Diadem Candles is a husband and wife duo who make conscious candles that prove you don’t need to give up pretty candles and soothing scents in favor of a safe home and a clean environment. Yep, you can have it all.
Candles sure do smell good but did you know that under their mask they often come loaded with ingredients like paraffin, phthalates, and lead (hello indoor air pollution). We’ll forgive you for not knowing since a lot of candles don’t list ingredients on their labels. We’re all for self-care at GITNB but we prefer more conscious indulgences and so we wanted to swap out our go-to synthetic scents for a more natural candle. While looking up alternatives in Singapore, we stumbled upon Diadem Candles.
Ena is the #girlboss behind the artisanal brand, which she runs with her partner Matthew. The idea for Diadem was conceived after the couple’s wedding when the candles they handmade as gifts for their guests became a regular request. The evolution of those gifts became a hand-poured candle that is made from 100% natural soy wax with cotton lead-free wicks or wooden wicks. They opted for soy since it lasts longer and burns cleaner than paraffin wax, which results in less soot so you’re not inhaling toxins masked by a pretty scent (hence their hashtag #breatheclean).
From the get-go, their vision was a sustainable one and they set out to create a product that was easy on the environment from process to package but still stylish. And the mission they execute day today is also to educate their customers about candle alternatives that are affordable, natural and even fun to make. To do so, they also lead candle-making workshops in their small Singapore based-studio. The results are luxurious, natural and soothingly scented candles that make the perfect gift (for yourself, obviously).
We may have said it nicely but they say it better. Get a better look into the husband and wife brand from Ena and Matthew themselves or watch the CliffsNotes at the bottom.
GITNB: Ena, why did you decide to quit your job and become a candle maker?
Ena: It started when we were looking for wedding favors for our wedding and we were looking for some garden rustic wedding favors. I wanted to make my own candles because I’m a candle lover myself. From there, I made 150 candles for my guests and our friends and family loved them – they kept ordering more. We decided, or I decided, to start Diadem. We started our first run at Red Dot museum and we sold out of 50 candles on the day itself and we were so impressed.
How is your brand conscious?
Matt: We try to be as conscious as possible through reduce, recycle so we reduce toxins through making cleaner candles, we provide refillable vessels so our customers can come back and we also make sure that we’re using recycled products where possible to create the vessels for our candles – like beer bottles.
Let’s talk a little about soy. what is the difference between soy and normal candle wax?
Matt: Most candles are on the market are using paraffin as the source of the wax, which is a petroleum-based substance, and that has toxins that are released into the atmosphere when they are burned. We didn’t want to do that, we wanted to create something that was much cleaner and healthier for inside the home so soy wax was really our only option to make candles that were affordable, that was really important. We also use ph free fragrances so that the candle burning experience is as clean as possible. A lot of people in Singapore are burning candles in air-conditioned rooms without windows open so it can’t be full of toxins. So that’s why we went down the route of sustainable soy wax.
Which is so scary because I think a lot of people would never think that actually when you’re burning a candle you’re burning petroleum, which is basically petrol and you’re just breathing all those toxins in.
Matt: Many candles are made [with paraffin] because it’s a cheaper substance and they also use led based wicks, and obviously burning led is never a good thing so we always make sure that we use lead-free wicks.
What was one of the one more interesting things that you learned through the journey?
Ena: The interesting part was learning the relationship between science and baking. The science is all about understanding what goes into the product and baking has to do with the temperature needed to make the actual candles.
Ena, how have you found the perceptions of people? Have you seen a big demand or growth over the last few years?
Ena: There is a big growth of people who love candles. Now I’m trying to educate more local people about the benefits of soy wax which is basically making people aware of the benefits of having soy wax at home.
And how has the reaction been? Do they understand and are they on board or does it take some convincing?
Ena: Most of them are so surprised about the benefits of using soy wax.
Are there any kind of misconceptions that we would like to bust around candles or soy or anything else?
Matt: One of the misconceptions is that not all candles branded as being soy are 100% soy. They’re often a combination of paraffin and soy wax to keep the costs reduced.
What are some of the problems you’re faced that you’re trying to solve?
Ena: The wastage of wax! I do have defected candles and old candles so I’m planning to make an honesty box where anyone who doesn’t mind a defective candle can pick up one at a fraction of the price so there isn’t any wastage of materials.
Matt: And all the money we make off that will go to local charities.
What is your bigger vision and hope for the future?
Ena: Our vision is to create more home and consciously made products in Singapore.
What are some #LittleGreenSteps that people can take when people are deciding about candles?
Matt: Look out for candles that are made from 100% soy wax and if you can get lead-lead-free wicks they would be much healthier for you, and always reuse your vessels for candles.
What would mother nature say if she could speak right now?
Matt: We’re really keen scuba divers and we’ve seen the effects of single-use and non-biodegradable products entering the ocean and the damage that they are doing. So for us, we’re trying to create a good clean product but we are also trying to make sure the packaging is reusable and can be recycled – like use beer bottles to make the vessels. Reduce, reuse, recycle AND upcycle.
If you had the power to change the world, what would you do?
Matt: We would absolutely stop all single-use plastics from tenting the ocean and breathe life back into the ocean.
Ena: We want to dive more!
What makes you happy
Matt: Our baby makes up happy!
Ena: The sense of achievements where our business is growing and we’re introducing new products.
Any final words?
Matt: We do say that our candles are safe for sleeping babies and great for making babies.
Ena: Breathe clean, Diadem candles.