Published: 26th May 2021
Meet Mehak Parvez, the first woman to start her own candle-making business in Kashmir
Mehak Parvez, 25, has been inspired by her fascination to make candles since childhood. We find out more about her candle-making business in Kashmir
Imagine a room full of candles lighting up the space, with a serene valley view outside the window. For most of us, this would probably sound alluring. However, in Kashmir, which is not unknown to daily power cuts, people have only been using basic candles as substitutes to light bulbs. Thanks to Mehak Parvez, the first woman to start her own candle-making business in the valley, residents can now enjoy the aroma of scented and customised designer candles on those gloomy days. Started during lockdown last year around August, Mehak's small-scale business called Shamaaque by Mehak has been inspired by her fascination to make candles since childhood.
Mehak, who is an engineering graduate from the Illahi Bagh area of Srinagar, tells us that, unfortunately, Kashmiris did not typically use decorative candles for functions and celebratory occasions. But thanks to her new venture, the candle culture is on its path to revival. Mehak is the first one in the valley to make designer, customised candles from scratch. "After I began making and selling them, people now want to try them. They call and ask me about the process of making them," adds the 25-year-old.
Currently, she sells them through her Instagram. As there is still a partial lockdown, she hasn't been able to set it up as a full-fledged business yet. Mehak is a one-woman army — starting from buying raw materials to making the candles to packing them in unique containers. "I make the candles according to what my customer wants — fragrance, colour, how it should look, design, etc. I make the candles myself, it takes around 2-3 hours to complete," she explains.
The price of the candles start from `35 and can go up to `1,000 depending on the designs and the size of the candle. Initially, she created a collection of various candles and put them out on social media for people to see and then gradually, they began reaching out to her. The largest order she's received till now has been for a wedding, Mehak created around 5,000 pieces.
A candle that resembles an ice cream by Mehak
Speaking on how she hopes the people of Kashmir will embrace her creations, Mehak says, "The candles we use when there's a power cut are very simple and basic in design, they don't have any fragrance or any intricate design. If I can add some customisation according to the user, they are going to like it and come back to me with more orders." And Mehak isn't wrong, in around nine months of setting up her Instagram page, the 25-year-old engineering graduate has 1,400 followers on the account and people are ordering from her for special occasions such as weddings, festivals, birthdays and more.
Who wants some cookies and cream? Oh, wait! Those are candles
Mehak has plans to convert this into a full-fledged business once things normalise. "Right now, I am doing everything alone, I need manpower and can't handle all the aspects alone. I need to set up an office where I work from, right now I work from my own house. I was delivering all over India before the second wave of the pandemic hit, but now delivering locally itself has become an issue because of the lockdown. Once things start opening up, I will be able to resume all my deliveries," she concludes.