Established 1981, Swazi Candles began as a cottage industry by two African art graduates, in an old cow shed in Swaziland. The local Swazi people were very receptive to training in the ancient technique of ‘Millefiore’ (meaning thousand flowers) a method of decorating glass. The local Swazi people proved to be fine handicraft workers and skilled artisans – ideal partners for this business.
Now the cow shed workshop has expanded to employ up to 200 people and Swazi Candles exports to outlets in Australia, North America & Europe. Swazi Candles strongly believe in the principles of Fair Trade and are members of the World Fair Trade Organisation.
Swazi Candles believe that cultivating an enjoyable and creative working environment is beneficial to all and that employees should be part of the various decision making processes. They are committed to sharing profits with workers and paying a living wage to all stakeholders. An in-house counsellor is available to assist people with on-going social and health issues such as domestic violence and HIV/Aids.
Employees are provided with a pension and financial assistance is available for funerals, health matters, food and transport. Swazi Candles also provide employees with information and facilitate access to education programs and low interest housing loans.
Swazi Candles uses the ancient Roman technique of Millefiore, a method of decorating glass, which was perfected by the Venetians and later adapted by the West Africans to make trade beads as a form of currency to barter for gold & ivory.
Sheets of different coloured hard wax are poured and rolled into patterns, then stretched and re-rolled many times until the desired patterns are acquired. The thin sheets of wax are then cut into veneers and are skillfully applied by hand over a core of white wax and handmade into desired shapes. The veneer hardly melts when the candle is lit, resulting in a rich, romantic glow of the illuminated exterior as the candle burns deeper into the container lighting up the casing. Each candle is carefully and individually created by hand and the candles are environmentally friendly. Up to 85% of raw materials are recycled.