Introducing Iris: the Queen of Zen and all Things Fragrant

Iris Waller was always fascinated by candles; there is something soothing about the steady flame, especially if they are hand poured in a creamy scented wax, like her exclusive collection for Inclusive Trade.

But truly, Iris came to candle making by pure chance. As an avid crockery collector, she had bought a job lot of antique tea cups and she made a few tea-cup candles as Christmas presents. It turns out that making candles is like a zen meditation: You need to focus and it cannot be rushed; there is a lot of waiting and measuring involved, and the beautiful scents that come with pouring wax created calming and uplifting energies throughout her home

The first candles surely were hit and miss, like falling out of their cups or losing their scent. Over time Iris realised how a lovingly created candle can really set an aromatic anchor, settle emotions or even improve the quality of sleep. Iris compares the effects to freshly cut versus artificial flowers: “These days silk flowers can be of very high quality and it's hard to tell the difference. But a real bunch will always give you a feeling of wellbeing and joy, whereas an artificial plant is just a piece of decoration. It's the same with a natural candle - an essential oil will spread wellbeing.”

Around the same time Iris became more proficient as a chandler, she had to make radical lifestyle changes due to health issues in her family and discovered something magic. With the removal of all chemicals in the household not just the allergies disappeared, but the whole family experienced a surge of energy and general health and wellbeing.

It made her acutely aware how outdated regulations and lack of research into everyday items are, which means we continue to add to the toxic load in our homes. High Street prices for luxury scented goods have little to do with safety, but all with labels and marketing.

Take scented candles for example: Generally made with paraffin wax, a byproduct of the petrol industry, filled with artificial fragrances, there are numerous studies that advise of their carcinogenic properties. But creamy soy is often not much better - when it comes from a bean crop grown with RoundUp, you allow chemicals straight from the coffee table into your lungs.

Iris realised that one needs to dig deeper than the marketing material. ‘Creamy soy wax’ is not enough. It also needs to be non-GMO, non rainforest destructive, without added paraffin and organic.

The quality of the essential oils was as important as to know where they come from, and she found co-impact sourced essential oils. The Essential Oil business is as ruthless as the diamond business, and all of her suppliers hold the same high standards, both in quality and manufacturing.

And so Tribe was born: while Iris studied aromatherapy and grew her essential oil business, educating families about natural alternatives in the home, she launched Tribe straight from her kitchen table. Every single one of her suppliers is chosen for their sustainability and fair pay policies, down to the wicks in her candles to the manufacturer of containers. 

While Tribe products are always made with materials chosen by quality over price, pricing the end product is important. Naturally scented candles are luxury items, but they should be an affordable piece of luxury - a truly gorgeous gift to self, or a little something for a good friend 'just because'. She hopes to have found a perfect medium by honouring the high quality of her product with an affordable price, making them a must-have item in every home.

To find your perfect candle, visit her store here.