Limerick candlemaker hopes to keep the flame burning despite retail struggles

Mulm Candles, run by Limerick man Seán Hickey.

A LOCAL start-up business is hoping to light the way for other local entrepreneurs to set up shop in Limerick City Centre.

Seán Hickey, owner of Mulm Candles in Arthur’s Quay, opened his store selling handmade candles in January, hoping to make a go of his business following great reviews from customers.

Seán started Mulm Candles in 2022, initially selling his wares at the market in Wickham Way, before deciding to take the leap and open a physical store in January this year.

Speaking to the Limerick Post, Seán said that he was always interested in creative pursuits, and when he stumbled upon the art of candle making, he decided to give it a try.

“I always had a passion for creating things, and one day I was just sitting in my car and I started being curious about how you actually make candles.

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“So I read three or four books, and I started practicing in my house and then after a while, after making a few good ones, I started selling them in the market in Wickham Way,” he explained.

Following a successful Christmas period, Seán decided to look for a retail space in the city centre, eventually setting up in Arthur’s Quay Shopping Centre.

Mulm Candles is an entirely self funded enterprise, with Seán teaching English full-time at the ELI Limerick language school on O’Connell Street to finance it.

Despite being aware of the issues facing retail businesses in the city at present, he says it was important for Mulm to have a physical home in Limerick.

“I know if you look around Limerick at the moment, things are looking a little desperate, in terms of retail brick and mortar stores, but it was important to just try it.

“You don’t see a lot of local people opening businesses anymore, I think it’s sad, a lot of the businesses are big chains,” he said.

The candles and wax melts are entirely homemade, from soy wax, fragrance oils, and essential oils, and Seán says that the making of the candles is something he’s become hugely passionate about.

“It’s really therapeutic, it’s my favourite part of the business. I like actually producing the candles more than I do actually selling them.

“When you have a finished product and you see people actually enjoy it and it bring them happiness, it’s really cool.”

Despite his passion for candlemaking, Seán says the summer is the toughest time of the year for candlemakers. He explains his plan is just to survive until the winter when candle season really starts.

“At the moment the plan is just to survive, to get to the winter because that’s when the candle season really picks up.”

However, a recent post to social media platform Instagram does hint that Seán has some reservations around the viability of having a store in the city, and posted on the company’s Instagram page that it’s an uphill struggle to stay open.

“At this point, the battle is not over just yet to keep the business, but to say its now completely uphill is an understatement,” he wrote.