We all love a stroll round the Barbican. Whether you like to peruse the quirky independent shops or soak in the history that echoes down the cobbled streets, there’s something for everyone.
And now there’s some more new faces on the block, who both sell heavenly wax melts.
You may not know what a wax melt is, and you’re definitely missing out. It’s a wick-less scented piece of wax that is melted in a warmer, which heats and melts the solid wax, giving off a scent.
Paris Cooper is one businesswoman who’s taking the scented wax world by storm, and has gone from a stall in Plymouth Market to her very own shop on Southside Street.
The business boss first launched her business online in May 2020 after she started making wax melts at home in her kitchen as a hobby and for her own personal use.
After giving her samples to friends and family, the 29-year-old was encouraged to start her own business and then Elsie Boo-Tique was born.
And the stall, named after her cat Elsie, has gone from strength to strength, and she’s now opened up her very own shop in the Barbican.
Paris said she was driving past the unit, and noticed it was to let.
“I just thought let’s see how it goes, it wasn’t something I was looking to do,” she said.
But now the scent paradise is going down a treat in the city, and wax wizard Paris is hoping that with restrictions easing, even more people will be able to pop in to her new premises.
She said: “We’ve been steady since we opened. With everything opening back up again and people being able to go out and inside instead of sitting in the rain, it’s great.
“Obviously the Barbican will bring people down as well, it’s been nice and steady to get us on our feet and it can only get better!
“It’s nice to be able to do our own hours as well. Obviously with the market they don’t do Sundays, which is quite a big day down here for people off work being able to mooch around. They don’t do bank holidays either so we missed out a bit on that whereas we can do all of that now here. If we want to open at 10pm we can do it, there’s so much more freedom.”
If you needed any other reason to visit this quirky new scent nirvana, Paris’s adorable sausage dog puppies Dexter and Evie also frequently make appearances.
And Paris isn’t the only one that’s bringing the wax melt game to the Barbican.
Shannon Walker, 25, says she’s ‘obsessed’ with the scented wax melts and takes pleasure in making them.
The former trainee paralegal has just opened up her business in the twisty labyrinth of The House That Jack Built, and is offering the people of Plymouth her gorgeous scents.
The Devonport entrepreneur has been making wax melts throughout the first lockdown, and says she instantly fell in love with it.
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She said: “I started making my own as a hobby. I loved my house smelling fresh and sweet! I used to spend a fortune on candles but, since making wax melts, I converted myself, they are much stronger and convenient for when I get bored of one scent (which now happens a lot!)
“The whole process of making wax melts is really therapeutic. I love anything crafty so this, to me, is bliss and I would happily do it just for fun.”
She continued: “This is a complete new venture for me! I decided to take the plunge of opening up a shop on the Barbican and becoming my own boss, after the kind encouragement of my parents and family. I never imagined I would open my own shop – this early on, anyway.
“My dream since making melts has always been to open up a shop of my own. I am glad that I have and have no regrets! It has been absolutely amazing meeting new faces and people from all over the UK. Interacting with people and seeing customers leave with smiles on their faces is the most rewarding part.”
The wax melt queen hand-makes and pours all of her melts using soy wax, which is natural, biodegradable and renewable.
“After lots of trial and error, I found this to be the best, most eco-friendly wax to use,” she said. “It is also vegan friendly! My favourite scent at the moment is Strawberry and Lily but this always changes as I have around 30 scents and can never decide.
“Another few of my favourites are; Black Cherry, Snowfairy, Midnight Jasmine, Flozora Twilight Garden and Monkey Farts -I promise it doesn’t smell as bad as it sounds, it reminds me of those banana foam sweets!”
And she doesn’t just sell gorgeous scented wax melts, there’s also candles, incense, magic spell candles, bath bombs, handmade soaps, shampoo bars and aromatherapy necklaces.
She continued: “I love being in the House that Jack Built. It is such a quirky place, with so much history about it. The people here are very friendly and always seem to help each other out. It is a really friendly community.”
She has a Facebook group to share her fab creations with her customers, and writes: “I decided to open this new venture as I’m OBSESSED with wax melts and take such pleasure in making them!
“I literally have around seven in my house now and always have them burning I’ve been making them for almost a year. I’m always trying new scents and thinking of what I could be doing differently.
“I absolutely adore making wax melts and would LOVE to know if you love them, just as much! After lots of trial and error, I have some beautiful ones ready to be bought and orders ready to be placed.
“As time goes on, new scents will be added and more excited things are planned as the business gets bigger.”