Before we jump into our very first year in review, we took a moment to get to sit down with Mel, Founder of Mala the Brand, to reflect on 2020 👋
Day in the life: I start my mornings by staying off my phone for at least the first half hour just to start my day slow without bombarding notifications. Work consists of a multitude of different things from emails, packing orders, labelling candles, driving around doing errands, meetings etc. So no day is really the same—which I love!
Her go-to candle: Milk & Sugar aka this season's community fave!
Fave part of candle-making process: Definitely blending the fragrance into the wax. It’s always fun mixing different scents and playing around with it. We’re always trying to innovate new scents, concepts, and products for the future.
Proudest moment this year: Getting Mala hoodies made to celebrate for our 1st birthday in October and while wearing them downtown in Vancouver, a girl asked us if the sweater was “Mala, like the candles?” That was absolutely insane to me that someone I didn't know could recognize the logo and know what it was! Seems small but it was truly surreal for me.
Most surprised by this year: The amount of love and support I’ve received from completely random strangers! I feel like almost everyone I've crossed paths with (whether a customer, acquaintance or stranger) has been so extremely supportive and kind about Mala. I was really nervous before and after launching about what people would say. I didn’t even tell anyone about it except for my family for maybe two months after it launched.
REWIND! Let’s take it back to the beginning of 2020. From January to March, Mel joined the League of Innovators, competed (and won) SFU VC’s Pitch competition out of 59 entries! She also levelled up from making candles off her kitchen stovetop to a wax melter in her parents' basement.
From April to June, Mel made the decision to take on Mala full-time. This was a huge deal—making this relationship: official. In these spring months, she was joined by her lovely mom and sister to expand the Mala team and outsourced photography for the first time ever. Fun fact: all previous Mala shoots were done by Mel herself.
Between July and September, Mala received some *BIG* press love from Hello Canada, Allure, Refinery29, Buzzfeed, The Every Girl, In Style and CBC. Phew! Mala also made dream partnerships come to life with some fave people and brands. This included Emma Leger, Janice Joostema, Nudestix and more.
"We’re so much more than just a candle company. It’s meant to be an experience from start to finish, where in the end you’re joining the greater community of conscious consumers. Along with planting a tree with your purchase and knowing you’re being earth friendly when using our products, we have such a fun and engaged community that I feel so proud to be a part of!"
We’re ending this year with so much gratitude and excitement for what’s in store (literally) for the new year. From October to December, Mala launched in 30+ independent retailers—including Nordstrom and Indigo—no one pinch us. We also celebrated our first birthday and are closing off the year with another 5k trees planted. Getting to know the expanding Mala community and small biz owners in the local area of Vancouver was a highlight through it all.
Manifesting and a peek ahead: We have *so* many exciting things planned for 2021 already! This includes a product line expansion, bringing Mala to more places for you to meet us IRL, and (fingers crossed) being able to engage more with our customers IRL as well.
To say the least, it’s been a big year for all of us in all sorts of ways. One thing Mel wishes she could tell herself at the beginning of the year is that everything will work itself out—to not stress about the little things and put your best foot forward everyday. We hope you can carry this with you into the new year just the same. :)