The idea of developing an exclusive range of fragranced candles was born from a certain dissatisfaction with what was on offer, plus the collective dream of establishing a family company. In short, Phile & Boy Erkens – father and son – are two enthusiastic entrepreneurs who really light things up…
As Boy says, ‘When we come home, there is more likely to be a candle burning than the electric lights. And that has always been so. The light of a candle makes a world of difference in terms of the overall atmosphere in a space. The same is certainly true about fragrance. The fragrance you smell on entering a space can make or break how you experience that space. After all, your senses influence your state of mind more than any other factor.’ And thus the ultimate collective challenge to create such an experience was set in stone.
Phile and Boy Erkens started their own exclusive range of fragranced candles under the brand name of Erkens the mood makers. As Phile tells us, ‘We have set our sights extremely high by making each component by hand. Everything in our collection is produced by artisans and is therefore of very high quality – pure and real. Each piece is unique.’ The success of this approach is evident from Erkens’ customers: high-end fashion, floral, and interior design businesses in their own country as well as in Luxembourg, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, and Portugal. Boy adds, ‘You can even find us in Dubai, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon.’
First and foremost, the high quality can be seen in the facet-cut glass vases in which the candles are presented. Three ranges are available. Boy explains, ‘We started with “The Originals Collection”, where we show what we can do in terms of craftsmanship: hand-blown, crystal-clear glass, twinkling beautifully, and very solid thanks to the thick bases and sides. For the “Sublime Shadow Collection” we found our inspiration in nature, with moss green, earthy brown and literally black clay forming the foundation for the intense colour palette of this unique range.’
Last but not least, the ‘Art of Stripes’ collection is built around two colours of glass, created by the glass blower ‘pulling’ opaque white stripes through the glass. Boy explains, ‘The glass blower has exactly six seconds to do that. This is certainly a top performance when you realize how extremely hot it is to work near the glass furnaces. Because of this creative application, each vase looks different and each product is unique.’ The opaque white stripes produce a very special effect while burning a candle. Naturally, the entire family contributed to the various colour schemes while sitting around the family kitchen table. This is also true for the perfumes. As Phile tells us, ‘We have composed the fragrances with our parfumiers – in an incredibly interesting and long process – but what a great result! Beautiful, complex, and delicately layered fragrance ranges that continue to excite our customers. These fragrances are truly enrapturing.
A beautiful gift
The attention to detail doesn’t stop at high-quality glass; it is also seen in the woven labels, each vase packed individually by hand, and the candles hand poured using an extremely high-quality wax. ‘This quality ensures the exceptionally high number of burning hours,’ says a proud Boy. ‘From ± 95 hours for the smallest candles up to ± 430 hours for the largest, which is an impressive 26 cm high and contains 4.2 kilogrammes of wax. The candles also become more beautiful the longer they burn – and thanks to the many wicks, the light twinkles against all sides of the glass. After the candle is finished, what remains is a stunning vase for a beautiful bouquet, because we also think the “afterlife” is very important.’
Phile and Boy believe this is what makes the candles a fantastic gift. ‘Even someone who doesn’t care about fragranced candles can’t help but be impressed by our product. Such as my friends, who call me when they want to give a special gift. Especially with our smallest version, it’s just like opening a gorgeous jewellery box. Only it’s a large jewellery box!’
Stay positive and laugh…
And what about those unusual names for the fragranced candles: Back to black, Jungle Monkey, Blue ain’t purple, It started with a kiss? Boy explains, ‘That’s our way of showing that we don’t take things and especially ourselves too seriously.’
Boy adds, ‘Our sales season is well under way, but we are already working on our new collections for the coming Autumn/Winter 2019 season. This starts with a session around our kitchen table, where everyone present may share any ideas and feel free to say what he or she likes. While we’re brainstorming, we enjoy a delicious cold beer or a nice glass of wine,’ explains Boy. ‘And, naturally, with a delicious dish in the oven,’ laughs Phile. Those names just come naturally.
‘And so it began…’ has been developed in collaboration with Floris Wyers Pure Luxe & Editorial agency Lonneke Gilissen.