I’m home. I remember the feeling so vividly; a magical sense of belonging and calm yet at the same time the experience of exhilaration as I discovered the rich scents and beguiling textures of an exotic land. I had travelled thousands of miles to feel this sense of home. And in doing so I discovered my true passion – to encapsulate this magical sensation in the welcoming scent and soft glow of a candle.

My interest in candles is nothing new. I have always been fascinated by their scents, textures, and dreamlike light. I spent many years developing perfume samples and honing my craft. But I always had a dream, deep inside my heart, of creating a candle collection that was uniquely, and beautifully, my own. It took a journey to the exotic plains of Africa to turn my dream into my reality.

It was our 20th anniversary. We planned a trip to Tanzania; a truly life-changing journey.

It changed my life because ONNO was born in Tanzania.

In Tanzania I experienced an immediate love for the country, a love that seemed to have always been living inside of me, just waiting for the moment to reveal itself. I was captivated by the rich, warm colours of nature and the spicy fragrance of sun-baked earth and luscious flowers. I couldn’t wait to take these sensations and this experience back with me and share them with as many people as possible.

But could I really do it?

One evening my husband secretly filled the room full of flowers and left a bottle of perfume and a card which simply read, “Make your dreams come true.”

The journey of creation from that moment in Tanzania to the finalization of the ONNO collection was not an easy one. Every day I experienced a new challenge. But it was exhilarating. I focused everything on my dream collection, always keeping in mind that evocative sense of a distant land. I crafted each piece by hand. I selected the perfumes to evoke the spices and warm scents that embraced me during my stay in Tanzania. And I added other delicate fragrances which reminded me of the beauty of other Asian islands and countries.

I really did make my dreams come true.

Luckily you do not need to travel thousands of miles to feel truly at home. It was one of my dreams to bring this magical sense of belonging to you; to bring intense warm scent and irresistible feelings into everybody’s home. My home doesn’t feel home without ONNO, and I’m sure you’ll soon feel the same.

I’m home. I’m Ilse, the proud mother of two sons, Laurent and Edouard, our lovely dog Jules and, of course, the ONNO candles I designed and named after a wonderful boy I met during my unforgettable stay in Tanzania. Enjoy our candles made in Belgium with much love and care – and I hope they help you find your home, and follow your own unique dreams.

Onno Handmade candles process