Sometimes all a room needs is a tiny flicker of light. “Candles are present in the most important moments of our lives,” muses Havi’s Linda Schlobohm. These radiant flames are quintessential parts of our celebrations, both sombre and joyous. They flicker at weddings and funerals, spreading warmth on winter mornings and on Christmas Eve. Nothing could be more emblematic than the cake with its telltale candles, whispering the birthday hero’s age.
As the CEO of Havi, Linda Schlobohm knows what she’s talking about; the Finnish company is one of the oldest candle manufacturers globally, producing them for over 190 years. Havi has seen many different currents of change ripple through the world but one thing has remained constant: the timeless charm of the candle. In essence, it is still the same as it was two centuries ago—in all of its simplicity, it is a wick embedded in wax. But this humble item can form a world of enduring warmth and light. “The advent of electric light scared candlemakers,” says Linda Schlobohm, as she lets out a lively chuckle, “but a candle is so much more than just a source of light. That’s why it’s an everlasting object.”
Over nearly two centuries the candle has become Havi’s beloved staple item; one that people return to year after year. The company’s ‘antique’ taper candles are still manufactured with machines originally from Vyborg that now reside in Riihimäki, far from their 19th century home across Finland’s eastern border. They are Schlobohm’s favourite candles—ones that continue the story of her family’s business, whilst honouring the artisanship and attention to detail that lie behind candle making. “You have to remember that a candle is a living flame,” explains Schlobohm. “That’s why you need to be extremely meticulous when crafting one.” A good candle should be discreet, yet distinctly present: the je ne sais quoi of a late-night dinner party, or simply a moment of pause.