For our second year anniversary we thought we’d create and hand deliver a little parcel of happiness to our best customers.
One gift was a candle (can’t get enough of them) – we collaborated with long time customer Daphne from Candles of Light, who mixes small batches of solid scent that bring the wilderness in. We wanted to create a scent that was familiar yet alluring, modern, and still iconic.
This custom blend combines ginger, kaffir lime, pink pepper, and jasmine sambac, a particularly Southeast Asian blend of natural oils and botanicals that stay with you long after you leave.
Here’s a little more on her journey.
Tell us the aha moment in starting Candles of Light.
I took a basic candle making workshop and fell in love with it. In particular, the ability to create or recreate a moment or feeling using a combination of scented raw materials.
I experimented and researched a lot, from the type of wax bases to the combinations of different raw materials, blended (and I still do) a lot of scent blends and evaluated them as a scent as well as in the candle format to figure out what worked and what didn’t, because certain scent combinations just don’t turn out well when burnt in a candle. I experimented with a variety of wicks as well, tried out different melting and blending processes, travelled to France to study perfumery… anyway, the main thing was, when I was in the midst of doing all of this, I had never felt more excited or alive. Everything just felt right, and things felt like they were finally falling into place.
Moment of doubt.
I blend bees wax into soy wax for my candles, and the beeswax I normally use comes directly from the apiary, in brick-like blocks, which I hand grate. A couple of months back, I decided to trial 100% pure beeswax from a new supplier, in pastille form, which I thought would make it easier for me to melt and incorporate into the soywax. I remember scooping out some of the pastilles with my hand into my pyrex jar, and about 15 minutes later, my entire body had broken out in angry red hives, which took about a week to dissipate.
At that point, I was on the cusp of making my decision to turn Candles of Light into a full time pursuit, and for a moment, I thought oh my goodness, what if I was allergic to beeswax? Talk about failure to launch. I finally realized that it was perhaps some sort of product that was used in the refining of the beeswax into pastilles that was disagreeable with me, and I chucked the entire sample I had away. This definitely reinforced my decision to use beeswax where I know the source, for accountability and traceability.
What were and are your other day jobs that do not involve constant aromatherapy?
I worked in an integrated communications agency dealing with lifestyle and F&B clients for over 8 years before leaving for an extended sabbatical. After travelling for a few months, I started freelancing in events and writing, and joined a local business consultancy firm on a part time basis. I’m now moving full time into candle development as well as other related products.
I’m still working on perfecting a feathery amber scent with tropical woods, and an airy fruity floral for hot weather days. Sometimes I wonder if I have a split personality, because I love creating scents in duality, almost as if its some sort of subconscious yin-yang balance. I’ve also come to realise its the scents you like the most which are the most difficult to be satisfied with, because all the combinations never seem to be good enough!
What you hope your customer feels when lighting one of your candles?
One of the things I’m slightly paranoid about, is ensuring the candles are able to diffuse scent when they are lit. Especially when dealing with natural raw materials, which I do. I’ve been there and its frustrating when you purchase a candle which smells lovely and you’re excited to light it up and after you do… nothing. There’s no smell at all.
I’ve learnt that people light candles for a specific mood, whether it’s for relaxation, to uplift them, for calmness when they meditate, when they pray, for entertaining, whatever. What I hope they end up feeling is the feeling of yes, this smells wonderful and I’m getting exactly what I wanted (and hopefully more).
Favorite candle scent that’s not yours?
Anything by Le Labo or Mad et Len. They create such unique and beautiful scents, with formulations that really work.
Best moment in the journey of starting Candles of Light?
Working with brands I truly respect and connecting with like-minded people. And of course, nothing really beats the feeling when you get strangers coming back to buy more of your candles, or seeing someone’s eyes light up when they smell the scents.