Sublime: What is Innerfyre?
Sophie Huang: Innerfyre is a brand that aims to reconnect people to the inner wisdom that they already have within them, to help them lead more meaningful, happy lives.
Here at Innerfyre, we believe in making your self-care routine a special occasion. So, we’ve created these non-toxic essential oil candles to help inspire and bring light into people's lives, both literally and figuratively.
S: What was the biggest challenge you faced when you began Innerfyre?
SH: One of the greatest challenges we faced is customers not knowing how the scents smell since we don't have a physical store. This is why we pivoted away from our initial line of aromatherapy candles to the affirmation line.
Most of the time, customers now choose the candles for their message more than the scent. If they like the scent, it’s a bonus. Though we still make it a point to describe how each candle, perfume or room spray smells.
S: What were your goals for Innerfyre when you initially established the brand?
SH: From the situation brought about by the pandemic, we intended to bring the message of self-care to consumers. With COVID-19 disrupting our normal way of life, it has also prevented us from travelling and doing a lot of the things we used to enjoy.
As such, it’s now more important than ever to pay attention to our self-care and mental health. We wanted to remind people to take some time to pause (even though most of us are working at home) and just not be swept away by the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
S: Innerfyre works remotely. What is the reasoning behind this, and should other companies take a leaf out of your book?
SH: Having a remote team is one of our ways of reducing our carbon footprint as a company.
By not having an office and requiring employees to commute daily to it, we eliminate the consumption of electricity in the office, reduce the number of cars on the road/consumption of fuel/use of office stationery etc.
Additionally, we have an international team of staff that works from various countries and doing so allows us to have a multi-national, multi-cultural team culture. This definitely has added benefits in bringing a more inclusive perspective into everything we do- from conceptualising new products to planning our marketing campaigns and messaging.
By allowing employees to work from home, not only does it benefit the environment and reduces office waste and traffic, but it also promotes a better work-life balance as individuals are able to work on schedules that allow them to be productive and still enjoy time with their families.
S: Could you explain the significance of using essential oils? And the effects?
SH: We made a conscious choice to use essential oils in our candles even though most candles in the market are made with artificial fragrance oils, and that's because we wanted to create a product that doesn't just look and smell pretty, we wanted to create something that has real, mood-boosting benefits and aromatherapeutic qualities.
We wanted to create products that are 100% natural and do not contain any artificial additives at all, and so the natural step was to move towards using essential oils.
There is now various research that demonstrates how essential oils provide benefits to our health. For example, this study shows that inhaling essential oil aromas can stimulate parts of our limbic system, which is the area of the brain that controls our emotions, behaviours and even our memory. So aside from physical benefits (like reducing headaches and other types of pain), it can also help us in our emotional well-being.
Additionally, with artificial fragrance oils, they are often made by big corporations with little to no transparency regarding their production processes, whereas we wanted to be able to support the farmers and small growers that actually plant the source plant material used to make our essential oils.
Our mission with Innerfyre has always been to bring light to the lives of as many people as we can- and that's not just limited to our customers, but also the suppliers that we source our ingredients from.
S: How do the ingredients in your candles differ from most candles on the market?
SH: The thing that is unique about our candle ingredients is our proprietary wax blend. We use a sustainable coconut & rice bran wax blend with Fair Trade Certified organic coconut oil that burns cleanly and benefits small growers in countries like the Philippines.
We chose not to use soy and palm wax as the commodification of these crops have led to large-scale deforestation and increased carbon emissions around the world. Also, rice bran wax is a value-added product as it's made as a by-product of rice bran oil and actually reduces waste.
Lastly, we have been working on our candle wax recipe over the past year so that we can achieve a high percentage concentration of essential oils in our wax (10-12%) which is almost double the usual commercial practice of adding 5-6% fragrance oils in their candles.
S: What is the intended feeling for your customer when they use any of the products from Innerfyre?
SH: Our intended feeling is to bring joy, warmth, and comfort to every customer when they open a box of our products. In these uncertain times, it's more important than ever for people to feel special, loved, and cared for. And that's why we went to great lengths to make sure that our unboxing is one that will bring an element of surprise and escapism for them.
Whether they're looking for an affirmation message, a way to uplift, ground or calm them, we want customers to feel special and loved when they open their box of Innefyre products.
S: How important is it to use sustainably sourced materials at Innerfyre?
SH: We believe that taking care of the environment is a form of self-care, particularly as millennials are suffering from climate anxiety as they grapple with the thoughts of climate change in their future.
That's why beyond just having a sustainable wax blend and opting for natural essential oils, our boxes and packaging are made from wood and paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and we use drawstring bags that are made from 100% organic cotton and certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). Compared to conventional cotton, organic cotton uses 62% less energy and 88% less water.
Hazardous pesticides are also banned in organic cotton production, making it safer for growers. Organic farming practices also help to lock carbon dioxide into the soil, producing up to 94% less greenhouse gas emissions. Every single choice we make as a business has the potential to benefit or harm the environment, and so we are extremely conscious of all our procurement decisions and we're constantly asking ourselves: 'How can we do this more sustainably?'
S: How important is it to take time out of your day to prioritise your wellbeing and how does Innerfyre promote that?
SH: Living in a fast-paced world, it's very important to take the time to pause, otherwise, you'll burn yourself out. As a society, we've put a premium on accomplishments and productivity, that most of us might feel guilty or ashamed of taking the time to rest. By reconnecting with yourself, you are reminded of what's truly important. It puts things in perspective, and you realise the real motivation behind all the things you do.
With that awareness, you are more mindful of your choices, especially in terms of how you spend your time. And because we offer scent-based products, we've always highlighted the power of our breath, and how we can focus on our breathing to offer us that moment of mindfulness that is essential to self-care.
S: If you were to buy just one item from Innerfyre what would it be? And why?
SH: My personal favourite is the I AM LOVED Affirmation Crystal Candle. For me, the reassuring message coupled with the rich floral scents of the candle embodies so much warmth that you do really feel loved. It also has vanilla essential oil that reminds me of the baked goodies and afternoons in our aunt's kitchen.
It's amazing how our sense of smell is linked to our memories and emotions. So, after a long tiring day, all these scents come together for me, and I feel so much better. To complete the experience, I turn on some music.
There's a Spotify playlist that we've curated for each candle, so you can listen to the songs we've picked for each one. For I AM LOVED, it's mostly soft, romantic vocals that tie in perfectly with the message of the candle.
S: Receiving a beautifully wrapped order is always exciting. How do you continue to ship your items in a thoughtful way without further damaging the planet?
SH: We're conscious about the use of plastics in our products(Innerfyre candles are 95% plastic-free), and even in production, we make it a point to avoid the use of single-use plastics. We also understand that many of our customers are buying our products to send them as gifts to their loved ones, so we put a lot of thought into how can we make the packaging earth-friendly but still delightful to receive.
S: What is next for Innerfyre?
SH: We have so much in store for the next few months. We have our upcoming Botanical Series Candles that focuses on healing, and more self-care products in the works. We're also working on fundraising for several organisations like Samaritans of Singapore who provide emotional support to individuals facing a crisis.
We're also continuing in our partnership with One Tree Planted in their efforts in global reforestation by our pledge to plant one tree for every customer order. Lastly, we are in the midst of offering shipping worldwide and expanding to work with retailers and stockists in countries like the UK, US, and Australia. Hopefully, we are able to spread the message of positivity and self-care one candle at a time.