22.4 C
Brunei
Thursday, February 9, 2023
22.4 C
Brunei
Thursday, February 9, 2023
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    Crafting candles

    Lyna Mohammad

    The decision by two cousins, Hana Wajihah binti Haji Ahmad Baihaki and Shasha Nurqamarina binti Haji Noorshari, to start up their own home-based candle-making business was the result of a spur-of-the-moment idea on a random Friday, when the country was at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “We thought, what better way to pass time than to start a small business and build up our candle making skills? We knew working on a small business alone with no prior experience was going to be difficult, but we both decided to have a go for it,” they said.

    Going by the name Dian Studio, they shared that ‘Dian’ is a Bruneian-Malay word commonly used and translates to ‘candle’. The name is an ode to their Bruneian heritage; a memoir of their childhood as well as their everyday experiences.

    In the first few months, especially when they were still figuring out the logistics of the business and developing their candles, Hana and Shasha did have their fair share of difficult days and unsuccessful trial runs. During the start-up process, they went through a lot of business firsts together, and were grateful to receive support from each other and the people around them throughout the whole process, which they said made the bad days a lot more bearable and worthwhile.

    “So far, the response to our candles has been very positive and encouraging. Many are intrigued that we hand-pour and create our own special blend for our candles. Being a home-based business, we spend a lot of time experimenting and curating our candles, which has also made the experience much more fulfilling and satisfying to see our dream candles come to live.”

    Hana Wajihah binti Haji Ahmad Baihaki and Shasha Nurqamarina binti Haji Noorshari. PHOTO: LYNA MOHAMMAD

    Through social media and word of mouth, Hana and Shasha said they have grown steadily despite being a small business and at the moment, their biggest setback has been the fact that potential customers are not able to decide which candles they would prefer before purchasing.

    The cousins said they hence put a lot of work into one-on-one communication so that customers have a better idea of what each scent gives.

    Their pool of customers have been very supportive and often repurchase their candles.

    Moving forward, they hope to increase their market reach in 2023 by joining more pop-ups and perhaps look into selling their candles physically as well, as opposed to solely relying on an e-commerce platform.

    “Our candles are created using 100 per cent soy wax, premium fragrance oils and crackling wood wicks, before being mixed and poured by hand in small batches and left to cure for several weeks.” Through their candle collections, they seek to bring relaxation and past precious escapades to the comforts of individual’s own space with each candle is made with the utmost care.

    Since launching in December 2021, the entrepreneurial cousins have continued to release their candle products in batches and last year introduced four new scents which have also been very well received by their customers.

    Hana and Shasha shared that Dian Studios is a passion project and that their business journey has been slow yet steady. The production process is solely run by the two of them, and thus with every batch they pour, the two cousins take the time to debrief and figure out ways they can be more efficient whilst still maintaining their quality.

    Bookings for their candles take place through Instagram prior to their release. They said that they directly contact their customers to ensure that each experience is personal and satisfactory, allowing them to directly thank and receive feedback from those who purchased their candles.

    They also joined a pop-up event in support of the UN SDGs on Sustainable Communities and Responsible Consumption, marking the studio’s very first pop up.

    Hana and Shasha are happy with the direction they are heading towards, while in foreseeable future, they see themselves running Dian Studios independently.

    “We are always open to possible assistance from relevant micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) parties to further develop our business. We also hope to join more community-led events in the future to further spread the craft of soy candles within our local community.”

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