It must be wonderful to be able to start up a business that connects with the things you love. I am not an entrepreneur but I think it is safe to say that one common denominator amongst small businesses focused on craftsmanship and environmental sustainability is passion. After all, starting a business in itself is both a risk and a challenge, and when you choose to be an ethical, eco-conscious brand then expect challenges to be greater yet the rewards more meaningful.
On Lokal, Mark, creator of Saan Saan shares with us how launching the brand allows him the freedom to run his own business while doing the things he love. Here is a local maker who goes beyond melting wax, blending scents and hand pouring soy candles. These stunning scented candles are created to tell stories and stir up nostalgia to the person who lights them up. I have yet to get myself one or two of these candles but if the photos speak for themselves, I have a feeling that these would be staples in our home alongside our plants and puppies. And so without further ado, let’s all hear it from the maker himself.
What’s the story behind the shop name?
The scents I’ve developed were mostly travel- and destination-inspired. I thought I’d use a name that people always tell me whenever I’m planning a new trip. ‘O, saan saan ka na naman pupunta?’
What inspired you to start this business?
I left a corporate job last year to travel more extensively and later explore a creative career. I wanted something that intersects travel, writing and photography. I knew it will be an appreciably challenging route to try to make a living out of writing and photography. Then I remember that one weekend pursuit I did early that year: candle making. And I thought: why can’t I bring in story telling and travel into candle making and make scented candles that tell a story about places. It’s so cool when I realized it’s a lot like writing and rewriting and composing a photo to tell a better story — mixing the right scents to evoke a memory or a feeling, to remind of a place. And besides it was inevitable to do a lot of writing and photography in branding the candles. So it all made sense.
What makes your candles different?
People say it’s both having unique scents that they can’t find elsewhere plus having a minimal and rustic packaging.
Your product photography is awesome, do you take the photos yourself?
Thank you. Yes, I do. I was into photography first before I went into candles.
What are your top 3 favorite picks from your shop. and why?
My current personal favorites are woodier scents: Farm’s Cabin, Campfire and the latest one, Sierra.
What has been your biggest challenge so far and how did you overcome it?
Time management and the fact that there are literally only 2 hands doing everything. I am learning and improving as I go. I still make small batches and I’ll likely continue doing that but I have to streamline my work process to manage my time, schedule and health.
What do you love most about what you do?
The creative process. I design and create experiences through the scents of the candles. I enjoy the manual work too. Pouring wax clears my head. Handpainting and typewriting the labels are also meditative. Designing packaging wrings out the creative juices.
Is there anything you dislike about it?
Making candles in the middle of summer! It’s just sooo hot and humid, which affects the consistency of the finished jar.
What kinds of ingredients do you use to make your candles? Are these locally and sustainably sourced?
I use pure and 100% soy wax and both fragrance and essential oils. While I have a local supplier, most of may raw materials are imported. I am still actively looking for local sources.
Can you share with us the process of crafting your products?
Yes, I make them in a small studio attached to our house. It takes roughly a week to make a batch. For the first couple of days, it’s melting the wax and pouring them in jars. Then candles need to cure for no less than 3 days for the best scent throw. After curing, I stick the labels and they’re ready to go.
What kinds of materials do you use for packaging? Or is there a conscious effort to keep your packaging minimal and more eco as well?
Yes, definitely. Almost everything in the packaging can be recycled or reused. From the glass jars to the corrugated boards that I use to wrap them in when shipping. I got rid of bubble wraps in shipping online orders.
Any plans of expanding your product range?
I will try to launch new scents from time to time. I am also looking into expanding into other related products, yes.
Do you have tips you would like to share to our readers?
Currently, Saan Saan candles are available at Maker’s Market with stockists coming soon. To get updates from Saan Saan, follow them on Instagram .