Hiraya Scent & Co. set a new precedent for home fragrances and wellness products in Hong Kong through their eco-conscious and clean scented candles. Hive Life sat down with the person behind the label, Claudine Dimaculangan, to explore her creative inspiration and sustainable approach to her craft.
Hailing from dynamic Hong Kong, Claudine Dimaculangan launched her eco-conscious candle label, Hiraya Scent & Co., with the purpose to reintroduce wellness and self-care to the busy city lifestyle. Claudine’s bespoke candle fragrances are designed with simplicity and tranquillity in mind, redefining home rituals for modern wellness enthusiasts.
Claudine draws inspiration from her Filipino heritage, a reflection of her own hopes, passion, and dedication to her craft. Aspiring to curate restorative experiences through her first collection, the multifaceted founder concocted an essential set blend of clean-burning candles, inspired by revitalising daily routines and rituals. Each batch of Hiraya’s scented candles is hand-crafted with love and compassion for the planet, made with eco-conscious ingredients and green packaging.
Making her mark in Hong Kong’s home and wellness scene, Claudine advocates for sustainable and mindful living by bringing uncompromising quality in her candles and their luxuriously rich fragrances. Claudine shares her journey with us on how she started her own candle business, creating unique experiences through her diverse scents, and her sustainable approach to candle-making.
Can you tell us about yourself?
Currently, I am the Operations Manager in a gym, Fight Culture, and I started my business, Hiraya Scent & Co., on the side five months ago. I make handmade set blends of candles inspired by experiences and activities that bring us joy in our lives. I use sustainably sourced ingredients, and also eco-conscious packaging.
How do you strike a balance between your job, business, and personal life?
What I do at least once a week on Sundays is keep my phone away and then focus on having “we-time” with my partner and I- he always keeps me accountable for when it’s time to rest, and makes sure I strike a balance and rest at least once a week.
How did you come to establish your own scented candle label, Hiraya Scent & Co.?
As someone who’s really obsessed with candles, I cannot live without a candle in my room, but I have always found it very hard to find a particular scent or blend that I really liked in Hong Kong so I [wondered] if that is something I could offer.
[Around the same time], my partner had wanted to do a candle workshop and I was not going to go pay [that much] to make one mini candle to bring home. I happen to be a very [do it yourself] person, and I looked up on YouTube “DIY candles,” later ordered [candle-making supplies] from a Hong Kong supplier and was able to make like 50 candles out of the order. I realised I was actually good at this, and that is how it started.
What is your vision and brand direction for Hiraya Scent & Co.?
I want my brand to be the go-to for gifting as well as to be able to take the receiver on a journey. That is why each scent blend tells a unique story.
Each order comes with complimentary gift wrapping, so when someone receives the package it offers a whole experience – from the memorable unboxing to the impact to the smell of the candles when you light it.
What is the story behind the name Hiraya?
Hiraya is an old Tagalog word. When I was thinking of a brand name, I wanted something that was connected to my heritage as a Filipino.
I was looking for beautiful words out there and I came across “Hiraya.” It’s no longer used in the Filipino language, but means “vision of your hopes and dreams.” It is used in a phrase [which] means “may the fruits of your hopes and dreams come true,” and Hiraya is my vision and it is also bringing other peoples’ experiences and visions to life.
Where do you find inspiration?
I love watching people letting their creativity flow. So, whenever I need inspiration, I visit YouTube or Instagram and there are a number of great small businesses around that are as well. I watch what they do and how they are packaging, the look of their products, etc., and sort of stimulates my creativity.
Can you tell us more about the range of products that you offer?
I am still at my first collection, called The Revitalize Collection, and these scents are all inspired by activities that bring us calm and help us restore and recharge during our day-offs.
There are six scent blends- we have Long Warm Baths, Seaside Stroll, All Day in Bed, Mountainside Trek, Day at The Spa, and Fireplace Read.
What was the process like coming up with the different scents and developing them into actual products?
I think of the experiences that I want to recreate and then I think of the scent blends that connect with them. For example, when you are staying in bed all day, you smell fresh linen, with a hint of lavender, a little bit of white musk, and the blend is created.
What are the candles made of?
