What makes a good candle

Die aus der Ukraine stammende Familie Sydor betreibt in der City die “Wiener Kerzenmanufaktur”. Ein Gespräch über hochwertiges Wachs und den idealen Docht.

Es ist ein wohlgestaltetes Geschäft, das sich unter sehr alten Gewölben ausbreitet. Die Gemäuer sind Teil des weitläufigen Franziskanerklosters mitten im ersten Bezirk. Zuvor war hier ein Blumengeschäft untergebracht und vor vielen Jahrzehnten ein Weinlokal. Seit vergangenen Herbst bietet hier die “Wiener Kerzenmanufaktur” auf rund 80 Quadratmetern Kerzen in vielen Farben, Formen, Düften und Macharten feil. Ein ganzer Haufen davon wird über einer alten Badewanne präsentiert. Davor war die Manufaktur am Wiener Fleischmarkt untergebracht.

The candle manufacturer is Oksana and Andriy Sydor, who fled to Vienna with their three children (three, five and eleven years old) in March 2022, shortly after Russia attacked Ukraine. The couple's headquarters was founded in 2013 in Lviv, where a team of five people still makes candles by hand and runs a café.

Austria was not new territory for Oksana and Andriy Sydor. They have already spent vacations in Tyrol, but there is more: Oskana Sydor studied management and tourism at the private modular university in Vienna. The studied physicist Andriy Sydor learned to make candles in Haarlem, the Netherlands. We visited the two of them in the shop and wanted to find out a little more about what makes a good candle and what you should pay attention to when it comes to a seemingly common everyday item.

STANDARD: What makes a good candle?

Oksana Sydor: It's all about materials, i.e. the wax, the wick, the color and the scent. For example, we buy our fragrances in Grasse, in the south of France. We source the wax and wicks from Germany, and the ingredients for our beeswax candles come from small farmers in Ukraine. We really tried a lot of things. Wax and oils must be suitable for candles; there are separate certificates for this.

Andriy Sydor: The materials must not contain any harmful substances. Not all oils are suitable for candles. A good candle does not drip and the wick does not form sooty mushrooms. By the way, beeswax candles drip. That's in their nature.

STANDARD: More and more people want to make candles themselves, what advice do you have for them?

Oksana Sydor: You can buy many components online. We also have a creative set in our program. However, there are many things to consider. The wick, for example, must match the diameter of the candle and the type of wax. Many people don't know that. You have to know about temperatures, adding scent, etc. Making candles is all about experimenting. You could definitely call this science.

Andriy Sydor: Of course you can do it yourself, but workshops like the ones we will be offering from February are definitely recommended. It's a one and a half hour basic course, it doesn't make you a professional. By the way, we will also combine such workshops with wine tastings. That fits together well, doesn't it?

STANDARD: Why is candle making so trendy?

Oksana Sydor: It's about making something with your own hands. This applies to many areas. A candle is about something warm, about light. A signal. A flame. A candle is something heartfelt.

STANDARD: Are there such things as fads when it comes to candles?

Andriy Sydor: Not just in terms of looks. The demand for soy wax has increased significantly because it is purely plant-based, unlike paraffin, which is made from petroleum. We also use paraffin, but only if it meets certain conditions and is certified.

Oksana Sydor: In Sachen Optik hängt es natürlich sehr von der Saison ab, welche Kerzen gefragt sind. Was auch immer mehr “in” ist, sind Kerzen als Mitbringsel. Wir arbeiten übrigens auch mit externen Designern.

STANDARD: Speaking of season, how is business in July and August?

Andriy Sydor: Of course, business declines in the warmer months. We use this time to develop new stories. Our regular customers also light candles all year round. In our store in Lviv, sales do not decrease even in the summer.

STANDARD: Are there typical candle customers?

Oksana Sydor: Our candles, we have seven collections in our program, are handmade and we pay great attention to the materials. Our customers appreciate this. The quality is of course reflected in the price. People also come who have special candlesticks with less common diameters. They then get special products.

STANDARD: How is the scented candle business? They are now widespread and popular.

Oksana Sydor: Demand is definitely increasing. Especially when it comes to giving candles as gifts. We have 40 scents in our program and are always looking for new ones.

STANDARD: Your favorite scent?

Oksana Sydor: In winter, anything that smells woody. From June it will be time for lavender. 

Michael Hausenblas, DerStandard, 26.1.2024

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What makes a good candle

Die aus der Ukraine stammende Familie Sydor betreibt in der City die “Wiener Kerzenmanufaktur”. Ein Gespräch über hochwertiges Wachs und den idealen Docht. Es ist

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