Living Light NZ:
A Golden Bay Success Story of Passion and Persistence
“Our vision is to offer world class New Zealand/Golden Bay hand-made products of light and scents and to create gifts of affordable luxury, which nurture the human spirit.” Cynthia Baur, owner and CEO, Living Light Candles
Twenty-five years ago, Cynthia Baur began running a business, that serves her community and customers alike. And she is just getting started.
During this quarter century, Cynthia believed in her vision, the products and was happy to be a local employer. The company has grown from one employee to twenty-five during, the peak season and from just a handful, to thousands of customers.
Persisting Through Challenges
But it was easy to get discouraged, as she worked to master all the aspects of both candle making, business management and creating a strong bottom line.
“One day when I was questioning my path, a woman came into my candle gallery, looked at me and said, “Darling, you are making so many people happy with what you are doing.” That moment confirmed I was going in the right direction,” Cynthia says.
Art and Science
“The process of candle making is both art and science. We must be very precise and assess every change we make,” Cynthia says.”
The icicle candles, the company’s most popular product, go out as fast as they can produce them. The icicles are finished by hand, with all extra wax recycled. The beeswax for their candles comes from New Zealand, including Golden Bay.
“Hand-Made” means that everyone working at the factory, carefully creates, then polishes, packs and ships out the orders.
“From the beginning to the end, we pay attention to the quality of the product, the presentation and how it is packed,” Cynthia says.
An All-woman Team
“Our success reflects both the quality of the product and the quality of the people who make them. We look for integrity and the ability to be a good team member,” Cynthia says.
“It is important to me to see women succeed and our all-woman team is very dedicated. We have the tools to resolve any challenges and our end result is filled with love and care,” Cynthia says.
“We care about the environment and use eco-friendly packaging, shredded paper collected from local businesses which can be messy, but environmentally good. All our candles are, bio-degradable and burn carbon-free,” Cynthia says.
Success Secrets and Gratitude
“I have been in Aotearoa 40 plus years and am so proud to be a Kiwi. The nature, the people, the ‘can do’ attitude, the diversity of the landscape, mountains, desert–it is all here,” Cynthia says. “I especially love Golden Bay.”
“You have to provide a space for your team to blossom,” she says. “Trust your intuition, believe in your dreams, (even when others don’t) and be brave, bold and kind.”
“When I walk through the factory doors today, I feel a sense of gratitude, for each person who works at Living Light. Their commitment, attitude, skill level, work ethic and teamwork create a positive working environment, resulting in a beautiful Golden Bay product,” Cynthia says.
“On occasion I’ve wondered if it was worth it. But I’ve always believed in the vision–to keep alive an old art, making something beautiful, that is New Zealand hand-made with love, here in Golden Bay.”
Looking back, she remembers that woman who helped her years ago with her words of encouragement. “She really was an angel that day,” Cynthia says. “If I could see her again, I’d say, ‘Thank you. It is happening now’.”
Holly Stevens – General Manager, “There is something special about working at Living Light. I get to surround myself with people I genuinely respect, while we work together to create and promote a product that I love!”
Ryoko Takahashi – Master Candle Maker, put it this way, “I love so many aspects of my job. It’s like my other passion, cooking. I cook to nourish someone I love. My candle making is to light up someone’s special moments.”
Jude Biggs – Nelson Store Manager, “Living Light is a local company that has stood the test of time. The quality and love dedicated to each candle inspire me, and as a business, we are a family.”
BY DIANE COVINGTON-CARTER