Gift Focus inc Attire Accessories - September/October 2020

101 COMPANY PROFILE A shining light Pintail Candles founder James Long tells Louise Prance about the company’s ability to withstand a storm, and its distinctive product offering that sells even in the toughest of times When did you start up Pintail Candles and why? It was only the other day that I was talking with one of our oldest retailers about the time I started the business and how the experience then, is helping us to cope with the situation now. It was back in 1993, as the UK was coming out a long recession, that I decided to make the leap and start my own business. At that time, retailers had been struggling and were cautious about the future while the number of boutique candle makers could be counted on one hand. However, I’d been working for a large candle company since leaving school and I was eager to put my ideas and experience into creating my own quality candles. I believed that there was a market for hand poured candles at an affordable price, using new designs and fragrances not previously seen on the high street. So, with nothing more than a lot of enthusiasm, I started the business making candles in my mother-in-law’s basement before moving to a converted barn on a local Lake District farm. What challenges have you overcome since the company’s launch? Putting aside the events of recent months, the early days were hard. It was difficult managing time and resources to both make the candles and to sell them. My wife Fiona helped with the accounts and together we encouraged each other to make sure that we were always looking ahead beyond the day-to-day business, by creating new candles and striving to deliver excellent customer service. For over 25 years this approach has helped us meet many challenges including recessions, the foot and mouth outbreak, which devasted Cumbria in 2001, the more recent Cumbrian floods, and of course coronavirus. We have certainly been resilient and working together with our customers we have coped with difficult times. Tell us about your product offering . I mentioned earlier, my workshop was originally in a converted barn and it was here that we became one of the first to make tin candles in the UK. We are still famous for making these candles, with every candle individually hand poured and with a reputation for creating on trend fragrances, in contemporary styling and colours. Our iconic range is the Paint Pot Candles in a striking pallet of 40 fragrances and colours. Along with the small Elements candles, they retail for under £5. This is a great price for a hand poured, British made candle and their bright, lively colours are attractive and on trend. Our Scents of Christmas range celebrates this joyous time of the year in 12 fragrances including Christmas Eve and Winter Solstice. Our Triple Wick and Coordinate candles always do well at Christmas but this year they are also benefitting from the trend for people spending more on home comforts such as cushions, throws and of course, candles. They are available in autumnal and Christmassy fragrances including Warm Gingerbread, Cranberry Spiced Tea and Spiced Ginger & Lemon Thyme. We were one of the first to make Occasions Candles and we have certainly