While the world was still in awe over the recent mega-wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, another important event was taking place far from the wedding beaches of Sussex. One of our favourite scented candles was being gifted to a man who has become an important figurehead in the candle industry. More than a decade ago, when scented candles were almost unheard of, let alone finding their way into a luxury gift set, Robert Pattinson was the man responsible for bringing their unique scent to the fore. His entrepreneurial spirit and love for candles led to the creation of the ‘Forced Meme’ range of candles, which are made using the oldest and most traditional methods. We spoke to the designer about his unique and enduring career, and how he sees his new role in the world of fragrance.
How Did You Begin?
I grew up with a strong interest in arts and crafts. When I was 16, I began to learn about design, and through college I did a course in jewellery design. After I finished university, I worked for a small company making jewellery, before setting up my own business. I made a living selling small diamond studs and other jewellery to high-end stores, such as Harrods and Harvey Nichols. I would sometimes get calls from other jewellery companies, asking me to help design their new products, which allowed me to spread my knowledge and experience across a variety of metals and materials.
During this time, I developed a real passion for scented candles. I was always surrounded by them growing up, and as a really cheap and cheerful present one Christmas, my dad gave me a pack of 10-15 candles, filled with wonderful, cheap smelling essential oils. From there, I just fell in love with the idea of making candles with various fragrances, and combining that with the elegance and luxury of gold and diamonds.
What Is The Difference Between Luxury And Expensive-Looking Jewellery?
It’s very difficult to put into words. Luxury jewellery is jewellery that is so highly designed and decorated that it cannot be described simply as ‘good jewellery’. For example, Burberry’s flower crowns. They might look like something you’d find in a Poundland bargain basket, but they’re actually made of solid gold and studs with diamonds and other gems. Similarly, when you think about the most expensive pieces of jewellery you’ve ever seen, they tend to be very over-the-top, almost like a caricature of luxury. The simpler, the more elegant, and the more realistic the design, the more expensive the jewellery. But that’s a generalisation, of course, and not always true.
What Are The Most Expensive Jewellery Designs?
The most expensive pieces of jewellery are often based on elaborate and extravagant motifs. You might see lotus flowers, or you might see cherubs, or serpents, or any other kind of motif that the designer thinks will make the piece stand out. It is all down to personal taste, of course, but these are the elements that may end up making the piece stand out above the rest.
Describe The Process Of Designing A Candle.
With most of our range, I begin by looking at the materials and finding the perfect scent. Once I’ve decided on a scent, I visit my candle manufacturer to see whether they can help me with the design. Once I’ve had a go at testing the scent, I work out how much wax I need and how much perfume I need to put in it. The last part is decoration. I like to add some texture to the design by adding in some glass or stone beads, or using some decorative stickers or labels.
Why Are Scented Candles So Popular?
I think that people are just beginning to realise the therapeutic properties of scent. Scented candles are an excellent way to allow the fragrance to permeate the home. I also think that people appreciate the simplicity and elegance of scent, as opposed to the flamboyance and the vulgarity of perfume.
How Do You Feel About The Industry You’ve Helped ToCreate?
I feel incredibly honoured and proud to have helped to create something that people still talk about, almost a decade after my company first launched. It was never my intention to become involved in the industry, but when the opportunity arose, as it often does, I went for it. I have a real passion for fragrances, and like many people in the industry, I’ve found creating scented candles to be a real labour of love. It is a form of therapy, as well: when you burn a candle, you’re essentially creating a smell journey, and allowing yourself to relax and unwind while travelling to some far-flung place in your mind. It’s a form of meditation, really.
What Do You Think About Trends In The Fragrance Industry?
I’ll never forget the first time I entered a fragrance counter. It was so overwhelming, with so many different smells laid out in front of me. There were times when I wanted to retch, and that’s not an easy feat for a grown man.
Nowadays, I tend to stay away from trends as much as I can, and stick to what I know and love. Sometimes, that means that my work will fly in the face of what is trendy, but it also means that it will stay in people’s memory longer.
A good example of this is our collection of ‘Forced Meme’ candles, which were ahead of their time in terms of integrating memes into their design. These days, everything is about memes, from TikTok to Instagram, and I believe that our work stands out because we didn’t follow the trends of our time.
Do you have any final words of wisdom for our readers?
I would say that it is never too late to follow your heart. Do everything you can to follow your dreams, because they may just turn out to be exactly what you were looking for all along. And if that happens, then you’ll know it was all worth it.