The One About An Interview With East Haus.
EAST IS BEST: THE HACKNEY EDIT
We are big fans of supporting East London independents, especially those who also happen to be our neighbours. Kate Arnold founded The Hackney Edit in 2018. Her beautiful candles are inspired by her surroundings and are handmade by her in her Bethnal Green kitchen. We recently chatted with Kate to find out a bit more about her life in East London and how The Hackney Edit came to be.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how did you come to be in Bethnal Green?
I am an Essex girl originally but I have lived in London since I was 16. I left school and studied at The London University for 2 years and based myself in North West London, then after a short stint back in Essex I moved to South East London for 3 years before leaving for 2 years to travel, then tried out West London, living on canal boat which I loved but circumstances brought me to East London and Bethnal Green is where I have been the longest. As I have got older I have found myself moving more towards the centre of London instead of away and enjoying more and more everything the East End has too offer, and there is a lot!
How did the idea for Hackney Edit come about?
The Hackney Edit is a culmination of creative skills I have acquired over time, I have always been crafty and resourceful with the objects i have around me and love to spend weekends making furniture out of pallets, my flat is actually a homage to the humble pallet! I have never had the confidence or enough time to pour my all efforts into one thing but last year I bit the bullet and decided to try and marry everything I have learnt in my various roles, as well as attempting to tie in a more topical agenda of sustainability, greener living, chemical free products on top of making a great product that would appeal to the people of East London.
What did you do before you started Hackney Edit?
Apart from a few rogue corporate jobs that didn't last long, I have always been in the make up/skincare industry in some capacity. Starting out as a counter make up artist in Selfridges to go on and run my own wedding make up business for 5 years. I then moved into the skincare side of beauty and made organic skincare products for a company in Hackney Wick. It was during this time my own creativity came to the fore and I started to tinker at home with making my own candles for gifts and then had the opportunity to give the idea the time and energy it needed to come to life. I spent the summer researching, reading and testing and towards the end of of 2018 began making the early versions of what is now The Hackney Edit.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
As the name, The Hackney Edit, would suggest my inspiration is all around me. There are so many diverse pockets of Hackney and I thought it would be nice to try and showcase them and bring a little part of Hackney into peoples homes even if they don’t know the area. The first candle is based on the infamous Columbia Road Flower Market, it is hard to try and pick just a few scents that represent this but I opted with the less obvious choices and it is has gone down a storm! The second is called Freehouse and is based on the varied places to drink in East London - from trendy wine bars to a good old fashioned boozer, we have it all. The third candle is called Hackney Marshes and is inspired by the smell of fresh cut grass and the many wild flowers and herbs that grow along the banks of the canal.
How long does it take you to create a new candle fragrance and what is involved in the process?
Scent is subjective, so what I may think is fabulous you might think is horrendous. I have to try to find scents that are strong yet not over bearing or sickly but also with some sense of connection to the area in Hackney I am working towards. With Columbia Road, I spent the best part of two months experimenting with different combinations of floral fragrance before I found something I could work with. The other consideration is that the scent will smell very different once it has cured in the soy wax for two weeks, so I might make something I like in its pure form but then when it comes to burning, it might not throw very well (how strong the scent is when you burn the candle) or a particular note might get lost. I didn’t fully understand the science behind a great smelling and perfect burning candle when I chose this path but you would be mistaken if you thought it was easy!
East London seems to cultivate creativity and entrepreneurship, do you think living and working in this environment helped encourage you to start your own business?
Without a doubt. We are surrounded by like minded people trying to go it alone, bring a product to market that makes life easier or better or cleaner, and create awareness around sustainable living. There are so many great makers markets in East London whether selling or buying they are always full of ideas and creativity. Co working or creative space working is super important as well, if you are working alone or from home you need that in your life to bounce ideas off the person next you or ask a pressing question that your cup of tea at home can’t answer or even help you make sense of how to set up a shop on Facebook or Instagram. Everything I have done for The Hackney Edit I have learnt myself but I have always gone to my peers for insider knowledge and assistance. Setting up something yourself could be a very insular task but luckily in East London there are numerous options to be working or creating around like minded people.
Do you think you’ll always live in East London and if so, where and what would your dream home be? Or perhaps you are already in it?
I don't see why not. It has everything you could want and more, open areas, busy high streets, independent shops and great coffee and wine bars. We are looking to our first purchase towards the end of the year and are hoping for something in the streets around London Fields. The houses there have so much character and history, the roads are quiet and the park is just moments away. If I had my way everything would be open plan and stuffed with refurbished furniture, road side finds and generally anything that has a history to it. I love that old furniture has had so many lives, if pieces are looked after they can withstand the test of time and look current in any setting. I would, of course, need a “ pottering shed” in the garden to listen to Radio 2 and make fabulous candles!
And finally, describe to us your perfect weekend in East London, where would go, what would see and most importantly, where and what would you eat?!
Oh! So many options. My perfect weekends at home in London tend to involve the other half, sunshine and wine. I would pop round the corner to The Common E2 for a coffee and soak up the sun whilst meandering through Victoria Park, call in at Broadway Market for some fresh street food for lunch and weather permitting take some time to people watch in London Fields, i also love spending time in the book shops there. If dinner was on the cards my absolute, number one favourite is El Ganso, the food is on point, the staff are amazing and the place is always buzzing. Then, if someone really twisted my arm I would head to Sager and Wilde for a nightcap or two. Perfect.