Brand Spotlight highlights local businesses that LIABOX partners with, and a light hearted insight into their story, products and people. Subscribe to our emails at the bottom of our main website home page or follow us on Instagram to be notified of new blog posts on the LB Journal.
Wax Valley Candle Co create hand crafted and heart made, soy wax candles. We caught up with founder Apichat Kochapatsap to learn more about his artisanal creations, the inspiration behind Wax Valley and the passion that built his well loved brand in Thailand and around the world.
Starting with a simple but important question, how did you get into candle making? Do you remember the first time you made a candle?
I spent time in Australia for 1 year on a Working & Holiday visa. During my trip to Cairns (Queensland), I travelled to the local art market and found various candle shops. I realised that candles didn't always have to be luxury, or as spa products only, it could be "lifestyle product" too. So I decided to ask them about exporting to Thailand. They said they had never exported to other countries, so I decided to start myself!
The first time I made candles, I ordered a starter kit from a candle website in Australia, and grabbed the chance when the home owner (where I stayed) had gone out. I spent time in her kitchen to boil the wax and pour the candles, but my first batch of candles were not beautiful.. I decided I could learn how to make candles step by step at that time.
What inspired you to turn candle making from a hobby into a business?
After 1 year in Australia, I had to come back to Thailand. During that time, I thought I should start a business and challenge myself with the budget that I collected when working in Australia. I told myself to just try my best, and if it wasn't working, I would find another way instead.
At that time, almost everyone around me was not sure whether I could make candles into a business. The turning point that supported and encouraged me was the great feedback from our first event at K-Village in Dec 2017.
What makes Wax Valley Candle co unique from other candle businesses?
We initially chose our aluminium tin packaging to represent the candles as a lifestyle, which I believe helped us stand out. We also try to make complex scents and connect users with a story we would like to tell, and we believe that the candle consumer can feel it.
Fun Fact: Wax Valley products come with a code to scan a Spotify playlist ready for whichever scent is purchased, so you can really immerse yourself in the scent and story telling of the atmosphere.
Where does the name ‘Wax Valley’ come from? Is it a special place from your previous travels?
Actually, Wax Valley comes from 2 words; Wax meaning the wax that we use to produce the candles, and Valley like the village or the community, and also a journey for us. We define "Wax Valley" as the collective place for candles and scent that can take you on a journey to where you love.
Your candles are made with soy wax. To those that are not familiar with candle making, is there a benefit to using soy wax?
Soy wax is the natural choice and replacement of paraffin to make the candles. Candles made from soy wax can provide you with a clean burn, no black soot, better scent and lower melting temperature. On the other hand, paraffin is used in the petroleum industry, the candles made from paraffin will leave some toxic in the air.
Do you have a best selling candle scent? What would you say your own favourite scent combination is?
Currently, the best selling scent is 'Roaster' blend, the combination of coffee & chocolate to represent a cafe atmosphere. My favourite scent group is herb & woody, which is our 'Afterfall' scent, a combination of holy basil, bergamot, lavender, orange and eucalyptus.
Your fragrance blends are inspired by your own personal travel experiences and connection with nature. Where would you say have been the most inspiring countries or places you have visited?
My most inspiring country is definitely Thailand, where I was born. I can absorb the feeling of the place in Thailand like Bangkok, Chiangmai as well as Pattaya, and then apply the atmosphere to match with the scents of the candles. Some other inspiring countries and places to me are Taiwan, and also Melbourne (Australia) which lead to our Woodland blend and Roaster blend respectively.
You lived in Australia for some time, which also helped inspire the launch of Wax Valley Candle Co. Is there anything you miss about Australia?
I do miss the life over there. It dares me to do things that I have never done in Thailand; Finding work by dropping my resume at coffee shops, working night shifts, meeting new friends, challenging myself to do something new. This was an extremely intense life lesson that I hardly learnt from anywhere else.
Many people have lost jobs due to Covid19 and pursued their own small business. What advice would you give to new entrepreneurs or those that have recently started a new business?
I think everyone has their own personal talent & advantage. We have to learn to recognise the strong point within us, and apply it to your new business or the thing that you do. Start something small first, and continuously work hard on it. Everything can't be perfect the first time, however you can keep trying to serve your product/service above the customer's satisfaction.
We love your packaging and that you collaborate with Thai Artists for some of your designs. Are there other ways you help support local communities in Thailand?
I know many Thai Artists who have talents and do great work. I hope that Wax Valley can be 1 channel to support local communities, for now we collaborate with them for the artwork on our various packaging.
You live in Pattaya - Do you see yourself staying there for the near future? Or plans to move to the city centre of Bangkok or relocate internationally?
In near future, I still planned to live in Pattaya due to my family location. Pattaya is a city that is easygoing and can easily travel to Bangkok.
For anyone that is new to visiting Pattaya, what do you suggest are the top 3 things to do?
Visiting Koh Larn (island), you will find a clean & beautiful beach with only 40 minutes transport by boat. Eating fresh delicious seafood in the restaurant around Na Kluea area, and seeing sunset at Pattaya beach.
As a Thai native, which scents do you think best represent Thailand?
For me, I think floral scents like Jasmine.
Do you offer any workshops where people can learn to make their own candle?
Probably in the near future :)
What are your goals for Wax Valley Candle Co?
Our goal is for Wax Valley to be on the top list in the consumer's mind when they would like to light some candles.