If you are familiar with the internet trend and the Netflix series Is It Cake? Then maybe Anilia Balraj could have her own spinoff ‘Is It a Candle’?
The 19-year-old entrepreneur has been creating other types of realistic-looking specialty dessert candles and aromatherapy candles for the past seven years.
But while her business is now successful, it all started with her looking for different ways to boost her mental health.
Balraj grew up in Bambu Settlement No. 2 and still lives there.
During her childhood, and studying at Bamboo Settlement Primary School and Lakshmi Girls Hindu College, she was passionate about arts and crafts.
“I was always an artsy person,” she told Sunday Newsday. I participated in many art competitions and this was my passion.
I loved (all forms of art) drawing, painting, physical models, I loved doing these things.
Laughing as she recalled the younger version of herself, she said that she wanted to do many different things and was also interested in law and science.
She studied Pre-Law at the Academy of Tertiary Studies (ATS) and recently completed a Certificate in Software Engineering at the CTS College of Business and Computer Science. He is now set to pursue a degree in IT (Information Technology) there also.
Her mother, Mala Basdev, makes bath and body products and in 2016, she decided to get certified by taking a course in candle making and soap making with the Ministry of Community Development.
At that time, Balraj was 12 years old and his mother was home for him, due to lack of time he used to attend classes with Basdev.
I was just tagging along, but the teacher said, I’m included and I’m doing well and my mom should register me. He did so, and I became the youngest person to graduate from the course on the island.
Shortly before this, Balraj had been diagnosed with anxiety after struggling for some time to figure out what was happening to him.
It took a long time to understand what it was.
I went to doctor after doctor, did a lot of tests, ECG, blood tests and no one could figure out what the problem was. Then I went to another doctor, and he said I had anxiety and the (complications) I was experiencing were panic attacks.
She tried using prescription medication but unfortunately, her symptoms worsened.
I know medication helps a lot of people and they should definitely try it, but it’s not helping me.
That’s when she decided to try making a lavender-rose aromatherapy candle to relieve her anxiety.
These types of candles are widely known to help with sleep, reduce stress, and anxiety.
One of her priorities right now is to bring more awareness to the importance of mental health in Trinidad and Tobago.
So I experimented and then I realized it could really help other people because I could feel a difference.
I gave it to my friends, I gave it to my family, and they said they were interested in buying (the candles).
Before this he had never thought of converting his passion into business. But with the support of his mother, his father, Balraj Basdev, friends and the rest of his family, he was inspired to take this decision.
He then launched Waxcraft by Anelia.
I did a lot of trial and error, lost a lot of (material) and figured out a way to master making these different types of candles.
So it started with aromatherapy, then I expanded to dessert candles and luxury candles.
She uses soy wax because it is eco-friendly/biodegradable and long lasting.
Her candles smell exactly like they’re made. Visiting any of its pop-up shops can make you feel like you’ve just walked into a bakery or coffee shop.
He pointed out that luxury candles are simpler and more beautiful, consisting mainly of dried herbs and spices.
Those types of scents include things like bamboo lemon, frosted cocoa, vanilla.
When it comes to dessert/food-and-beverage candles, they’ve created replicas of cupcakes, pumpkin spice lattes, espresso, ice cream, hot chocolate, milkshake spice chai, and more.
He has also replicated the succulents.
She also does custom orders, saying people have asked her to make replica popcorn, among other things.
He said that the highlight of (his) entire business is people’s reaction to his products.
They were amazed to see that the smell and appearance of something could be replicated so well.
In fact, she told WMN, many visitors admitted they were attracted to her set-up because of the scent.
He said people sometimes ask if they can eat the candles because they smell so good. She usually tells them that they are edible because of the soy wax, but it won’t taste good, so please don’t do that.
So how does Balraj make its products smell so close to the real thing?
She said she first figures out what her goal is and mixes different scents to find a way to make them smell similar.
Sometimes spouses buy the real thing (real snacks/drinks) and make (candle replicas) and put them side by side to compare the look and scent.
A coffee lover himself, he said customers are most attracted to coffee-scented/themed products.
Her prices currently range from $85-$225, with aromatherapy candles being the lowest priced.
Mental health is an important thing and I really want people to have this type of candle.
They don’t have any physical stores but this is a major goal of theirs.
Delivery is free in Grand Bazaar, and between $20 and $30 elsewhere.
Even though she’s young, she wants other people to know that it’s never too late to do what they love.
My mom got into it late and later discovered something she liked.
There will be trials and errors but keep going, keep doing what you love.
Anyone interested in learning more about her business or purchasing her products can be contacted at 476-2922, waxcraftbyaneelia.com or on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok under Anyelia’s social media handle waxcraft.
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Image Source : newsday.co.tt