In September, 1989, Pam bought me some encaustic wax colours, a travel-sized iron and some painting card all by mail-order; when I eventually switched the iron on and combined these 3 things (wax, card, iron), those magical effects started to appear and for a couple of years, I had a very enjoyable hobby.
In June, 1992, we plucked up courage and booked a table at a local craft fair where people, to my amazement, bought my pieces of card with coloured wax on them! They called me an artist too! (I've got no artistic background whatsoever!) Several visitors to the stand were so intrigued (I was sitting there working away with my iron etc), that they wanted to know all about it and where they could buy materials to have a go themselves. "Have to send away for it" I said.
We actually went home in profit and decided to try a few more shows but as there had been so much interest in the encaustic materials, we bought extra and had some for sale on the stall - a few people bought waxes etc but enquired as to how to get more supplies " You take my details and I'll send through the post" I said. Once back home it dawned on me that we could have a mail-order business, "Better produce an order form, dear" I said! We needed a name; we live in a tiny Essex village called Wakes Colne - "Wakes Waxes" sounded good, so it got added to the address on the order form. Since then, many people have pointed out that our surname could have been used - "Moulton Wax" or some such, but I'm glad we stuck with Wakes Waxes!
I think we started advertising in the Classified section of the UK craft magazines in 1993 and that gradually generated more customers
Since that tentative start in 1992, our range of encaustic tools & materials and presentation items has increased every year and I'm sure that we now offer a greater range than anywhere else.
People sometimes ask "Where to buy from?". We haven't got any stockists as such but some of our customers do also take a few of our Starter sets out to craft fairs. Encaustic art isn't a franchise; anyone can stock and sell the items but because it is a real minority art at present, most shops can't warrant shelf space for it as the turnover is so low. So since about 1993, we've been one of the main suppliers - mostly by mail order but also at craft shows around East Anglia. Our mail order service is very quick as our customers would testify - many actually phone me to say how surprised (and pleased) they are to get such speedy delivery.
There isn't a Wakes Waxes shop but locals do come and see us by appointment (just ring 01787 227320 to tell me roughly when you would like to come). I keep large stocks of most things on the order form and orders usually seem to arrive in such a way that I can manage to process nearly every one (and get it on it's way) the same day that it arrives. If you don't hear anything within a few days of sending your order, then something has almost certainly got lost in the post and you should contact me; having said that, we do close for one week in the year for our annual holiday!
Wherever we can, we re-use packaging but our large turnover now means that we have to buy most boxes instead of getting them all from the local shops!
Encaustic Art (and related items) is all that we do at Wakes Waxes, so in the big, wide world, we're very small and our turnover isn't up to where we have to be registered for VAT
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