SPÈ Candles tells the story of Speyside by evoking the magic and wild romance of this beautiful region in Scotland. Spé draws creativity from the majestic views and rising silver mists, remote wilderness and heather covered hills, ancient forests and the iconic River Spey. Speyside is a land of humble shepherds cottages, ancient castles and grand estates. Malt whisky runs through our rivers and our veins. The air and glens are filled the with sweet aromas of toasted barley, oak blended with forest, floral scents and moorland grasses. From all of this we take our inspiration!
My name is Yvonne Duncan-Mandel and I am the creator and designer of Spè Candles. I was born in Aberdeen but have spent much of my life living in Montreal, Canada after marrying my Canadian husband, Douglas. My background is in fashion design, property renovation and interior design. Douglas and I created the mens clothing collection KAMKYL Mens Collection in Montreal, Canada. Douglas has worked extensively in design and luxury retail for companies such as Christian Dior and is a great source of experience for me. His job has allowed us to indulge our love of travel allowing us to call Moscow, London and Canada our most recent homes. All through our travel we longed to call Scotland home again so our dream came true when we purchased a remote and wild property in Upper Knockando. Glenarder is our happy place. I need no more inspiration than walk out my front door to be inspired!
The first 3 or so years living Knockando were spent travelling back and forth between Moscow, Russia and Glenarder, Upper Knockando. It never once stopped being a thrill to drive up those last 3 km from Knockando to Glenarder ending the long journey from Moscow. Just the same as it never stopped being a thrill to fly into Domodedova Airport in Moscow returning from the wilds of Knockando. The contrasts were startling but addictive. For three years we concentrated on fully renovating our little cottage, bringing it back to life with local materials and products, such as blankets from Knockando Woollen Mill and furniture from Johnstones of Elgin.
Through this time my idea about candles was brewing and I started to study and teach myself the craft. Three years later I have come quite a way. Many of our clients at Glenarder have left with a handful of candles as keep sakes and gifts from Speyside. Last year we attended the Aberlour Christmas Market and really had a great experience. I have even gone as far as selling some candles back in Canada.