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Photo: Viktor Garmiani, CEO of Candles Scandinavia and founder together with Nina Garmiani. Photo: Lena Larsson.
Candles Scandinavia was born in the garage at the home of Nina and Viktor Garmiani just over ten years ago. The stock exchange is now the next stop for the multi-year Di Gazelle company, which sells paraffin-free candles for more than SEK 100 million on an annual basis.
Candles and scented candles produced on an industrial scale, but with wax from locally grown rapeseed oil instead of the petroleum product paraffin. This is how you can summarize the idea behind the Örebro-based company Candles Scandinavia.
“We broke the code by being able to do this on an industrial scale”, says CEO and co-founder Viktor Garmiani.
In the most recently available financial year, sales grew by just over 60 percent to SEK 75 million, while profit landed at just over SEK 3 million. For the financial year that closed last April, the figures are not yet public. But sales then rose to over SEK 100 million, according to the CEO.
Now the fast-growing candle company also wants to take the next step in its development.
“We will be listed on the stock exchange this year and have come a long way with our advisors Carlsquare”, he says.
The purpose is, among other things, to further develop the product, and to expand abroad. The plan is to initially build up a sales organization in England and France and then in additional countries.
“We have come a long way in the Nordic region, but there is an incredible amount to do beyond those borders”, he says.
Candles Scandinavia distributes both external brands and manufactures its own candles that are sold as private label brands at H&M, Kicks, and Åhléns, among others. The latter revenue stream is the largest.
In connection with the stock exchange listing, the company wants to invest in another production line and move to a new larger property with a factory, office, and lab in one.
“Our share of the scented candle market in Europe today is small. So far, we have only scratched the surface and I view this as an opportunity. The market is growing rapidly and the demand for environmentally friendly alternatives is great”, says Viktor Garmiani.
Today, 50 people work at the company, which for several years has been named a Gazelle Company by DI and is now the Nordic region´s largest manufacturer and wholesaler of scented candles. But the start was more modest. Candles Scandinavia was launched in 2010 after that Nina and Viktor Garmiani opened their eyes to candles.
“The industry is paraffin-focused, while customers prefer a more environmental-friendly alternative. We identified a gap in the market where we could add and build something big in a short time”, he says.
At the start, he labored himself at home in the garage to get the right wax.
“I sat on my knees over a coffee table and boiled different types of wax. The first candles did not even burn”, he says with a laugh.
Following a lot of laboratory work, the quality improved. A chemist was hired and machines were purchased to automate parts of the process. The company´s production line now produces 16,000 candles per day, which corresponds to a full truck.
It is also at this point that Viktor Garmiani considers his company to differ from the competition.
“There are others who make completely natural candles, but it is on a small scale, with a manual process, and at high production costs. And others who make candles on an industrial scale do so by using paraffin”, he says.
After the listing, he plans to remain the largest owner and CEO for a long time. The company itself will also dig where it stands. There are currently no plans to expand the product range beyond candles.
“It is incredibly difficult to make candles with completely natural wax, which is vegan, and from Swedish-grown rapeseed. This is our biggest advantage. That is why we must continue with candles before we expand with more products”, he says.
Are you going to start selling candles directly to end customers online?
“It is part of the plans for the listing. In the long run, we will do it. The product is very suitable for online sales. The price point for scented candles is a little higher and the repurchase levels are high”.
Article writer: Björn Wallenberg, DI