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UncoveredLeaf Candle Co

Tessa Pelle

Now in its fourth year, the Opera House’s Uncovered program is a platform for local artists, makers, creators and artisans to showcase their artistic talent. It exists to support up and coming Australian creative makers by platforming and selling their products at the Sydney Opera House shop.

We sat down to speak with one of this year’s Uncovered artists, Tracy Keating from Leaf Candle Co. to hear how she started her business and why she uses eco-friendly materials to make her candles. 

Tell us about Leaf Candle Co.  

At Leaf Candle Co., we make amazing smelling soy candles using recycled tin cans. We are focused on being eco-friendly and sustainable, using natural or recycled materials where we can. 

The business was born out of my obsession for candles but I wanted to do it in a way that was sustainable. After workshopping what I could use to make the candles from, I found that recycled tin cans worked best. 

How did you come up with the idea to reuse tin cans?

It’s really important to me to not put more rubbish out into the world. I brainstormed and experimented with household items that are typically thrown in the bin like old wine bottles that I could use as a candle vessel. After not having any luck with glassware, I noticed the shape of a tin can could work well – and after a few test runs, I landed on the concept! 

Tin cans work really well as when a candle finishes burning and the wax and wick disappear, it can be recycled, refilled, or repurposed into something new. For example, my customers use their old candles to plant succulents which is so cool to me and speaks to my business ethos. 

How did you start your business?

My husband took note of my love for candles and gifted me a voucher for a candle making workshop. I learnt the basics of candle making, as well as an important candle making method that I still use this today but on a greater scale and with larger machinery. It’s called the ‘double boiler’ which is essentially a gentle way of heating the wax using steam from hot water. 

During the pandemic I had my first child and was made redundant so I decided to pursue candle making full time by combining my passion with my skills in photography and fashion marketing to grow the business into what it is today. 

It’s really important to me to not put more rubbish out into the world...For example, my customers use their old candles to plant succulents which is so cool to me and speaks to my business ethos. 

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I visit many candle suppliers and showrooms to smell different fragrances that I can experiment with. I have a wide range of scents from fruity and floral to earthy and woody. I also like to blend my own scents using different notes like the Gin & Tonic candle which has a base of juniper berry mixed with lime zest. 

What does showcasing your products through Uncovered mean to you?

It’s a massive honor to sell my candles to a brand new audience at a place as renowned and recognisable as the Opera House. Having my sustainability values and ethics align with the Opera House makes it an even more amazing opportunity. 

What is your favourite piece in your Opera House collection?

It changes all the time, but right now it’s the limited edition Eucalyptus & River Mint candle that I crafted exclusively for the Opera House because to me it smells just like Australia. It was also exciting to use a can size I don’t typically sell in my range. I usually receive the standard tinned tomato-sized can, so it’s quite special to be able to repurpose smaller cans for this unique product.

Meet Tracy from Leaf Candle Co.