How Green Ash Décor came to be—
In my own pursuit to purchase healthy candles, I’ve continually been frustrated by the lack of options. And perplexed by why candles are shipped across the world on our precious oceans, when they can be made locally. I also didn’t like the single use containers that many candles come in.
I’ve been selling to retailers since the mid-nineties, after graduating from Sales & Marketing at Conestoga College School of Business.
And over the years I’ve sold, and of course consumed many different product lines, but I’ve always felt most passionate about lines made in Canada and /or products with natural ingredients. I’ve also leaned towards companies that have a charitable component, especially those that benefit the environment.
I believe that all our purchases can make a difference.
Consumers can make a difference.
I want to make a difference!
After investigating a couple of environmental charities, I decided that 1% for the Planet was a great fit, as the focus is on grassroot movements that are having a big impact around the globe.
I love receiving and buying candles, but I’m dismayed when it’s an unknown wax and wick, or the verbiage is vague, for example Coconut Wax Blend is generally blended with soy wax, which for many reasons I think should be avoided (soya and soya wax are quite controversial, but the more I read, the more I lean towards avoidance). Also, vague terms like ‘vegetable wax’, ‘eco- wax’, or no mention of the wax at all, which generally implies it is made from the highly toxic paraffin wax. And then there are the fragrance oils, which can be filled with parabens and phthalates.
I think that a lot of people are just not aware that conventional candles contain toxins and can pollute your indoor air.
In all the research I’ve done, I’ve determined that the only truly healthy and sustainable waxes are Beeswax and Coconut Wax. There is also significant evidence that Beeswax candles improve your indoor air by releasing negative ions, which has a purifying effect. So, these are the two waxes I am using exclusively, along with only essential oils for scent.
I have also committed to using strictly Canadian Beeswax and supporting Canadian beekeepers. Yes, you can buy cheaper beeswax from China!
After a lot of online research and store visits, I was confident that there was a true gap in the market, and I went about figuring out how to make the best candle possible using these two preferred waxes, only the best wicks, reusable /sustainable containers, and essential oils.
Luckily with Covid, I’ve had lots of time on my hands! Evenings and weekends have been spent testing, testing, testing! The table that earlier in lockdown housed my puzzles (much to my teens’ dismay!), became candle central. And each evening we have enjoyed the amber glow of burning test candles, while we binge watch one series or another!
There were a lot of failed attempts, including the first batch of 100% beeswax, which I found very tricky to burn with the cotton wicks I had purchased. Similarly, 100% coconut wax was a disappointment, because although it burned well, it went to liquid and wasn’t very attractive. Once I combined the waxes and played around with larger wicks, including wood wicks, I started to see the light!
I learned that testing was really the only way to gauge the wax /wick/ container combination, since a lot of the information I was following was for conventional waxes. I found an amazing crackling wood wick that was worth the extra cost with the results it produced. Combining the Essential Oils was a fun project, but it was hard to narrow down the initial offering.
I learned that there was a lot more to candle making than I had ever dreamed! And the more I talked to people, the more I realized what their frustrations were with regards to how candles burn, so I had to make sure mine were perfect! I recorded everything and slowly built my initial offering.
It’s been so exciting to create a product that I’m very proud of. And the funny thing is, I’ve discovered that I love making candles! Who would have guessed? I’m also excited to offer a product that consumers can feel good about buying and using. And I’m so thrilled that the candle sales will contribute to all the good works of 1% for the Planet.
We have since outgrown the kitchen and in September 2021, we moved the candle operation to Millworks in Dundas, Ontario.
Thank-you for checking us out! We look forward to being your preferred candle supplier and making a difference together!
Lisa Ryder, Green Ash Décor
“The reason why we won’t face up to our problems with the environment is that we are the problem. It’s not the corporations out there, it’s not the governments, it’s us. We’re the ones telling the corporations to make more stuff, and make it as cheap and as disposable as possible. We’re not citizens anymore. We’re consumers. That’s what we’re called. It’s just like being an alcoholic and being in denial that you’re an alcoholic. We’re in denial that each and every one of us is the problem. And until we face up to that, nothing’s going to happen. So, there’s a movement for simplifying your life: purchase less stuff, own a few things that are very high quality that last a long time, and that are multifunctional.”–Yvonne Chouinard, founder of Patagonia and 1% for the Planet