For Michael Morris, the phrase “follow your nose” takes on new significance as his business, The Bearded Candle Makers, goes from strength to strength.
From a young age, the Belfast-born creative was captivated by the emotive power of scent. As an 8-year-old he wrote short stories exploring the link between smells and memories, now he creates his very own scents inspired by Ireland’s wild landscapes and coastlines.
Five years ago, Michael turned his passion into his career. He left a full-time retail job and, from a small studio in the countryside, began creating candles that would capture the imaginations of people all over the world.
Each candle must be a personal experience for Michael, or it wouldn’t be authentic. From scents inspired by time spent near the peat bogs on the west coast of Ireland to a candle reminiscent of the unmistakeable smell of pages from a well-read book, every single creation is meticulously planned, researched and developed by the candle maker. He shares them with the world in every candle, and loves the thought that his scents evoke fond memories for his customers too.
"It hasn’t always been straight forward but self-belief, a love for my craft and hard work have always kept me going."
“Smells have the power to transport people,” Michael explains. “I close my eyes and can picture myself by a turf fire with a good book, sipping a good whiskey, walking in the Mournes or on Achill Island."
Over the years, Michael has perfected his craft with the dedication of time and by seeking out expert guidance. Learning the traditional disciplines of scent from perfumers in France and combining them with his own skills, he found a niche in the market and poured everything into his work.
Cutting corners might have brought a more rapid success, but Michael is proud to be one of a select number of candle makers who blend their scents by hand rather than using prepared mixes. The process of trial and error, painstakingly perfecting the scent and then pouring and labelling every single candle is where Michael gets his satisfaction.
New surroundings bring new inspirations. The Bearded Candle Makers range has been expanded with addition of distinctive Mourne Heather, Irish Gorse and Irish Whiskey scents. Living with his passion means every day brings the opportunity for a new experience to capture Michael’s imagination and spark the pursuit of the perfect scent for a new candle.
Whether he’s meeting customers at his artisan stall in Belfast’s St. George’s Market, delivering the first order to a new store or hand pouring a candle to be shipped across the world, it’s a burning ambition to tell stories that drives Michael and ensures every Bearded Candle Makers candle is special. “It hasn’t always been straight forward” he reflects, “but self-belief, a love for my craft and hard work have always kept me going.”