How lovely is the packaging for Bon Lux, a line of handmade candles by Melbourne-based Chantel Camilleri? I first discovered Chantel’s creations on Instagram and the branding lodged itself in my brain. I’m happy to shine the light on this talented maker’s incredible collection. The scents are as lovely as the designs.
I love the way Chantel describes the process of formulating the scents in her candles: “BON LUX candles begin as a concept; combining flowers, colour, and illustrations into ‘scent stories’. Fragrance blending; combining finest plant and essential oils, is a delicate process. It took almost 2 years to finalise the 6 unique scents in the BON LUX range, as each candle features a number of different notes.” Can you image 2 years to finalize a scent? That’s dedication, the kind that makes buying handmade so important. Enjoy this glimpse into Chantel’s creative journey and find out what inspires her. Be sure to visit the Bon Lux shop on Etsy to pick up a candle or two.
What inspired you to begin your collection?
My background is fashion & design, and Ive have always loved creating things to tell stories with images, colours and sketches, as well as making things with my hands. Scent is such an evocative starting point to create a story from, so after much research and experimentation, I went about creating perfume.
Describe your creative process. Where do you start?
I start just like I did when I worked as a fashion designer-i start with a story to tell-and then flesh it out with sketches, colour, words, images. I make mood boards with a thread of an idea, then keep visiting it until it starts to take shape. Then I start to experiment with the oils to make a perfume to try to capture the story.
How do you maintain your creative drive?
I listen to a lot of music, i take a lot of pictures of mundane things, i look at a lot of random things on the internet from food, flowers, architecture, illustration to song lyrics, i draw little sketches on post its…chat to people on the phone, visit galleries and shops…look at flowers a lot.
What materials do you love to use?
i love essential oils, and plant oils, and am always amazed at how different things smell when so concentrated, and am always excited by how different combinations can work.
Every product has a story. Is there a story behind one of your pieces that stands out to you?
I’m always thrilled when a person smells the candles and seems transported somewhere in their mind. They have a sensory experience, without me telling them what ingredients are in the candle, they just get what i was trying to say-its magic!
Do you have a dream collaborator?
I love florists, and think a collaboration with a florist would be great…there is so much inspiration in flowers, and florists must just be in heaven each day with their heads filled with flowers!
What are some of the challenges that you face as a maker?
Time! As a mama, there are a lot of other demands other than my candles…so i have to organise time when i can focus on my work, and time with family-i have found that the two don’t combine well! I also find working alone can be hard…i need to meet up with friends to make sure I’m not working in a bubble…
How do you use social media and blogging to promote your work?
i use instagram every day-but i don’t exclusively promote my own work. I keep to a discipline of certain types of posts on certain days of the week-some days its flowers, some days I showcase an easy maker’s work to share the love, sometimes its some inspiration images, or something we’d like to wear…Facebook I have found best for communicating with local followers, I adore Pinterest-and post and refine my boards daily to keep them fresh. I don’t blog, or tweet, but will launch a new website soon!
Where do you see your shop/project going?
I have 6 more scents I’m working on, while also developing some different products which will utilize the perfumes I have already made. Id love to develop wholesale further and start selling into retail stores-I have just picked up a US stockist Pale Violet. So happy!
What are you working on right now?
scent blending, and sketching ideas and dreaming about colours and packaging for 6 new candles! Also getting ready for a big local design market Finders Keepers Melbourne Winter in July!