This little light of mine: Warming hearts one candle at a time

Let passion be your drive

There is always something romantic about candles. It’s usually associated with dimly lit rooms and couples looking deeply into each other’s eyes. Add a dash of essential oils to it, and you’re sure to spice up the environment even more.

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This little light of mine: warming hearts one candle at a time | weirdkaya
Photo courtesy of Kai Li

Sadly, unlike countries like Korea and China, the local customisable scented candle market has yet to pick up the pace. However, one woman is out to change just that.

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Kai Li, a final year university student, was attracted to the scented candles scene after watching several TikTok videos. Thus, she decided to launch her own business.

Watching videos of candles being removed from their moulds always give me a sense of satisfaction and inner healing. Besides, I genuinely believe that it’s something worth exploring.

“There’s a huge gap to be filled up in the Malaysian market.”

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Transforming thoughts into action

The 22-year-old believed that customisable scented candles could be a hit in Malaysia though the market wasn’t ready yet.

I spent a few thousands of Ringgits in attending the premium course. It would better equip me with the techniques to meet my customers’ needs.

This little light of mine: warming hearts one candle at a time | weirdkaya
Kai Li getting her certificate (Photo courtesy of Kai Li)

“But thanks to my interest in handmade crafts, I’ve never regretting taking the course as I see it as a chance to learn and gain experience in something I love doing,” she says.

Fortunately, Kai Li’s investment paid off. She was rewarded with massive growth in user base and traffic, particularly during last Christmas.

My user base increased from around 200-300 followers to more than 1000, while the orders skyrocketed from 500 to 1000!

She also noted that more scented candles businesses have mushroomed in recent months, a positive sign for a largely unknown industry.

One woman show 

If there’s something that makes Kai Li’s business special from the rest, it’s definitely the fact that she’s running the entire establishment all by herself.

She says that the toughest part of the job is shaping the candles and waiting for them to dry out before she can remove them from the mould.

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This little light of mine: warming hearts one candle at a time | weirdkaya
Cinnamon candle (Photo courtesy of Kai Li)

“What I would usually do while waiting for it to dry is processing the orders, keeping a sharp eye on the sales, and dealing with customers.”

Unfortunately, Kai Li has had a fair share of unreasonable customers who were a pain in the neck as they failed to understand the tedious process of making scented candles and often demanded fast deliveries, which is near impossible.

While most are considerate, there’s a handful of clients who would chase me endlessly for a certain product.

“There’s no point arguing with such people. Thus, what I plan to do for such clients is to have ready stock available and provide real-time delivery once I move to Puchong.”

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This little light of mine: warming hearts one candle at a time | weirdkaya
Kai Li making candle (Photo courtesy of Kai Li)

Although Kai Li barely earns enough to cover her living expenses, this has not dampened her enthusiasm for the business.

“I’m a part-time business owner with a full-time mindset,” she declared proudly.  

She also has plans to organise workshops for those interested in making scented candles. However, it’s currently at a standstill due to FMCO.

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Sense of belonging 

While Kai Li is all alone in the business, she does not wish for her customers to feel the same during this unprecedented crisis, where many are separated from their loved ones.

Just as the tagline says, “A light to warm your heart”, I want to create something that provides a sense of warmth and belonging for my customers, along with their family and friends.

“In the past, we used to either purchase branded scented candles or settle for inferior candles that don’t smell good at all. With customisable scented candles becoming more available, everyone can now enjoy affordable candles without compromising on their quality,” she says.

Are you looking for this sense of belonging? Get yourself a scented candle by Kai Li to gift your friends! You can check out her products on Instagram @fairyisland_kl

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Cover Images via Kai Li

Editor: Anna Wong
Proofreader: Sarah Yeoh

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