Meet The Maker: Lumira (Almira Armstrong)
One of the greatest things about being a small business is that we can have real relationships with not only our staff and customers, but the beautiful brands we stock too. This week we were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to pick the brain of the women behind Lumira candles. To get the ball rolling, we asked: who is Almira Armstrong and why did she venture into the world of luxury scented candles?
"I’m a fragrance and candle designer, a mum to two divine children, Riaz Lukas and Alia Luna, a wife to Luke and an avid traveler. In large part, it’s a mix of all of these things that prompted me to move Lumira forward in a business sense. My candles and the scents that I create are hugely inspired by my travels, both throughout Australia and across the globe."
We had some suspicions that the name 'Lumira' was somehow connected to her name 'Almira' as they do sound somewhat related. Confirming our suspicions and drawing on the connection and influence of her husband Luke, Almira explains the origin of her brand name: "Our names, Luke and Almira, together create the brand name, Lumira. Quite significantly, Lumira is also a derivative of two words that pertain to light - the Latin word, lumin, which means light and the Spanish word mirar, which means seeing."
Almira wasn't always in the business of candles, but as she explains her working history all the puzzle pieces seen to be falling into place. Working within Marketing and PR roles in the lifestyle and fashion space Almira learnt "the significance of brand, design an quality and how, without a consideration of each, brands really struggled to grow."
On top of that, right before she began Lumira, Almira was the General Manager and Marketing Manager for photographic studio, Sun Studios. If you've ever had a look at her Instagram account, all of her prior experience is shining through in her beautiful and on-brand feed.
"You’re right – that is a hard question, because for me scent is so directly related to mood and emotion. However, Persian Rose is a personal favourite. It was one of the first scents I developed and resonates with me in such a significant way. It’s not a traditional rose scent and it was largely this reason that steered me towards creating it as one of our Perfume Oils too."
We know as well as any candle maker how hard it is to choose just one, but we just had to know what her favourite was!
At The Candle Library, every decision we make is made with the environment at the forefront of our mind. That's why we are always keen to know if other brands consider themselves to be environmentally conscious.
"I am very diligent with quality control, so as to ensure we have minimal wastage. I work closely with the team who hand pour everything here in Sydney as I want Lumira to be a brand that, ultimately, doesn’t leave a destructive footprint on the Earth. All of our glass is recyclable, which I think is really important. Mind you, some of my old candle jars never make it the recycling bin as they end up being used as pen, crockery and makeup brush holders."
We talked about starting your own business and her tips for balancing your work and personal life.
"Take time to yourself every now and then. When you start your own business, you don’t have work days and then the weekend. It’s 24/7. I’m getting better at taking some time out, away from the business and just disconnecting. Even if it’s 30 minutes of meditation or reading a good book – take the time! With a young family, sometimes I have no choice but to switch off. They have needs to be looked after and I want to ensure I’m present for them. My husband works with F45, so I try and escape there a couple of times a week too. Fast, high-intensity exercise is the ultimate when you’re busy!"
Everyone has their sources of inspiration and with a line of candles that is so beautiful on the inside and out it is no surprise that inspiration is drawn from many different avenues.
"Honestly, inspiration for me comes from far and wide. I’m inspired by the collaborators I work with, the places I have been lucky enough to travel to, incredible artists and artworks, awe-inspiring architecture… my husband, my friends! It’s interesting, inspiration for the brand never came directly from inside the scent based industry – it was always other industries (art, music, photography etc.) that would play the biggest influence in the development of my scents."
Every person in the world has 24 hours in a day - what you do with them, is up to you. Here's what a day in the life of Almira Armstrong looks like:
"I wake up around 6am and scan social media and emails in bed quickly, before getting up and organising the kid's breakfast. While they eat, I quickly get myself ready for the day. Post drop-offs, I will often have a breakfast meeting with one of my clients, before heading to the studio. I touch base with my team on all of the orders for the day and the marketing activity for the week ahead. I squeeze in lunch between emails and phone calls. I also like to oversee orders before they head out to my clients – quality control is so important! During the afternoon, I will have a cup of tea and answer emails, or meet with one of my collaborators about an upcoming project!As the day nears to the end, I will either go and pick up the kids and grab some dinner, or sometimes I will head out with friends or a client. I do like to cook and I find it quite therapeutic, so will often whip something up if I have enough time. Once the kids are in bed, this is when Luke and I will catch up on each of our days. As we both work quite full on hours, I like to ensure we have time to catch up before we go to sleep!"