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Two Best Friends' Lockdown Hobby Turned Cult Candle Business

Studio Visit

Ruby Kannava and Emma Cutri are best friends who have lived together for five years, and have both watched one another grow seperate small businesses in that time. Emma is one half of local fashion label Sister Studios, while Ruby is at the helm of her own handcrafted jewellery business, Kannava Jewels. But there’s more where that came from!

During the extended lockdowns of 2020, the enterprising pair experimented with at-home candle-making to satisfy their creative cravings, and it worked so well that they winged it and launched a fledgling brand to sell their colourful, handmade creations. Blazed Wax was more than an overnight sensation; the first drop of candles sold out just hours after their website went live!

We recently visited the duo at their Brunswick studio space, which they share with other Northside Melbourne businesses: Hello SISI, Trinket Solo and Katie Maud. And of course, their matching poodles, Bilbo and Beanie!

20th July, 2021

Blazed Wax was started at Ruby and Emma’s shared home, so it makes sense that some of its operations still run from here! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Ruby (left) and Emma (right) packing orders and doing brand things. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Photo – Courtesy of Blazed Wax.

The pair run their existing businesses from a studio space in Brunswick, which they share with other independent creative businesses. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

The candles are made using 100% soy wax, which Rubby and Emma melt, dye and pour into moulds, which they make themselves. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Emma is one half of fashion labelSister Studios, while Ruby is at the helm of her own jewellery brand, Kannava Jewels. Between them they have bucketloads of business smarts and creativity! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

A joint venture was always on the horizon for the besties, and now it’s finally happened! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

From start to finish, one of the Dante two-toned candles takes about five hours to complete. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Shapes and shades all lined up in a row! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

The pyramid-like Dante candle, and the squat, bulbous Cherry Bomb. Photo – Courtesy of Blazed Wax.

Blazed has branched out into new shades and colour schemes, such as two-toned Dinner candlesticks and a twisted Pillar candle. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Two cuties in matching dresses, boots and poodle pups (Bilbo and Beanie)! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Some Blazed Wax babies in situ at the girls’ house. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Sasha Gattermayr
Tuesday 20th July 2021

‘A big part of our friendship is our love for all things creative, as well as running our own businesses, so it was only natural for us to start our own joint venture one day.’ – Ruby Kannava and Emma Cutri

Not many people can pick up a new skill in a couple of weeks, found a business on it, and then be featured in multiple high profile media outlets just days after launching. You can guarantee there must be enterprising brains and serious creative force behind any brand, to make it take off like that!

Friends and housemates Ruby Kannava and Emma Cutri have got the brains and the creativity in bucketloads. The pair launched their colourful candle company, Blazed Wax, after teaching themselves how to make hand-poured candles during the 2020 Melbourne lockdowns. After listing their creations online, the first drop sold out within hours.

‘A big part of our friendship is our love for all things creative, as well as running our own businesses, so it was only natural for us to start our own joint venture one day.’ say Emma and Ruby. ‘It’s the perfect balance of really getting our hands dirty in the studio, getting to be creative, and our joint love of business.’

The pair now spend their time juggling the successes of Blazed Wax, with their respective other businesses (Sister Studios, and Kannava Jewels), doing bits and pieces at their shared studio in Brunswick, as well as their sharehouse, where it all started. Step into their colourful world!

Could you briefly outline how and when you two met, and how Blazed Wax came to be?

We’ve been friends for over 10 years, we met at Golden Plains festival when we were both basically teenagers, and have lived together for the last 5 years. Our home life consists of cooking together, looking after our matching poodles Bilbo and Beanie, making our house look beautiful, and doing creative things together.

During the first lockdown of 2020, one of the many activities we immersed ourselves with was candle making- we fell in love with it straight away. We experimented, researched a lot online and just decided to go for it.

Did you go in with the intention of starting a small business? Do you remember the moment you realised Blazed Wax could actually be a thing?

We especially felt the timing of starting a candle business during a pandemic when everyone  had to be at home 24/7 was the perfect time to launch. Candles bring a certain warmth to your space, which we think a lot of people really needed last year.

Within the first week of playing around with making them, we had successfully made about 20 candles that we felt were beautiful, then we photographed them all individually, put them on a Big Cartel website, and Blazed Wax went live. We sold them all in those first few hours after sharing them on our other brands instagram stories. We were SO excited! That was the moment we really knew it could be something successful, a few weeks later we found ourselves in a Vogue Living article and Sight Unseen, so there was no turning back and full steam ahead!

You both have other creative businesses – how do you split up your time?

As we live together and share a studio space, it’s an ongoing conversation over work, dinners, spare time – we never switch off! Time management can be really hard, but we take turns at pouring candles and doing our other work whilst waiting for them to dry. It can be difficult to juggle and switch between hats, but we are really lucky we already had a shared studio space before Blazed was born, which makes it much easier.

Can you talk me through the process of actually making one of your pieces?

In our studio we use 100% soy wax, which we melt, add our dyes, and pour into our moulds which we make ourselves. Many of our candles are multicoloured, so we spend a lot of time waiting for layers to dry before we can pour the second or third colours. Candle making is a waiting game! You have to be patient- we have ruined many a candle trying to hurry the process along! From start to finish, one of our Dante two toned candles takes about 5 hours to complete.

What has been the best part about starting Blazed Wax together?

It’s been so fun finally running a business together. We have always run our business alongside each other, but bringing our knowledge together, and learning new skills together has been fun and challenging.

It’s also been really exciting exploring new mediums via Blazed. We have been playing with ceramics recently and that’s an exciting avenue we hope to visit next. Stay tuned!

Browse the Blazed Wax range here!

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The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.