The natural world inspired Douglas Collum’s Stick Candles. His mother, an interior designer, wanted to duplicate similar ones she’d had but used. Happily, Collum’s quest to reproduce the perfect candles cast from sticks, twigs and branches ultimately resulted not only in a gift for his mother, but also for design aficionados and nature itself. Made from pure beeswax and handcrafted in Collum’s North Carolina-based headquarters, they give back to the environment by helping sustain the vital-yet-declining bee population and are part of the movement to support small, local businesses.
“They had to be 100 percent real beeswax and had to be cast from a real tree branch,” says Collum who cast and tested numerous prototypes before finding the right recipe. He sent 20 pairs of the perfected candles to a friend’s store in Vermont and they sold in just two days.
Ten years later, Collum sells his waxen wares to 150 stores nationwide, including Sotre, where designer Grace Kaynor and her business partner Virginia McCollam curate a collection of beautiful and environmentally conscious goods for the home. Buying local honey and beeswax products helps support the bee population by keeping local beekeeping operations in business. “We cannot live without bees,” says Collum. “They pollinate all the food we eat.”
Another environmental plus to using beeswax candles is that they are clean burning — they are smokeless until snuffed out. And though the price of beeswax has gone up steadily due to the decreasing numbers of bees, they also are slow burning, so they last longer.
Collum’s rustic-yet-elegant candles have been a favorite pick among magazine editors and designers. According to Collum, candlelight instantly elevates the beauty of a table scape and the enjoyment of a meal. And he adds Stick Candles are an easy, quick way to enhance your décor with something unique. “They are loved by the design world and I’m super gratified that they like what I am doing,” he says.
With six different styles and a variety of colors all hand-made from molds of cuttings that Collum chose himself, Stick Candles enable those with a discerning eye to express their own creativity. “The thing that has propelled my business,” says Collum, “is the fact that people buy them and use them in their own creative process.”