It must have been 2008 when I first set my sights on Jake Paget. We had both just started our A-levels on a National Diploma course at the Plymouth College of Art and I found myself drawn to this tall, interesting fellow with hair bigger than my whole head. The rest they say, is history. Jake hasn’t changed much since then, apart from a far better haircut, he still oozes confidences, ambition and a determination to succeed bigger than anyone I’ve probably ever met. I thought it was about time I had a chat with him and his business partner and close friend Daniel McKinley on their new homeware adventure.
PS: So what is McKinley & Paget and how did it come about?
JP: Mckinley & Paget is a homeware company focussing on, to start with, scented candles. Our scents are tailored towards individual rooms to cultivate moods we want to associate with those environments. We use high-quality eco soya wax and natural essential oils.
DM: It’s completely bootstrapped from an initial investment of about £100. We made some, sold some, and have reinvested everything. We’re on our third batch now.
PS: What are your individual backgrounds?
JP: Dan and I met on our foundation course at Plymouth College of Art. We’ve remained friends since as we both studied in London. I studied BA Design at Goldsmiths University of London. Since graduating the year before last I founded an ongoing project, HYDE, which is a support network and platform for emerging creatives. Dan has been working with me on this too.
DM: I went to the University of Westminster to study BA Fashion Design. From this I’ve been working in the denim industry for a number of companies big and small, but in 2016 I am launching my own eponymous label with Jake’s help – we’re both friends and long-term collaborators. We even spent a stint running a luxury retail shop, which may have bled into the inception of McKinley & Paget.
PS: What made you want to make candles?
JP: Freedom, really. A lot of what we do is about trying to get creative freedom in our lives. But obviously you’ve got to pay the bills, so for this project we wanted a creative, yet commercial, venture that we could start for a small initial investment.
DM: The idea that underpins this project is wanting to create the things we want in our house and what we think our friends would want. We just noticed we’d go to a friend’s house and there would be a candle burning, but it would burn too quickly, unevenly, or the scent would be synthetic. In a way, we set out to solve a first world problem.
PS: What’s the process of making bespoke candles?
JP: Making a lot of mistakes and finding the right ingredients. A lot like cooking.
DM: Now it’s become just as much about spreadsheets and tracking numbers, but we still make every candle ourselves.
JP: Starting with the raw wax, we carefully melt it down. Once it’s become liquid it is left to cool slightly, then the essential oils are added. Put it in a jar, add the wick and leave it to set. The devil is in the details though, it took a while to find the right quantities, ratios and temperatures for each of the steps.
PS: Why do you use eco-soya wax and essential oils, and how does that make you different from other candles?
DM: It comes back to that ‘problem’ I mentioned before. Eco-soya wax burns more evenly and more slowly than paraffin wax, as well as being completely plant-based and processed to remove any potential contamination from pesticides, herbicides and GMM. We use essential oils for similar reasons, plus they smell better than their synthetic counterparts.
JP: We want to stay away from ingredients sourced from petrochemicals. You get enough of those walking down Mutley Plain, you don’t want to fill your house with them too.
PS: Tell me about HYDE?
JP: As I said before, Hyde is a new creative agency that offers a support network and platform for emerging creatives. This will take many forms, such as placing creatives with mentors, being a sounding board for new ideas, and finding ways to monetise their practice. We are launching an online department store at the start of February, a five day festival across five venues in London in June and an app for creatives to be launched at the same time. For more information check out hydecreative.co.uk
PS: What have you got lined up for the future?
DM: This month, we are launching two more scents and producing our largest quantities to date. After this we’re looking at setting up a subscription service, for both convenience and to reduce waste from packaging.
JP: Once the candle side of things is established we will move into a broader homeware range. The long-term goal is to move into furniture.
PS: How can we keep an eye on what you’ve got coming up? (Social media etc)
JP: Our site is www.mckinleyandpaget.com
Instagram: @mckinleyandpaget @hydecreative @jakecpaget @danielmckinley_c
Depop: search for Mckinley and Paget