Today’s prompt in the Fall Fun Series is, deliciously, really no prompt at all – nothing set in stone, simply an open-ended call for any old thing you’d like to gab about. But seeing as the majority of the participants in the Fall Fun Series are wax bloggers (with the occasional diversion into beauty, decorating and personal care) I thought I’d keep things firmly in the wax wheelhouse and talk about my mostly pretty positive experiences as a Canadian (or international) waxie.
First, reconcile yourself to the fact that most vendors will not ship to you. For those not familiar with the wax world, there’s two types of vendors, commercial (Yankee Candle, Bath and Body Works, the ScentSationals line sold at Walmart) and indie (Rosegirls, Candles From the Keeping Room, numerous Etsy sellers.) Simply by virtue of being larger business entities, the Yankees and ScentSationals of the world are able to move their products at fairly reasonable and consistent shipping rates, whereas the indies (many of which are part-time, home-based endeavors) are held hostage to the ever-changing vagaries of the postal (and courier) system. International shipping rates already tend to be appallingly high; I can’t blame these small business owners for steering clear of that nonsense. Others will ship to Canada, but they’ll charge you exorbitant rates to do so.
Unfortunately, that means there’s a number of highly sought-after indie vendors that are simply off the radar for us Canucks (and no, the stupidity of Canada being considered an international country to the United States when we share the same damn continent is not the least bit lost on me!)
But there’s also a few favourite indie vendors I’ve had lots of success with – they all have extensive scent lists, creative branding and quality products, they provide across-the-board great customer service and, best of all, they all ship to Canada, and at not-too ridiculous prices either! Here are a few of the indie vendors I’d recommend to any Canuck looking to expand their wax collection.
Based out of southern Indiana, K’s Kreations is the first indie vendor I ever placed an order with. Owner Kathy Newman Turza offers her holy-wow-is-it-ever-going-to-end scent list in a number of different forms (traditional candles, wax tarts, rainbow brittle) and even offers an all-the-time custom blending option that I can’t help but think no one knows about, because if they did, the place would be swamped and you’d never be able to get an order in (oops…) In the year or so that I’ve been a K’s customer, I’ve placed two custom orders, including one for this stupendous blend of Mango Sorbet and Raspberry Zinger that I dubbed Mango SnoBall because I forgot that Zingers and SnoBalls, while sharing a manufacturer (Hostess) and an exterior colour palette (white frosting, pink coconut) are not the same animal. No matter, this blend is WONDERFUL. I’m beyond pleased and shall be back for more (next time with the proper nomenclature!)
Unlike many wax vendors, who operate on an announced-event kind of schedule, K’s Kreations is open all the time, and Kathy’s turnaround time (the time between ordering and shipping) is typically only a few days. International customers are asked to contact K’s before placing an order, mostly in an effort to minimize or streamline those often outrageous shipping costs. Kathy also provides some pretty outstanding customer service – one time a single tart was checked off on my shipping manifest, but absent from the mailed package. I contacted Kathy just to let her know, not really expecting any sort of action, and within about two and a half minutes she had written me an apology e-mail and credited my PayPal account for the lone missing item. Just a tiny little thing that’s indicative of stellar business values. If you’re interested in checking out K’s Kreations for yourself, you can find their website here.
I understand that Rosegirls, a very well regarded wax vendor out of Wisconsin, used to be some of the hardest wax to get your hands on – blink-and-you’ll-miss-them flash openings, bogged-down customs lists and long turnaround times were a barrier for most to Rosegirls’ rich, artfully composed blends. I certainly did not fare very well my first (and only) custom opening. Then a year or so ago owner Jenny Oaks overhauled the business model, shelving the things that were eating up too much time (the customs list) while streamlining others (monthly samplers, pre-orders and Mini Melters.) Now it’s almost criminal how easy it is to get your mitts on some Rosegirls wax; it’s why nearly three-quarters of my wax collection comes direct from Oshkosh, WI!
Well, that and the fact that their wax is really quite terrific, with a signature sort of creaminess to even non-creamy blends that sets them well apart from other vendors. I’d say that rich, multi-layered bakery blends are the thing Rosegirls is best known for, although they offer a wealth of gorgeous, super unique blends in all sorts of scent profiles, from earthy, to fresh, to floral. And while I love Rosegirls’ adorable little blended chunks, I’m really quite partial to their Mini Melters, single scents you can melt as one or blend as you see fit. Like, say, in this no-way-that-worked combo (oh, but it did) of Pomegranate, Mango Sorbet, Lemon Poppyseed Cake, Swizzle Sticks and two colours of Cotton Candy Frosting.
The one pain to dealing with Rosegirls is their wax is available almost exclusively via pre-order, which means you pay now but only receive your items two to eight weeks down the road. I really don’t mind waiting, particularly if it means I don’t have to engage in any silly online retail antics, but I also like the convenience of, say, K’s ready-to-ship model. Rosegirls announces the times for their monthly pre-orders and other openings via their super active Facebook page; if you’re interested in their terrific wax, you can find a link to that page here.
Sassy Girl Aroma
Sassy Girl is a vendor I’ve only purchased from a handful of times, but I’m super impressed with their quality, complex scent blends and within-the-week turnaround times. Like Rosegirls, Sassy’s wax is available in little blended chunks, as well as about six bajillion other forms (medallions, loafs, sheet cakes and shapes, to name just a few.) Sassy’s wax is a bit harder than, say, Rosegirls in terms of actual composition, although in my experience, that makes for a super long-lasting and incredibly strong product. My favourite Sassy scent is Blueberry Meringue Cinnamon Crunch Torte, an ungodly sounding combo that is pure, this-shouldn’t-work deliciousness – blueberry bakery, not too sweet, dusted with cinnamon and lemon zest. Yum.
Like K’s, Sassy Girl Aroma operates on an open nearly all the time, ready to ship model, with restocks approximately every three weeks. If you’d like to check out Sassy’s extensive catalog of products, you can find them here.
I’m sure there are other indie vendors out there that ship to Canada, or might ship to Canada if you were to ask nicely enough (you’d be surprised; some of these small business owners have been tremendously accommodating) but these are the ones who have earned my business, and who I will return to time and again (or until I run out of storage space, which could be quite soon!)
There are also a couple of vendors that do ship to Canada that I declined to discuss here, as their shipping costs are just too prohibitively high (like, $50 US – so about $75 Canadian – to ship two pounds of wax. As IF.) So an incomplete list. But a good start for any Canadian waxie looking for a bit of guidance on working your way around the Canuck-friendly wax world. I hope some of this information helps. 🙂