The company, which is run by brothers Mark and David Van den Bergh, have just announced two new stockists in Australia and New Zealand. In Australia, Myer department store chain will now stock the brand across half of their 60 stores, while in New Zealand, the home store Stevens will stock the brand in over 40 stores.
“We’ve just launched into two store groups in Australia and New Zealand. One is Myer, which is a department store rather like Arnotts in Dublin, while Stevens is a home store spread right throughout New Zealand,” says Mark Van den Bergh. “The have taken our classic (and best-selling) collection which includes the Lemongrass & Ginger and White Pomegranate. They will also take our Amalfi collection and our new collection Elysium hopefully this side of Christmas too. I was in New Zealand in August to meet the people at Stevens and will visit Myer in Australia in December.”
December is a busy and commercially important time for the company. In December Mark will visit Shanghai to speak at the Ideal Home Show. It is the first time the Ideal Home Show has ventured abroad and the show in Shanghai will target the middle class consumer looking to enhance their lifestyle via home decoration, smart technology and fashion. “The consumer show in Shanghai will feature premium and high-end brands,” says Mark who currently has 50 stockists in China. “I’ll be talking about creating a fragrance for your home and speaking about our various collections.”
The company's stockists number thousands worldwide. It’s hard to believe that their production is still all based in Ireland yet every candle they make is hand-poured in Enniskerry in Co. Wicklow. “We are quite rare in this regard ﹣ we can hand-pour 2,500 candles per day here so we have complete control over our product. I think we are the only company in Ireland that is mass-producing candles as an artisan brand. Our emphasis is on maintaining that.” says Mark.
The company’s products are stocked across Europe where Alessi is their distributor, they are stocked in Russia and Singapore is fast becoming a strong market for them. “In the last five years we have grown 30 to 35 percent per year,” says Mark. “We really focused on the export market and are now available in 43 countries globally. Partners like Alessi won’t take you seriously unless the product collection is right. Your ability to scale up for export and to bring new (and better) collections to the market is key to growth.”
The new Elysium collection is more “other worldly” than previous Max Benjamin collections. “We wanted the new range to represent another, perhaps 'perfect' world,” says Mark. “To create an idea of escapism ﹣ of taking people to another place. Candles and fragrance diffusers in the new range include Escape to Wonderland, Enchanted Paths and Impressions of Love. They are rich, floral fragrances which are reflected in the opulent foil packaging.”