In an attempt to bring back the candle lighting culture to Kashmir valley, a 25-year-old woman has started her own candle-making business—the first one to do so in the region.
Mehak Pervaz, an electronic and communications engineering graduate from the Illahi Bagh area of Srinagar, designs and customises different types of candles from scratch. She launched her small-scale business called 'Shamaaque by Mehak' during the COVID lockdown, last year in August, and claims to have received tremendous response from people across Kashmir.
"Here, like other places, we do not use decorative candles for weddings, birthdays, or any other special occasion. I hope through my venture, candle culture will be prominent here also," Mehak told The Logical Indian.
Turning Fascination Into Business
The young entrepreneur shared that she is fond of art, and candles have fascinated her since childhood. "During COVID lockdown, one day, I was scrolling down the Instagram when suddenly I came across some breathtaking photos of candles. That is when the thought of turning my fascination into a business struck me," she said.
Mehak explained that finding good scented candles is such a strenuous task in Kashmir. "Some time back, I was at my cousin's wedding where we needed some candles for decoration, but couldn't find one. That was also the point where the idea of candle-making had clicked my mind," she said.
However, due to the non-availability of resources, she had to import tools, raw materials and wax from outside Jammu and Kashmir. "I took some help from my family to implement it. Nothing was available here. I had to place online orders for all the raw materials, which used to be quite expensive. Due to lockdown, things took a lot of time to reach here, " she told The Logical Indian.
Mehak designs the candles as per the customer's requirements —scented, non-scented, aromatic and designer. She said that attention is paid on customisation to create unique products. Each candle takes around 2-3 hours, and the price ranges from ₹30-₹700, depending upon the design and size of the candle. The process involves measuring and melting the wax, adding fragrance oils, attaching the wick, pouring the wax, securing and then cutting the wick at the end.
In Kashmir, where power cuts are not new, people have been using candles as a substitute for electricity. Through her business, Mehak has now been able to show people multiple uses of candles.
"People in Kashmir have stopped using candles for celebrations. Since it is a dying thing here, it needs to be revived properly for which I have taken the initiative," she said.
After gaining much popularity within a short period, she aims to turn her business into a full-fledged one. Currently, she takes orders through her Instagram platform, where she has gained over 1.4k followers.