Carol Symons didn’t initially set out to create one of the world’s favourite boutique candle brands. “Originally, we were just a retail concept,” explains the founder and Creative Director of Parks London. “Our shop was a place you could find all kinds of things for your home, from glassware to furniture, rugs – anything that caught my eye whilst travelling. In some ways it was an opportunity for me to buy all the things I’d love to have in my own home.”
Soon afterwards, Parks introduced a scented candle range. “I’d seen some in France but they were paraffin-based and not very environmentally friendly, so I thought it would be easier to create my own range,” says Carol. “They were hand-poured in different designs but with our own unique fragrance, Parks Original, which is still one of our best-sellers and a personal favourite.”
Driven by these core values and a desire to be at the absolute cutting edge, Parks London transformed from an individual retailer producing a dozen hand-poured candles per week to a big-name industry brand manufacturing 32,500 candles every eight hours. They come in dozens of scents – from bergamot oil to cognac, from lemon basil to passion flower and vanilla.
“At the time, no one was producing 100 per cent natural wax candles in the quantities we needed,” she says, “so going into manufacturing was an extraordinary learning curve and we got used to experimenting early on. It led us to discover our Coreless Cleanburn technology, which allowed us to get a strong, consistent fragrance with a really clean burn all the way down the wick.”
Fuelled by this spirit of innovation and a determination to continually improve, Carol is always exploring new technologies, processes and fragrances. “I get a lot of my inspiration by travelling,” she says. “This year I’ve loved exploring Vietnam, Cambodia, Spain and Russia. Most of it comes down to being aware of your surroundings and how a particular smell makes you feel; we all do it subconsciously – smell is such an incredibly powerful sense. The difficult part is trying to remember the different smells and associated feelings, and then capturing that as a fragrance. It’s brilliant when you do.”