Inspired By The Elements.
Essence + Alchemy is an experiment in design, ritual and natural fragrance focused on handcrafting sustainable collections with honesty and transparency to support natural well-being. Combining the theories of traditional aromatherapy, ancient alchemy and well-considered design, Essence + Alchemy brings together a portfolio of consciously made, natural and unique products influenced by the natural world, alchemy, mythology and imagination.
“Alchemy is the art that separates what is useful from what is not by transforming it into its ultimate matter and essence.”
— Philippus Aureolus Paracelsus, Alchemist
Without compromise, everything that goes into an Essence + Alchemy product is 100% natural and synthetic free. A plant base + pure essential oils for scent, that’s it, nothing else – no artificial/synthetic fragrances, colours or additives. An uncomplicated formula of natural simplicity.
To support natural well-being and retain the true essence and aromatherapeutic qualities of the plants, scents are formulated by the careful blending of steam-distilled and cold pressed pure essential oils. Each scent is unique, a botanical daydream designed to help calm, ground, restore, energise and uplift.
“Odors have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions, or will. The persuasive power of an odor cannot be fended off, it enters into us like breath into our lungs, it fills us up, imbues us totally. There is no remedy for it.”
— Patrick Süskind, Author
Consciously Crafted + Circular Products.
Sustainability and ethical values should never have to be sacrificed for good quality. This philosophy is built into every Essence + Alchemy product. By creating natural and sustainable products it helps protect our planet now and for future generations. Excessive packaging creates unnecessary waste that consumers inherit. Strongly averse to the waste and environmental impact of the home fragrance industry and with an aim to do things differently, we provide refills and work only with natural and locally sourced materials for products and packaging. Quality, well-being and sustainability will always be at the heart of Essence + Alchemy, and as the brand grows it only becomes more integral.
Scent + Science.
Essence + Alchemy founder and product maker, Lesley Bramwell started out as an environmental scientist in industrial manufacturing. After experimenting for many years with botanicals and essential oils for their therapeutic properties for her own wellbeing, she decided this was her true passion and it was time to launch a new venture.
Lesley started creating natural rapeseed wax candles in her kitchen back in 2014 and in 2015 formulated the idea for Essence + Alchemy, bringing together the natural scent and energy of plants (essence) + Lesley’s scientific and environmental background (alchemy).
Taking a scientific approach that’s balanced with nature, Lesley designs, handcrafts and packages each Essence + Alchemy product from a small garden laboratory in Sheffield.
“Essence + Alchemy is like a scientific equation, a formula of combining natural scent with a little bit of magic mixed in.”
— Lesley A Bramwell, E+A Founder
Protecting the Planet.
Essence + Alchemy’s values are those of a brand started by an environmental scientist with a passion for sustainability and slow living. The approach taken towards product formulation, design and packaging demonstrates this, ensuring that all goods are made with minimal impact on the earth, it’s people and it’s organisms. From suppliers, to the way products are manufactured and packaged, sustainability and environmental protection is at the core of the brand. Throughout the supply chain E+A are committed to always using natural, ethical, sustainable, GM (Genetically Modified) free, cruelty free and as many organic raw materials as possible.
All of E+A products are completely unique, thoughtfully designed, formulated, and handmade in small-batches in the garden laboratory in Sheffield, UK. No part of the manufacturing process is outsourced. Striving to use creative solutions to make a positive impact on the planet for e.g. through circular product design to reduce waste, the Essence + Alchemy sustainable Refills ⟲ line launched in 2017 to encourage the reuse of containers and to provide a refreshing alternative to throw away containers. As the brand grows, the same care will be implemented, here’s how ↓
Essence + Alchemy is pioneering circular economy in the home fragrance industry with an aim to help reduce the amount of packaging that ends up in landfill each year. By eliminating packaging whenever possible, circular design thinking launched the E+A Refills ⟲ line in 2017 to encourage the reuse of containers. This in turn minimises packaging and waste for the customer.
E+A packaging includes British made recycled card stock for candle packaging and incense, FSC certified and environmentally-friendly ECF pulp paper labels, recycled tissue papers, paper tape and glassine bags, which are all 100% recyclable and biodegradable. All print is water or vegetable based. Postal boxes are left unbranded so they can easily be reused and wherever possible postal packaging received from suppliers is reused. When shipping, products are protected only with recycled papers and boxes are sealed with paper tape. We don’t use any plastic, bubble wrap or fillers.
All product packaging is plastic-free, using glass and porcelain containers for candle collections, recycled card and paper stock for refills and aluminium tins for incense cones.
Championing Slow-Living + the Buy Less Choose Well Philosophy.
We hope that you will love your candle vessels for many decades, they are made to last and to be reused over and over again with Refills. The Essence + Alchemy beaker glass is very versatile for reuse, with its modern and timeless design, non-branded or coloured, it can be used long after the candle has burned away. Watch the video for some good ideas on reusing your candle glass.
If you no longer need an E+A vessel, please send it back so we can reuse it.
Very little to no waste is produced during the manufacturing process due to accurate measuring techniques and making to order in small batches.
