Strategic Merger To Grow Candle Exports
Posted by Fleur Revell
Kiwi luxury candle brand Living Light Candles have teamed up with top retailer Riva Living to form a new partnership as part of an expansion plan which will see them extend Living Light’s range of candles across New Zealand and into Australasia.
Two long-standing Kiwi businesses have forged a new partnership, part of a massive expansion plan to become NZ’s top-selling luxury candle brand, starting with a flagship retail store in Auckland’s Takapuna, and a brand-new online shopping website in addition to its existing retail portfolio in the Nelson region.
Living Light Candles has teamed up with Riva, Living Light’s top-selling candle retailer, with the goal of expanding the market share of their all-natural plant, beeswax and soy-based perfumed candle ranges into all of New Zealand and Australasia.
Living Light Company Founder Cynthia Baur and new business partner, Otago entrepreneur Bob Perriam who bought half of the Takaka-based business earlier this year, says the expansion plans are on track and they are looking forward to the results of the first quarter.
The company currently exports candles to Japan, Singapore, Germany and Australia with shipments to Holland to begin soon.
Living Light candles are already sold in prestigious department store Barneys but Baur says along with a local retail push she is keen to grow into more international markets.
“Right now we produce around 400,000 candles annually but we’d like to grow this figure to 500,000 in the next twelve months and raise our exports from 15% to 40%.”
Baur says the company will remain a Golden Bay business and continue to offer employment to the rural community through the ancient art of candle making.
“Though we consider Living Light Candles to cater to the more premium end of the market, it’s what we like to call natural indulgence. The candle ranges come at a variety of price and points and even though you might not necessarily burn these candles for daily use, they are certainly perfect for special occasions, a weekly treat or as gifts.”
“With Bob coming into the business, the brand has been given a new boost and a fresh energy in conjunction with our flagship store in Takapuna, we are also revamping the website because easy online shopping will form an integral part of the business. These two new stores will complement our existing galleries in Nelson and Golden Bay,” says Baur.
Riva founder and owner Louise Barnes says the partnership with Living Light Candles is also a natural progression of the company ethos.
“As a candle fanatic from way back, I’m never happier than when I’m experimenting with exotic fragrances. Living Light is a Kiwi brand and focuses on producing unique designs using natural ingredients, which I think encapsulates the NZ way of doing business and the clean, green image of our country.
“The new Living Light flagship store in Takapuna will be a chance for customers to browse through the entire range, do a sniff test and walk away with some wonderful products for themselves or their loved ones and at the same time, support and bring home a local brand,” says Barnes.
Living Lights’ new business partner Perriam says that though he has only been involved with the business since March this year, the company has already made great progress with raising brand awareness in NZ.
“Living Light Candles is not just a brand; it’s a whole philosophy and lifestyle. Our ethos is that we only use the best, all-natural products which is the NZ way and that we want to maintain the prices at a point that Kiwis can afford. We want to bring a little bit of luxury into their lives, but at the same time, they won’t have to give up any essential things to get that.”
Perriam says that the venture with Riva is a crucial part of the expansion plan.
“Having Louise and Riva is a huge asset to our first Auckland concept store because of her years of experience in the retail candle business and her strong belief in Living Light as a business. We are NZ’s only sustainable premium candle brand, and are looking forward to opening more Living Light stores all over the country. Though our flagship store is only in Auckland at the moment, Kiwis from everywhere will still be able to browse and purchase any candle from the Living Light range through the new online shopping website,” he says.
Living Light Candles was first founded by Cynthia Baur in Takaka 15 years ago. Bob Perriam became a partner to the business in March 2012. Riva founder Louise Barnes became a partner to the business in early November and will be managing the new Living Light flagship store in Takapuna.