Launching A Hand-Made Candle Business

Roza Soksan, 23, dropped out of university and decided to follow her passion crafting hand-made candles for every occasion. She shares her journey with Kiripost.
Handmade candle products. Kiripost/Yatt Malai
Handmade candle products. Kiripost/Yatt Malai

“I will make my shop bigger in the future, and I hope to see my products sell in many places, especially in markets, and people accept it is a Cambodian-made brand,” Roza Soksan said.

Roza is a strong young woman, who owns a business that focuses on handmade candle products. She is urging all young Cambodians to find their personal passions in life and put them into action to achieve them.

She wants Cambodians to know the core value of handmade products and encourages them to have the competency to create their own business in the candle field by sharing but not competing with each other as they can find their own unique selling point.

Since the 23-year-old started her business, she has never faced problems with customers. “When they order products, they never complain and cancel,” she said. “I received a lot of positive feedback from them because I think this work is learning to be creative and exhibiting it to attract audiences.”

When Roza, of Siem Reap province, finished high school, she moved to Phnom Penh to study her Bachelor's degree at a private university. However, she dropped out because the majors were not her passion.

Then she decided to join workshops and training sessions with non-profit organisations and enterprises, which introduced her to the business world. Currently, she is the founder of the Magik Glow Candle Shop on Street 456 in Toul Tom Poung.

Magik Glow Candle Shop sells candle products in two sizes. A 35g is $4 for those who want to test, and another 200g costs $14. The shop also has ingredients to make candles.

Roza Soksan, founder of Magik Glow Candle Shop. Kiripost/Yatt Malai
Roza Soksan, founder of Magik Glow Candle Shop. Kiripost/Yatt Malai

What motivated her to start this business?

Roza told Kiripost that she has loved to use candles since she was a child. In 2020 during Covid-19, she could not move around easily and thought it was time to do something related to her passion and skills.

“I wanted to produce creative products through candles by hand because this career is not much in Cambodia, I will also be able to make it with my own passion and skill, and now my customers accept it, I feel so happy,” she said.

However, her first attempt failed with many experiments, but Rosa kept trying. With persistence, Roza made her business a success, so she decided to create Magik Glow Candle Shop. At first, she did not have a shop and sold her products online.

Initially, she kept her business a secret from her friends and family until she built it up. Once she started earning income from selling through her Facebook page, Instagram, and TikTok, she decided to rent a store for $300 in 2022.

She confirmed that before, her audiences were only foreigners and ordered online, but about two years later, Cambodians started to support her store and understand the candles are a local product. “In contrast, now I don't have many foreigners ordering my products”.

Roza added that candle-making has had an enormous influence on society overall, as well as in her home. It is clear that candle manufacturing is a common interest, but it needs time, patience, and the proper techniques to produce high-quality candles.

She told Kiripost that every achievement has been gained through facing problems to deal with. Roza was stressed with financial issues because all of the ingredients are expensive. Also, her income does not always balanced from month-to-month, so she must prepare to maintain the stability of her business.

At the same, her location is not officially for walk-in customers because she mainly relies on audiences online. “So, I must think and do everything alone including graphics posters, or highlights, to upload every day on those platforms on social media because my staff help only making candles,” she said.

What is special about candles?

Roza said, “Even if my work has a small impact on society, at least it can help some parts, including environment and mental health”

The capacity of candles to boost mental health is remarkable, the businesswoman noted. They have a soothing scent, making them an appealing option for relaxation. They can also help improve people’s moods, and tend to be beneficial in moments of anxiety or sadness.

At the same time, using candles can help people to focus on activities, including work and studying. It is also useful to promote sleep.

Roza added that in her shop, she has different types of scents that include jasmine, rose, eucalyptus, peppermint, lemongrass vanilla, orange, lotus, lavender, cinnamon, sandalwood, and pine.

People can order many shapes made by Roza and her staff. They are also on hand to recommend candles when customers do not know what to order, she said.

Handmade candle products. Kiripost/Yatt Malai
Handmade candle products. Kiripost/Yatt Malai

She added, “For deep relaxation, they can buy jasmine and lotus. For insomnia, use lavender. To focus use eucalyptus and peppermint, while orange, peppermint, and pine are refreshing. For romantic moments, use rose and vanilla”

There are a few wax candles, but Roza normally uses soy to make her candles because it is derived from soybeans and is a solid form of hydrolyzed soybean oil. This makes it an organic and sustainable commodity. This is unlike paraffin, which is a residue of crude oil processing.

In Cambodia, there is limited wax and oil production. That is why when locally-made products are not available, she imports it from China and Thailand.

Society and candle work process

Roza cares about the environment and ensures all ingredients do not leave any residue that causes pollution. She also buys the boxes that hold the candles from a local company that ensures quality without any risk to the environment. It can be used many times and is biodegradable, meaning it dissolves in the soil in a short time.

Besides running a business, she has also launched a monthly workshop to support 10 people who want to learn about handmade candles. She believes that her success is sharing and promoting the candle industry to Cambodians.

Roza said, “I opened a workshop to provide and train them with basic knowledge, including the making process, how to use ingredients accurately with their benefits, and measuring temperatures among candle sizes, both small and large. We need sustainable products for users.”

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