We recycle all recyclable materials and here in Sheffield, non-recyclable waste is converted into energy for the city as waste to energy recovery. This type of energy production reduces the amount of waste going to landfill sites, reduction of carbon emissions and reduction of the use of fossil fuels.
Postal packaging received from suppliers is reused wherever possible.
We always consider the life cycle of our products, in particular their end use, making sure that the container & packaging is either reusable, recyclable, biodegradable or all of these. The best example of our commitment to reducing waste is the Essence + Alchemy Refills ⟲.
Great care is taken when sourcing raw materials, only using natural ingredients that are produced in a sustainable and ethical way and avoid those that aren’t. We will keep on using natural and wherever possible organic ingredients in our products and choose to work with suppliers that share our values – respecting the earth, the people and organisms living on it.
When sourcing raw materials, they are always sustainable, ethical, cruelty-free and as locally sourced as possible. Rapeseed wax has been used in E+A candles since launching in 2015. Rapeseed is a plant, which has been grown in Britain and Europe for hundreds of years as animal feed and to protect and improve soils. This natural plant wax is made from the oil of the rapeseed plant. It is sustainable, GM free, non-hazardous, biodegradable, harmless to wildlife and because it is grown locally and manufactured here, it has a lower carbon footprint than other imported plant waxes such as soy, coconut and palm wax.
Protecting the planet also means protecting the people and wildlife on it. Essential oils are in high demand, many with high sustainable and ethical issues associated with them (more info) therefore we ensure that only oils from sustainable and ethical sources are used in E+A products and that we continue to work with reputable British suppliers who share our values.
Alarmingly, every year, 8 to 12 million tonnes of plastics are dumped into the oceans. If current trends continue, our oceans could contain more plastic than fish by 2050. Here at Essence + Alchemy we do not use plastic in any of our products or packaging. Raw materials supplied to us in plastic containers are cleaned and returned to suppliers or recycled.
Water is very precious and not a luxury that everyone on the planet shares. To reduce water consumption, we use it minimally in manufacturing. Rainwater is collected in water butts for re-use in the Essence + Alchemy garden and waste water is filtered and directed to a watering system in the apothecary garden.
Energy + Carbon Footprint
We have been working hard to reduce the amount of energy we use to produce, transport and sell Essence + Alchemy products to you. We have been doing that by making processes more energy efficient by using our local post office, switching off equipment when not in use and always using low voltage equipment.The garden laboratory has been insulated to ensure that it is warm in winter and cool in summer, eliminating the need for air conditioning or excessive heating equipment.
We also fund the planting of trees in the UK and globally via Ecologi. Ecologi partners with climate projects all over the world to offset carbon emissions and plant trees. One of the best tools against climate crisis and to stop earth temperatures from rising is to plant trees. The garden laboratory is also surrounded by a wide diversity of wildlife – trees, flora and fauna, all extracting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
It’s very important as a British based brand to support local manufacturing and business because this not only supports the local economy but it also means a reduced carbon footprint cutting down on global transportation and unnecessary air/freight miles. We work with UK manufacturers and suppliers including glass blowers, tin makers, box makers, printers, designers, photographers, wax and essential oil manufacturers and suppliers. Where materials can’t be sourced in the UK directly or via UK suppliers, we work with a few select suppliers in Europe.
Energy is supplied by Pure Planet, an ethical energy company which uses 100% renewable energy and 100% carbon offset gas.
Alchemist + Founder
Essence + Alchemy was launched in 2015 by Lesley, who had an ambition to formulate the most natural and sustainable scented candles possible, using traditional craftsmanship combined with the age old practice of aromatherapy and the ancient theories of alchemy.
Lesley grew up on the north east coast of England surrounded by nature, the scent of sea air and dense woodland. Introduced to aromatherapy after receiving a gift of essential oils from her mother, she was intrigued both by their natural scent and healing properties. A long time obsession with nature and it’s protection, Lesley graduated from the University of Bradford with a Batchelor of Science degree in environmental science and went onto work in the field of industrial and workplace pollution. Years later and a continued obsession with the natural power of aromatherapy, amidst a stressful house renovation, Lesley started making essential oil scented rapeseed wax candles as a calming distraction and eventually took E+A full-time a few years later.
A self-taught scent alchemist, Lesley has no formal training in this field, but decades of personal aromatherapy experience and research into essential oils, science and wellbeing, she went to work in creating the compositions, which launched her first signature scents. A fascination with aromatherapy, old alchemical texts and symbolism led to the perfectly balanced equation of Essence + Alchemy and the continual evolution of the brand. Over time, the scents have developed and new ones have been formulated as well as creating bespoke scents for businesses, brands and events (Co-LABs).
“Essence + Alchemy is my way of elevating the art of natural scent by creating a sensory connection with nature with a core focus on wellbeing and natural science. Essential oils are the essence, the molecules and energy that radiate the life force of plants and they can support you physically and emotionally. When developing scents, the starting point is always the plants, their connection with the natural environment and their therapeutic properties. A strict alchemical process of using only pure naturals and small-batch methods ensures not only beautifully scented goods but consciously made products with therapeutic benefits that capture the true essence of plants.”
— Lesley A Bramwell