Handcrafted on a 16-acre property in Callignee, Gippsland, comes the aromatic bliss of The Gay Farmer Candles.

Sheep farmer Timothy Bye fell in love with candle making after learning the craft from his niece in Western Australia last year.

In less than 12 months, Timothy has founded a successful business, The Gay Farmer Candles; his candles fast becoming a sought-after homeware with market, event, and online sales skyrocketing.

“In about August last year, I did a candle for a friend who is a triathlete, Molly Irvine from Traralgon; she went to worlds – world championships – and she had to pay her way, so I did a candle for her to help raise money for it,” he said.

“Then it just turned into this gigantic business that I am now just trying to handle.”

The Gay Farmer Candles, 100 per cent soy candles in reusable glassware individually handcrafted and packed by Timothy, are for the lovers of a lit candle, with an array of incredible scents from Comfort Linen and Relaxation, base notes of musk, white cedar, vetiver and soothing Tonka, and top notes of lemon, white ginger and bergamot to Morning Latte and Almond Milk Caramel.

“I’m a one-man band,” Timothy said.

“Everything is done by me, and it’s a process.

“Some days you wake up, and you’re like, ‘I really don’t want to do this today’, but you have to because if I don’t do it, no one else is going to do it.

“There are no sick days, there is no nothing, it’s just get up and do it, but I love it.”

From melting the wax on his stovetop, stirring frequently, adding in selected fragrance oils for The Gay Farmers Candles’ popular Monkey Farts – this includes base notes of vanilla, mid-notes of maple and top notes of butter and sugar cane – then hand pouring the melted mixture into glass jars and leaving to set, Timothy can produce about 24 candles an hour.

“It’s quite a process; once they’ve set, then you’ve got to label and box,” Timothy said.

“My best is about 50 a day; from start to finish, it takes about 10 hours.”

The Gay Farmer Candles are a treat for any candle lover offering an array of tantilising scents. Photo: Contributed

Timothy’s establishment of The Gay Farmer Candles has introduced him to a whole new world of travelling local businesses, the sheep farmer- turned-candle maker revealing he loves events like East Gippsland Field Days.

“I love coming to all these events, it is so much fun, and you meet some really cool people,” he said.

“I’ve got a lot of market friends; it’s really cool that we’re like a real community that kind of gets around.

“We all talk about which market or event we are going to and where we should go, there’s a little group of us, and we’re all swapping which events have been really good for us.”

Timothy warmly received becoming part of a new welcoming, and supportive community.

“I started at Warragul Arts Market and met some really cool people there, and through that, I’ve met a lot of others and did different events,” Timothy said.

“So it is a big perk, getting to know other marketers, not only being a part of the community but you can find out what is working at the time; I’ve noticed some of the markets are slowing down, just with financial stuff at the moment it’s slowing down, but the big events, like the two, three-day events are doing really well so I have swapped my strategy from doing local markets to the bigger events like East Gippsland Field Days.

“There are some big one-off events like I did Coongulla their Paddy Market, which was amazing, and I went to Foster for their Easter Market, and Farm World (at Lardner Park), that was massive.”

Through The Gay Farmer Candles, Timothy is actively supporting the Black Dog Institute.

Originating in 1985 as the ‘Mood Disorders Unit’ at Prince Henry Hospital, Sydney, the Black Dog Institute was founded in 2002 and has since been at the forefront of mental health research.

Today the Black Dog Institute addresses new challenges and opportunities in mental health, including suicide prevention, digital innovation, lived experience, youth and workplace mental health.

“Black Dog Institute did a lot of work down in Gippsland with Warragul Football Club losing a lot of players to suicide, same with Traralgon, they came down and did a lot of work with the clubs,” Timothy said.

“So when I started this, I was like, ‘Alright, I’ve got to get to the point where I can do a candle to donate’.”

The Gay Farmer Candles collaborated with the Black Dog Institute to develop a one-of-a-kind candle, with $10 from each sale donated to the non-profit facility.

“They created it; they picked the scent, they picked the glassware, everything,” Timothy said.

“I was emailing with their marketing team, and I asked ‘hat do you want’; I sent the samples up, and they absolutely loved it, so it went into production.

“At the moment, it’s $10, but I want to get the business to a point where that is a full $45 to Black Dog Institute, so that’s the next goal.

“They (Black Dog Institute) are incredible, and they do it off very little donations at the moment.”

Founder of The Gay Farmer Candles, Timothy Bye. Photo: Zoe Askew

The Gay Farmer Candles is a business that reflects its founder in all aspects, from the love of art and candles to supporting and promoting mental health and mental health research to the vibrant, eye-catching logo which screams, “I’m here, I’m gay, so deal with it”.

“Stags are leaders, and they’re always the one in the pack that’s always in front,” Timothy said.

“The Gay Farmer started as a YouTube channel, and I wanted a deer head, I love deer heads, I love antlers; it’s just a thing.

“Plus all the meaning behind it as well.”

Nothing could capture Timothy and his business more than the rainbow watercolour stag head.

“So many people are like, ‘thank you for being your authentic self’, but there is no point having a business where I am pretending to be something else,” he said.

“Being at and going to rural events shows younger country people they can be their authentic selves too; if I can express myself, why can’t they.”

Follow The Gay Farmer Candles on socials for updates and appearances at upcoming events.