Melody Lim, this year’s winner of Coast Capital Savings Venture Prize, was inspired by a local candle maker in Milos, Greece, in 2016. At a small local store, she “fell in love with the process of candle-making.” “It was in Milos where I conceptualized Mala,” she recalls. The experience led her to found Mala the Brand in 2019 out of a “desire to create something that was beautiful and practical, yet sustainable.”
She launched Mala in the wintertime, which is the busiest season for candles. Lim says the timing was nothing short of perfect. She was working full time at a marketing company when she began Mala the Brand, devoting time to her business after hours and on weekends. Once business started picking up, Lim decided to focus all her attention on her new business. Lim secured key partnerships with influencers and local businesses. In this way, she was able to legitimize her brand.
Once things started getting busier, Lim’s mother soon began helping her in the candle-making process. In 2020, Lim hopes to expand her team and increase Mala’s production, as business has been picking up.
Winning a prize
A year after starting her company, she found out about the Coast Capital Savings Venture Prize 2020 through a friend.
The Venture Prize that began in 2011 is an initiative celebrating innovative and entrepreneurial ideas from the Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) community. The competition is open to early stage businesses who make presentations to a panel of judges composed of industry experts. The panel tests the readiness of the business, its current progress, presentation skills and future plans.
The competition process gives participants a chance to be mentored by professionals, to grow their network and to master their pitch. The winners of this competition are qualified to win anywhere from $1000 to $75K in cash and other services. Lim was hesitant but participated in the competition anyway.
“Winning Venture Prize 2020 was a real game changer for me and helped legitimize my business further,” says Lim. She believes that in the coming months and years, Mala the Brand can become an even more successful business. Lim has many big plans for her brand, and they keep her busy and motivated every day.
Inspiration for Mala the Brand
Having lived in British Columbia all her life, her love for candle-making was mixed with the inspiration of nature. Lim has spent most of her weekends hiking or camping amidst nature, and so it was important for her to create a company that gives back to the environment. Lim already knew that candles are usually made with toxic wastes that can be harmful to the environment. With this knowledge, Lim set out to create clean-burning candles using safe ingredients of biodegradable soy wax, lead-free wood wicks and toxic-free fragrances that are soft on the environment and are less harmful to anyone burning the candles.
In addition, Lim’s educational background in communications, branding and marketing helped her with launching the brand and for making it a success. She began studying towards her Bachelor of Arts in Communications at SFU in 2014. Lim also had multiple opportunities for studying abroad during her undergraduate career.
Her candles also come in minimal and earth-friendly packaging, with fragrances ranging from Chai to Clean Cotton to Succulent. Every candle is poured and made in Vancouver and with the purchase of each candle, a tree is planted in North America. So far, they have planted 2210+ trees partnered with Tree Era and Plant the Peace!
On why she chose to start a brand and business around candles.
“To me, candles are the must-have accessory that helps complete any room, whether it’s your home, office, or even retail space,” says Lim.
To buy one of Mala the Brand’s products, visit www.malathebrand.com.