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Candle making and soap making

Gildewerk activities for the care industry

  • Harry is visually handicapped.
  • John is confined to a wheelchair.
  • Eve has Down's Syndrome.
  • Anita is autistic.
  • Stephen lives in a psychiatric hospital.

    All of these people work in a 'Crafted with Care' atelier in an institution in the care industry.

    Is it unusual that they work?

    We don't think so. After all, everyone has the need to do enjoyable and useful work. Here is some enthusiastic feedback from an activity counsellor who works at a daycentre:

    "It really works well. The participants really feel like they're involved in their activities. They are proud of what they do. They have developed enormously if you look at where they were when they started. Their personalities have shown growth. There's more social contact between them. Problematic behaviour is generally a thing of the past and their independence has greatly increased."

    Activities for the care industry

    Candle- and soap making are ideal activities for care institutions. In candle- and soap making, it all boils down to teamwork. All participants make their contribution. Everyone is able to try out the craft and discover that a beautiful, saleable product can be created using simple actions and -ingredients. Gildewerk has developed the Crafted with Care concept especially to promote the successful execution of these activities within the care industry.

    Fulfilling a need

    The foundation for the Crafted with Care concept was laid earlier with the setting up of work experience projects by enthusiastic volunteers. These projects offered people - who would otherwise not get a job on the regular labour market - a workplace in which to gain experience.

    In 1976, the first user-friendly equipment for larger-scale candle production was developed. In 1984, the Gildehand Foundation was founded in order to better establish and guarantee the goals set. The goal was - and still is - the fulfilling of the need for need for meaningful activities for people with physical and/or mental disabilities. At the time, this group all too often fell by the wayside, because they were regarded as being too 'weak' for the social workplace. The Gildehand Foundation grew and developed and extended the Crafted with Care concept, making traditional candle making possible for this group.

    As the number of Crafted with Care ateliers grew, it became necessary to involve more professional personnel. For this reason, the Gildehand Foundation established Gildewerk BV in 1990, thereby ensuring the continuity of its service provision. Now profits could be devoted towards new projects. Other activities, like soap making and ceramic decorating were added. However, the original goal didn't change..

    Even currently, the Gildehand Foundation and Gildewerk make sure that the activities performed are in line with the original goal. Thus, the Crafted with Care concept has been guaranteed for care institutions for nearly 30 years!!

    A comprehensive and powerful concept

    The Crafted with Care formula consists of a number of facets:

    • Crafted with Care atelier activity counsellors are trained and supported by Gildewerk.
    • For participants, the Crafted with Care atelier is the safe environment they need in which they can manufacture their products together.
    • Crafted with Care products are fully or mostly produced using Gildewerk's safe, high-quality ingredients and recipes, and they conform to high quality demands.
    • Crafted with Care is a hallmark which only institutions may use to market their products. Thus, this hallmark is exclusively for use by institutions. This hallmark represents quality to a customer. With that, the hallmark is a mark of quality.

    The Crafted with Care hallmark is powerful because many institutions are associated with this name. With this, they profit from a favourable price/quality ratio when purchasing, and enjoy the excellent saleability of their products. This is according to the 'strong together' principle.

    Extensive support

    The support provided to activity counsellors who work in the atelier is essential to the Crafted with Care concept. Activity counsellors are generally not business-people. They mostly do the organisational work required in the atelier as well as fulfilling their actual functions. For this reason, it is very convenient to be able to order everything from one supplier who also provides training and has a wealth of information. For these reasons, Gildewerk provides the most complete package possible which includes all the support needed along with it. Activity counsellors can approach Gildewerk for information, advice and help. People with questions or problems are always welcome to contact us and will always be helped. At Gildewerk, we will address you in your own language from our offices in Belgium, France and the Netherlands, where we also have German colleagues. We also provide documentation material, newsletters, workshops and training. To assist you in the sale of your products, Gildewerk has compiled cost- and sales price calculations and provides sales advice and presentation material. In this way, with the Crafted with Care concept, we can take much work and worry off your hands.

    Working safely and sensibly

    Currently, more than 1000 institutions in Europe and abroad work according to the Crafted with Care concept. One of the reasons for this success is the high quality demands that are set. Only the best and safest equipment, aids and ingredients are supplied. The ingredients and equipment are so safe that participants can work with them without any problem. Besides this, the use threshold of the equipment is low. As a result, all participants from all levels can fulfil a role in the process. All electrical equipment carries Gildewerk's CE hallmark and is therefore checked for safety and reliability.

    Enjoyable and varied work

    Working in an Crafted with Care atelier is an enjoyable activity with countless opportunities. Simple, clear and, therefore, calming activities result in a spectacular end-product. Obviously, this requires some practice, but the exceptional equipment and guidance provided ensures that everything goes smoothly, pleasantly and at the appropriate pace. Creativity is required for colouring, decorating and applying special techniques. Participants have every right to be proud of their trade. Their skilful hands create a beautiful, highly saleable product. This results in much satisfaction. An Crafted with Care atelier provides work to people at all levels. Depending on individual skills and interests, everyone receives a task.

