Updated: Aug 21
During lockdown I was sitting at my computer renaming images for our website after a photoshoot. I was so bored of renaming images I turned to Instagram as you do! I was aware that “Makers Market from Home” organised by the super talented Andy Greenacre was taking place over the second May bank holiday weekend. During Instagram Live he was interviewing Concrete & Wax which grabbed my attention to the point I wanted to see more of what they do. Before I stumbled across Concrete & Wax, I had meetings with other handmade candle companies, but they were not fitting our USP. I was looking for that something that was truly unique and that is what you get from Concrete & Wax. Finding truly unique products for the gallery is super important to us. It makes our products standout from all other Galleries and Gift Shops around the North Essex area.
So now you ask what is truly unique about this product?
It combines my love of candles (not in a glass jar) with the unique and super cool texture of concrete. Every piece has been cleverly designed by Mr Concrete (aka Alex) to create a unique collection of modular stackable candleware. Mrs Wax (aka Laura) binds her passion for light and fragrances in creating candles that have unique smells, to the point for a man that doesn’t care for Christmas candles now likes the Mrs Wax Christmas candle. There is hope for me yet! All the products are handmade in their lovely workshop in Suffolk which Rob and I had the honour of visiting.
When we met Laura and Alex, what immediately came across was that they are so passionate about their product it’s empowering. They both talked us through the different design and manufacturing processes they go through. The passion and thoroughness shows even in the packaging and you will see that when you buy one of there products from us. They also spoke about sourcing locally, using recyclable materials where possible and having minimum waste, excess concrete is turned into concrete samples and unused wax turns into tea-lights. They used a local print company for their packaging. Each element is hand finished to such detail I’m in awe of. As a customer you don’t just get a product you get an experience. From the minute you open the box to see your purchase to then handling the candle box and the detail on that box, to the lid to the candle wrapping, to the feel of the candle and to the resistance the concrete holder inside the box. The box is so beautiful I will most likely will end up with a collection of boxes as well as a collection of candleware. I cannot express the attention to detail this company goes to, to create that truly unique customer experience.
So, you have heard how our journey began with Concrete & Wax, now I want to introduce you to Mr Concrete and Mrs Wax.
Alex Sommer (Mr Concrete) and Laura Keller (Mrs Wax) are a married design duo. They live in a sixteenth century cottage in rural Suffolk with their beautiful daughter Marley now aged 7 and slipper-snapper puppy Vesper whom have all visited Finchingfield and the gallery and had a great day out by all accounts. Marley went home with “Dillion” a ceramic dog from the gallery (by Flora Olney) purchased with her pocket money, it was super cute, Marley counting out her pocket money for her purchase.
The couple have worked for over two decades in the fashion industry, and the last 15 of which through their creative consultancy 2Som Studio, designing and providing trend forecasts to many global casual and sportswear brands.
In 2018 the couple decided to combine their creativity with a new focus and, after many months of development, launched Concrete & Wax, a collection of modular and stackable concrete holders and natural wax pillar candles. All are hand poured in their lovely Suffolk workshop. When speaking with the couple their motivation was not to bring another candle company into an already saturated marketplace, but instead to deliver interesting and unique products that are built to last. The fact that all the holders are designed to fit any standard tealight as well as their own demonstrates the attention to detail that that this couple care so much about. They are always thinking about the customer, this is what I love about this product so much. You would think that you would have to continue to buy your candles from Concrete & Wax, no that’s not the case as you pop in any standard tealight. If you think about it concrete will always outlast the candle.
Where did it all start?
After Marley was born the couple knew they needed to adjust their career and travel less. They batted with a few ideas over the years but never felt the idea was the right one. Alex started tinkering around with concrete in the garage – pouring interesting concrete creations into anything and everything he could find from recycled butter and fruit containers to a mixing bowls, I recall Laura telling me at our first meeting over the phone that she would go looking for a bowl in the kitchen and it would be gone and when she looked for it, it was in the garage. From Alex’s tinkering about inspired Laura to experiment with wax and that’s where they believed that the two contrasting material would work together. Laura’s trials were again in recycled Pringles and Twiglet containers. After trial and error, but constantly learning and evolving suddenly Alex became Mr Concrete and Laura became Mrs Wax!
Alex’s love for modular, intelligent design in clothing transferred easily into the stackable, interchangeable collection of holders and candles that the couple have developed today. As the customer you can then put together a different arrangement to suit the interior of your home in the same way you put together an outfit to go to a special event. However, as the concrete will always outlast the candle you have a stable interior in your home, but you can change the scene to suit your mood! You are not going to find anything like this in the market so go check it out on our website you are in for a real treat…
“Every piece of concrete has unique surface characteristics because of the drying process where tiny air bubbles can form, meaning there will always be slight imperfections. We embrace this, it is part of the design and makes each piece unique. Each piece has a hand-stamped branded cork foot applied to its base. A soft cloth is used to apply a natural oil coating to the concrete surface to protect from any wax marks or drips.”