Who doesn't feel cozier with a candle lit and their home smelling delicious? With scents like Chai and even Cereal (smells like Froot Loops) it's no wonder why I was smitten with Mala at first sniff. Over the past few weeks I've been lucky enough to get to know the maker behind Mala more and it's safe to say that knowing Melody has made me even more of a Mala fan. Melody is down to earth, hard-working and is genuinely passionate about sustainability and the type of maker that makes supporting local easy!
I had a chance to catch up with her earlier this month to chat with her about Mala, self-care and sustainability! (Plus we're doing a giveaway!)
Tell us a bit about yourself!
My name is Melody and I was born and raised in Vancouver. I recently completed my communications degree at SFU this past summer and have been working in marketing for about 2 years. When I initially launched Mala two months ago, I was working a 9-5 but have now been doing Mala full time!
My favourite things involve all things dogs, memes, travelling, discovering delicious plant-based options in the city, flea markets, wine and dining with my friends!
How was Mala born?
The entire brand, including the name, comes from my time living abroad in Europe. Having travelled extensively all over Europe, I fell in love with the minimalist and romantic lifestyle of the Europeans. I drew my inspo from it and the idea originated from a candlemaker in Greece who taught me the basics of candle making in his shop.
“Mala” itself was a nickname given to me by friends while living abroad - it means “kiddo” in Croatian.
I saw a gap in the market for candles made with toxin-free ingredients that also have a minimalist, chic aesthetic and that are priced affordably. This company truly blends all my favourite things into one: candles, my passion for sustainability, and my love for marketing, design and entrepreneurship.
What is something about starting a self-care brand that surprised you, good or bad?
When I started Mala I didn’t have it in mind to simply be just a “self-care” brand, although the two definitely go hand in hand. I wanted to go one step further than just selling candles. With Mala I hope to provide a stimulating environment to not just shop, but to also learn and build a supportive community around the topics of entrepreneurship, sustainability and business.
What I find very interesting with self-care (that doesn’t have to be necessarily bad) is the way brands have commodified it using our insecurities. Obviously this is what marketing is and how business ultimately works but coming from a marketing background and as a consumer myself, i just find consumer culture very intriguing and I feel like people have to be careful with equating self-care as buying a product, instead of self-care as taking an action or doing certain practices.
With that being said, we have also partnered with Tree Era to plant a tree in North America with every candle purchased! Tree planting to me is a great way not only to reduce the effects of greenhouse gases and improve the environment but also to neutralize the impact of our own emissions.
Why is being a sustainable self-care brand important to you?
Growing up I’ve always been environmentally conscious and as I learned more about climate change from documentaries and films, I knew that I wanted to create a positive impact with my small business. During the initial stages of planning, before I officially launched, it was critical for me to put the earth first in all aspects of it from the materials I use, the suppliers I source and the core ethics of how I want to run a business.
When I conceptualized this business it was very important for me to create a way to give back to Mother Earth and I am able to do that through our partner Tree Era. Tree Era's "buy a product, plant a tree business" model has opened a passageway for me to create a regenerative cycle through Mala. I also love Tree Era’s concept of a subscription-based model for reforestation as it helps encourage businesses to develop more responsibility when it comes to how they lead their business models and encourages a more environmentally conscious economic model.
Being a sustainable self-care brand is important to me because I feel like this is the most pivotal time in history for the environment. Our consumer culture today is such a dire problem as we live on a planet with finite resources. There will be a time when our earth can no longer provide us with the resources necessary to fill our needs and desires. Therefore, I feel that it is imperative that our generation and leaders of today lead the way in advocating for the environment and setting an example for those that follow.
Lastly, do you have anything in the works that you can share with us? Even a hint?
I am currently working on more fun collaborations with some local businesses and people that i admire! And there might even be a new product in the works for spring 2020 … ;)
Just for fun: Other than your own candle brand, what is your favourite brand or product at the moment and why?
I am currently obsessed with my pearl earrings from La Mantagnette! She creates beautifully handcrafted, ethically sourced jewelry made from recycled materials that are priced affordably. (She also happens to be my cousin!)
WIN A MALA CANDLE!
One lucky Canadian winner will win a Mala candle valued at $27 CAD! To enter head to my Instagram page (@vickiduong) and find my Mala post for all the deets. Contest runs from December 10 until December 24. Good luck!
This contest is now closed. Congrats to Rachel from Burlington, ON for winning a Mala candle!
Thank you to everyone who participated and be sure to follow me on Insta for more contests.
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