    Production: not a goal, but a means

    For activity counsellors, the manufacturing and sale of products is not a goal, it's a means. The goal is, and remains, providing people with a form of activity that matches their need to do useful and creative work along with their colleagues. Other goals can include the development of social skills, the strengthening of feelings of self-worth and being able to better cope with physical restrictions. The sale of products appears to promote the integration of people with handicaps. Thanks to the existence of a atelier/point of sale, family, friends and neighbours are more comfortable entering an institution. Various ateliers arrange children's parties and guided tours for school pupils, for instance. Participation in markets and fairs also contributes to integration.


    There is a significant margin of difference between the cost- and sales price of Crafted with Care products. Because of their high quality, original designs and attractive colours, there's a high demand for traditional products. Atelier customers include institution employees, participants' friends and family, hotel- and catering organisations, businesses, associations, gift shops, high-end florists and garden centres.

    Desondanks is het atelier meestal geen winstbrenger. Nonetheless, ateliers generally do not generate profit. The Crafted with Care concept must firstly be regarded as a meaningful activity for people who would otherwise not be able to do productive work. Many alternative activities for this group of people are extremely expensive, while an effectively operating Crafted with Care atelier pays back the investment made in equipment and premises, and often turns a modest profit (not taking wages into account). Using such 'profits', many institutions have established new activities - gift shops/ateliers have been opened on busy high streets and these are doing well. This perspective creates extra motivation amongst the participants. It is extremely satisfying for them to see their products selling like hotcakes.

    What do you need to start?

    One prerequisite for an Crafted with Care atelier is that the area can be quickly and effectively cleaned. Effective lighting and adequate ventilation are also required, conditions applying to all other workplaces. Special extraction is not required according to the applicable labour laws, but Gildewerk does recommend it. According to Gildewerk standards, an Crafted with Care atelier should not be located in an area where activities that create dust, like woodwork, take place. Smooth, hard floor covering, like linoleum, and easily cleaned walls are essential. The atelier should also not be exposed to constant sunlight. This is not good for the products. Large working surfaces are very useful. A friendly business should have a cosy atmosphere. The display of the self-produced products can contribute to this. Our range includes aids which can help you display and present your products in an attractive manner. Ideally, an Crafted with Care atelier is located in its own separate area. However, you can equip a practical workplace on a more modest scale. We would be delighted to provide you with made-to-measure information regarding your situation.

    Advice and training

    Beginners receive extensive advice and guidance from Gildewerk. They receive information about the equipment, its operation and safe working methods. If desired, we also handle the organisation relevant to activities, task allocation and the soliciting of customers. Beginners can learn the basic principles of candle- and soap making at workshops at our head office in Haarlem (the Netherlands), at our showroom in Brakel (Belgium) or in our independent office in Allex (Drome, France). We offer these workshops at cost price. During such a day's activities, you'll learn much about the ingredients used, about the use of the equipment and about special (decoration) techniques. Even though the activity may be easily accessible, it still is and remains a trade. After a workshop, the activity counsellors are sufficiently practiced to independently continue with their participants. If they have questions or encounter problems, they can always call Gildewerk. Besides training in the basic principles, we also present workshops for experienced counsellors who would like to learn more about the finer details of the trade. For this, our instructors put together a special workshop program twice a year. By appointment, we also present workshops on location or to the entire team of an atelier. Of course, the Gildewerk range of training packages does not lack special diploma courses.

    Equipment and tools

    The equipment and aids for Crafted with Care ateliers have been especially developed for small-scale but efficient production. As far as possible, all products take the abilities and disabilities of handicapped people into account. The equipment and tools are sturdy, safe through-and-through and extremely user friendly.

    Made-to-measure installation

    An major soap- or candle making installation works well, but this does not mean that you should simply go ahead and start with these activities. Institutions can make a good start with 'smaller' installations and, therefore, lower investments. The equipment is available in various versions. This makes it possible to set up a made-to-measure installation depending on whether you have a limited or unlimited budget, would like to work with individual or multiple participants or will be producing large or small numbers of products. Gildewerk will personally advise you. What's unique about the Crafted with Care concept is that an atelier can easily be expanded. The initially acquired equipment will always remain useful in a larger atelier..

    Reliable supplier

    Gildewerk represents quality and dependability. Our customers know that they can count on us. We have especially grown thanks to the word-of-mouth advertising by activity counsellors who become very enthusiastic, not only about the products, but also about the supplier who doesn't stop after selling his products, but provides service, thinks along with his customers and constantly works towards developing new equipment, tools, techniques and products. Thanks to the Crafted with Care concept, you can confidently approach your customers because your products will be highly saleable because of their quality and attractiveness. This is what Crafted with Care represents - attractive products that are crafted by a likable group of people who put their all into it.

    Free advice

    If you are interested in an Crafted with Care activity, you can make an appointment to visit a Gildewerk Info centre. Here, you will receive extensive information and learn about all the facets of candle- and soap making. Of course, such a visit is free and without obligation. If you would prefer to first receive some printed material, we will gladly send this to you. Request this at holland@gildewerk.com

    There are Crafted with Care ateliers in a number of countries. So, the Crafted with Care concept is also available in different languages, but all with the same quality guarantees.

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