The candles are made of natural coconut apricot wax, which is sustainably sourced. It is non-toxic and phthalate-free. I mix it with fragrance oils, which are synthetic, and also with other essential oils, which are pure natural oils. This is to ensure that when you light a candle, the scent is strong enough to remind you of these experiences.
What has been one of your recent experiments?
I have an upcoming collection, called Guilty Pleasures. [The scents] are basically experiences that we love and do so much of. I have a cannabis-inspired candle and I am mixing that with amber and cedarwood. It is turning out great and I am really excited about it!
What is your favourite scent, and what memory does it bring back?
If I had to pick one, I would say Seaside Stroll, it reminds me of being in Thailand with a pina colada enjoying the salty air and ocean. It is a luxurious blend of coconut, sea salt, and sage, and it [happens to be] one of my bestsellers!
How do you ensure your products and packaging meet ethical standards?
I normally look at where certain packaging materials come from. The first thing about being environmentally friendly is to avoid plastic, so I looked at alternatives- if I need padding for my candles there is a biodegradable option of polystyrene, which is a cornstarch packaging that melts in water.
Later, I started looking for more paper packaging, and that is what I incorporated, from wrapping the candle, to the tissue paper, and the boxes as well.
Other than eco-conscious ingredients and packaging, are there any other sustainability initiatives you have introduced?
I make the candles by ensuring that I do not dispose of the oil directly into the ocean, and instead of tissue paper, I use more towels. I am also thinking of doing candle refills, however, am still figuring out the logistics of it. My goal by next year is to introduce candle refills and [reusing] candle jars.
What makes Hiraya Scent & Co. special and stand out from other scented candle brands?
First things first, we are more than just a brand that offers great natural wax candles. Hiraya is a brand that focuses on the customer experience.
It is wrapped in a way to offer you a memorable unboxing, and the unique scent blends are made with the goal to invoke a pleasant experience or perhaps, even a lighthearted memory. That is where we stand out – with the journey that comes with our candles.
Our candles are all-natural, burn slow and clean. It dries luxuriously with a smooth top, which is quite different from most candle brands.
As you aim to share mindfulness and eco-consciousness through your label, how do you personally try to live more mindfully?
A big part of it is making sure that you know what you are buying, hence I would try to stick with small business brands that are more eco-conscious and are better for your health.
How can one practice wellness and mindfulness through your candles?
I hope for my candles to remind people to take time out for themselves, [to simply] light up the candles, listen to some music, and relax or even meditate.
What is one wellness tip that you would like to share with our readers?
In a busy city such as Hong Kong, even for myself, it is rather difficult to strike a work-life balance. Try to make sure that you have me-time for yourself at least once a week. My candles [intend] to guide you, like the seaside stroll, mountainside trek, all day in bed, and long warm baths – these are [some of the simpler] things you can do to replenish your energies.
Could you share some tips on how one can decorate their living space with your candles?
I crafted my candles in a way that can match any type of living space. There are golden trays included that you can set up with your candles, and [you can incorporate] some healing crystals, which are really popular right now, and simply adding that to their little shrine or in the corner of the room would be great.
What advice would you like to share for people looking to start their own home and lifestyle label in Hong Kong?
As long as you are passionate about what you are looking to start with, and are not in it for the money, go for it. As long as you have the heart and the persistence you are going to succeed.
Moving forward, what is in store for Hiraya Scent & Co.?
I have a collection coming up in August, called Guilty Pleasures. As [previously mentioned], it is inspired by activities that give us guilty pleasures, such as chocolate, and happy hour, there is also coffee, and tobacco. It includes six scents that are simply delicious.
[Additionally,] I have a Christmas collection coming up, and some bundle deals for Christmas. I am also [hoping to introduce] diffusers and linen spray soon around November. The base of these diffusers and linen sprays are all-natural and non-toxic as well, recreating my best sellers.
Where can we purchase your products?
You can purchase my products on my website! If you wish to shop in-person, they are also available in six Bookazine stores except for Festival Walk.
I also do a monthly market with Discovery Bay, Handmade Hong Kong, the details of which I publish on my Instagram.
Hiraya Scent & Co. will also host a Candle Making & Wine workshop at the Hive Sheung Wan on the 21st of August. For interested parties, more information is available on eventbrite.hk.
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