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Our Meet the Maker series interviews inspiring founders about their businesses and passions. We are deeply inspired by these people and we hope our readers will be too! This week, we speak with Orla, Mark and David Van den Bergh, siblings and Founders of Max Benjamin.
How did the idea for Max Benjamin come about? When and how was the “ah ha” moment?
Orla: I discovered my love for candle making on a summer spent in America during college. When I returned home I continued to make candles at home for friends and family in my parents kitchen in their home in the Wicklow mountains, there we a few hair-raising moments, but I always dreamt of creating a brand where I could merge my love for the outdoors and my family lifestyle, so if felt apt to name our brand Max Benjamin after my twin boys Max and Benjamin! Now I work together with my two brothers Mark and David in our studio based in the Wicklow hills, nestled amongst our family homes. As a family business we continue to create beautiful sustainable fragrances and take our inspiration, as always, from our surrounds.
What is the difference between Max Benjamin candles and their ingredients versus regular high street store candles?
Our natural soya waxes are biodegradable and are renewable, sustainable resources. When you light a Max Benjamin 100% natural wax candle you can enjoy the unique atmosphere each fragrance brings without feeling you are causing harm to the environment. Our wax burns cleaner than paraffin wax with no petrol-carbon soot. Our wax burns slowly and is free from pesticides and any genetically-modified material. Our wicks are made from lead free Italian cotton. Our candle and diffuser vessels are glass and fully recyclable and we have refill options available across most of our ranges to help customers reuse their vessels so they can be as environmentally friendly as possible.
How and why has the range expanded over the years?
We have introduced a bath and body range over the last year and this is something that we are really passionate about we want our products to become part of our customers lifestyle. As a brand, wellness is about giving people the ability to pause and bring something into their everyday life and homes that gives them joy or helps and encourages them to take time for themselves. Even something as small as lighting a candle and having a cuppa or some breathing exercises and a spritz of sleep tight pillow mist to end a crazy day can really help to calm a busy mind.
What other products or tips do you have for creating a safe and healthy home environment, free from nasty and toxic chemicals?
Orla: One thing I would always recommend to people is to keep an eye on the ingredients in the cleaning products you are buying and try where possible to buy or use natural cleaning products like vinegar or alcohol-free products, these are just as effective as the chemical-based products and making the switch doesn’t have to be costly either. I am fanatical about recycling and make a conscious effort to reduce the use of plastic in my house. I have replaced cling film and tin foil for reusable glass jars. You can buy some really nice ones with colourful labels to really pretty-up your pantry, so it’s a win-win for me! And lastly, bring some green into your homes, houseplants are a great way to help purify the air in your home they can filter harmful chemicals like formaldehyde and benzene xylene, and ammonia from the air.
Why is sustainability and being an ethical brand important to you?
Our natural environment is a priceless part of our heritage and daily inspiration. A healthy natural environment is vitally important for all eco-systems and it is our responsibility to protect it. Climate change is the biggest issue we are facing globally right now and while we are not perfect yet, being as sustainable and natural as we possibly can is an essential element to our business and is of prime importance to us and our customers.
What upcoming plans are in store for Max Benjamin?
We are so excited to be working with the gorgeous White & Green team, as an Irish family business it is important for us to support other local Irish businesses and brands that are aligned with our thinking, so we couldn’t think of a brand more suited to work with on our gifting boxing this year!
To visit the Max Benjamin store and shop their stunning products, simply click this link and enjoy!