Fragrance and homewares
Launched in 2013 by Becky Hutley, Hutwoods is a Sydney-based company specialising in wood-wick scented candles – among the first of their kind in Australia. The collection includes candles in ivory glass tumblers or copper and stainless steel vessels, maxi tea lights, reed diffusers and handcrafted wooden candle holders. It has recently added a range of body products derived from native Australian botanicals.
“I light a candle as soon as I get home and find the combination of candlelight, a beautiful scent and the crackling wood wick very calming. I also love how smell conjures up memories and powerful emotions.”Becky Hutley Hutwoods founder
How did you come to launch Hutwoods?
I’d been working in sales for most of my career, but always dreamed of running my own business. I started making candles as a hobby in mid-2013, and it quickly became clear that I’d found something I was truly passionate about. I spent months meticulously testing different waxes, wicks and fragrances. I challenged myself to learn everything I possibly could, trialling different methods until I’d created a product I believed was unique.
I then organised a market stall to get feedback. While it was initially on a small scale, I invested a lot of time and effort in the set up, signage and logo. The reaction was overwhelmingly positive, which made me decide that this was something to put my heart and soul into. When our first retail store got in touch, I was ready to work on Hutwoods full-time, but my husband suggested I wait until it was stocked in 20 retail outlets. I don’t think I’ve ever been more determined in my life, literally going out and introducing myself to home and gift shops, and giving out samples and brochures until I’d achieved that goal! Within six months of starting, I quit my job to concentrate on Hutwoods.
Why candles and home fragrances?
I’d always appreciated beautiful fragrances and loved the way that lighting a candle could completely change the atmosphere of a room. I light a candle as soon as I get home and find the combination of candlelight, a beautiful scent and the crackling wood wick very calming. I also love how smell has the ability to conjure up memories and powerful emotions. We make a lot of candles for weddings and regularly receive feedback that whenever a couple burns their wedding fragrance, it instantly takes them back to their magical day.
How did you discover your signature wood wicks?
When I first started making candles, wood wick candles were very difficult to come by. I loved the soft crackling sound they made – it reminded me of sitting in front of a relaxing log fire and brought back memories of my childhood. There were very few candle brands using them at the time and we saw an opportunity to pioneer them. The process to make a wood wick candle is more complex than with a cotton wick and we had real issues at the beginning to source a good-quality wick provider. Thankfully, I came across my current suppliers and have been using them ever since. The wicks are made from a combination of soft and hard wood, which burns beautifully.
Your candle fragrances are very delicate and refined. Take us through the process of developing a blend.
Launching a new fragrance requires hours and hours of experimenting and must pass many different tests. So when we launch a new scent, it’s taken months of research. We regularly trial hundreds of different fragrances and less than 5% make it to a final blend. Smell is so personal that we try to create options for different environments and moods. I also think it comes down to the nose of the maker. Personally, I’m not a fan of overly rich or sweet candles, so I’m always very careful about what ingredients we blend together and prefer to take a more delicate approach. Ensuring the right balance of notes is critical to the final fragrance.
Who do you work with to manufacture your products?
My team of staff and I make all our products at our studio and shop based in Caringbah, NSW. This works well, as new customers get to see behind the scenes and appreciate how everything is handmade. It’s also a great tool for attracting customers, as when we’re creating a new batch, they can smell the fragrance 50 metres up the road. A lot of people pop in when we’re in the middle of making. I designed our wooden candle holders, as we wanted something to showcase our range of maxi tealights. I’m a big fan of pastel colours and wanted a product that complemented our candle range’s packaging. The holders are handmade by a local carpenter who does an exceptional job.
You’ve now moved into body products – how did you approach this?
Launching our body range has taken 18 months of planning. We didn’t have the expertise to develop these ourselves, so went searching for a specialist product developer based in Australia. After a lot of meetings, we found a supplier that specialises in 100% natural body products. This was important, as we wanted this range to build on our philosophy of striving to have a positive impact on wellbeing. For us, it was about creating a quality product that our customers could have 100% confidence in putting on their skin. Australia is also home to some incredible native ingredients, which has allowed us to create blends with less common ingredients such as blue cypress, lemon myrtle and Kakadu plum.
Where do you see Hutwoods moving into the future?
We’re always looking at new ways we can bring to life our brand mission of ‘encouraging everyone to enjoy a daily dose of calmness and relaxation’. A lot has to be said for taking a few minutes out of your day to focus on yourself and your own wellbeing. We have a few ideas we’re currently exploring, but they’re at the very early stages. We’d also love to increase our stockists and build our brand both locally and internationally. We’re initially focusing on the UK and US, where we currently have a small presence. Five years from now, I’d like to think we’ll have grown our current team of staff, expanded our product range and continued to build on our reputation for high-quality Australian-made products – hopefully recognised on a global scale!read less