Junor Law and his partner, who only wants to be known as Chew, do not typically come to mind when one thinks of candle enthusiasts. Yet, the two are unabashed about their love for it.
The Penang-based wedding and commercial photographers — Chew works for the company that Law runs with another partner — profess a passion for everything related to home décor, particularly scented candles and oil diffusers.
“I think Chew and I are both very sensitive and drawn to scents. For me especially, a scent can remind me of something I like, or memories of a place, or just a mood and season. One of the first things I do when I go home is light a candle,” he says. “We used to buy candles from brands like Jo Malone and Diptyque, but about three years ago, we thought, why don’t we try coming up with our own, more affordable brand?”
That led to the launch of Kandle Kandle in 2018, which carries scented candles and essential oil blends. Law acknowledges that while the idea is not particularly ingenious, there is nevertheless one distinctive element that separates them from most local brands.
“There are a lot of single scent candles on the market. Like pure lavender or geranium, for example. But we prefer specially crafted scents, and so we spend a lot of time playing around and just creating by instinct. Good fragrances can invoke an atmosphere; so, if you smell or light one of our candles, you may be able to describe it, but you won’t know exactly what the configuration is. We think it’s more seductive,” says Law.
The brand uses soy wax in the entirely hand-poured candles, something Law and Chew insisted on because of its benefits over the more common paraffin wax. “We wanted something safer, and with little to no carbon emission. Since soy wax has a lower melting point and can be used in making body lotion, we feel it’s a better choice. It also doesn’t leave any black stains after burning,” says Law.
Another interesting element is the choice of wood wicks instead of cotton. The crackling sound produced as the candle burns is something the founders say adds to the relaxing atmosphere.
Kandle Kandle’s products are divided into four categories: Classic, Relaxation, Productivity and Floral. Each candle is named by number. There are currently seven candles in the collection (No 4 and No 6 have been discontinued); No 9, launched in May, is infused with a blend of narra, lily and sandalwood.
“It’s more like a forest scent. A mixture of green and floral with a very light tinge of fruit,” describes Law. No 4 and No 6 will be replaced with new products soon. Meanwhile, the brand has introduced new packaging, but maintains the original glass holder in both the 110g travel size and larger 230g versions.
Law, who is in charge of marketing, says the welcome response that Kandle Kandle has received from the public has been surprising and exciting. It has also grown its retail presence, and is now stocked at The Warung in One Utama Shopping Centre, PJ, as well as Flint & Steel Borneo in Kuching. On top of that, the duo recently set up their online store with Shopee, where sales have been brisk.
“This is a passion project. So, it’s really overwhelming for us, especially when it’s literally just the two of us making, packaging and mailing everything,” says Law, who is already planning to link his two businesses with wedding gift-sized candles. “Our motto is to provide scented candles at an affordable price, but with integrity.”
This article first appeared in issue No. 96, Summer 2020 of Haven.