we let shuffle do the work.

Upstairs we have created a work space that also functions as a photography studio. We were lucky enough to find an amazing second-hand worn leather sofa alongside our Pampa rug, a contrast in textures with its soft weave and green tea-dyed wool. Anytime we need some time out from the studio, we head upstairs to retreat.

What drew you to build your business and create out of Byron Bay? Why here rather than elsewhere?

Aside from the physical attributes in Byron’s landscape and surrounds, there is a growing community of makers, creatives and small business owners, some of which we have been able to collaborate with. In a case of fortunate timing we were both ready for a sea change when Posie was in its infancy. The idea to create Posie came about whilst living in Sydney, and it was at this same time we had been contemplating a move from Sydney to Byron Bay.

The two seemed to go hand in hand - making the break from city life and our careers provided us the chance to go all in on the business, take a leap of faith and trust that we could create the vision we had.

What do you want Posie to add to the spaces they are brought into?

It’s about the experience that comes with burning a Posie candle - the discovery and rediscovery of scents that are familiar yet unexpected. Each scent has been carefully developed to evoke a memory or moment in time. We love hearing stories of how our scents resonate in such different and personal ways with people who burn our candles. We hope to continue to encapsulate and add a sense of nostalgia to spaces.

What are your personal favourites from the range? Why?

Casie: VAL -  a blend of rose, sandalwood and yuzu is a special one for me and its sentiment. It is named after my grandmother Valerie. I grew up spending my school holidays with her, quite often outside playing and helping in this amazing rose garden she tended. It brings back such vivid memories and much like this blend, I can’t pass by a rose without thinking of her.

Ash: SUR – a blend of cedarwood, amber and patchouli. It was the very first blend we created and I will never forget the moment we burned it for the first time. It took me straight back to our travels in Big Sur, California. It will always be a favourite.

What scents are you currently creating? Give us a little sneak peek into upcoming products or projects.

We’re currently working on some exciting collaborations and are in the early stages of designing new products that we hope to launch later in the year. Most recently we have put the finishing touches to a new blend in the collection ‘OUD’ true to its name it features a blend of oud wood, which originates from the Agar tree and notes of geranium and parsley seed which round out a grounding, verdure scent.

Photography by Anwyn Howarth