Rimsha Kamal Taherani is the CEO and co-founder of Litt&Co, a Karachi based scented candle company and the first wood wick based candles in Pakistan.
Tell us a little about yourself and your brand.
Well, I am Rimsha Kamal Taherani, a communication design graduate from Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture. I started Litt&Co with my brother about a year ago, via Instagram and the response we got was extremely overwhelming. It made us realize that there is a huge demand for scented candles in Pakistan.
From all things why a candle company? How did Litt&Co start?
The credit for this goes entirely to my brother, Farjad Kamal. He’s always been a bit of a scented candle fanatic and it was him, who was extremely sold at the idea that we should have a wood wick based scented candle company since there isn’t anyone working with wood wicks in this market. While we had been at it since a while, figuring out the technicalities of how candle making is done, back in 2019, literally in the middle of my wedding festivities, he just came to me and said let’s just roll this out now. We’ll see what becomes of it and 7 months later we were online, selling our candles.
This is the first Pakistani scented candle company that is wood wick based. What difference does this make compared to the regular cotton string?
The wick of the wood wick candles is made of wood instead of a cotton string used for regular candles. Hence, it gives off crackling sounds just like a fireplace and produces a beautiful ambience. The USP of Litt&Co candles are that they are ecofriendly as we use wood wicks. The natural solution for our wicks doesn’t include zinc or other unwanted burning compounds, hence a cleaner burn as compared to the natural burns. They have a natural smell, and they do not add any smoke to the environment either. They are crafted for burning consistently, and they do not waste any wax.
Litt&Co candles are made from 100% natural soy wax. Can you tell us a bit about soy candles?
Derived from the soybean, soy wax is a hydrogenated vegetable oil that turns solid at room temperature. Soy wax contains nothing artificial, which makes it a better alternative to old-fashioned paraffin wax, which is made from petroleum oil and produces harmful by-products when burned or melted. Soy wax is non-toxic making it better both for the environment and your health!
How do you come up with the scents and the names?
I think coming up with the scent names is a very difficult job. Its easy to just name them based on what they smell like, but then we have a number of scents which are a blend of two different scents so it gets tricky. So we try to get a little creative by using ideas that resonate with the blends we make. Like our confectionary based scent is a blend of four notes, so we named it Symphony, which is also an elaborate musical composition for a full orchestra, typically in four movements.
Your best-selling scent? Tell us a little about the aroma.
I think the best seller has been Mulberry so far. Its basically a scent made of wild berries and bitter orange peels. Its Sweet and tangy and has a rich aroma of fresh picked mulberries.
How long did it take to perfect your current line of scented candles?
Oh, it took quite a while. It’s very tricky to get the ratio of the scent right with the soy wax. And even once that is figured out, there’s a whole different science to make sure that the wood wick is burning appropriately with wax. So, after a lot of trial and error, I suppose it took us about two years to really get where we are.
What was one of the biggest obstacles you faced when first starting out?
Perhaps the fact that we wanted the entire production to take place in Pakistan was the main obstacle. The raw materials used to make candles aren’t really available in the quality or quantity that we needed. So to put everything together, from the wicks to the wax to the scent was the biggest hurdle.
What advice you would like to give aspiring female entrepreneurs?
I’ve always felt that stories that include failures are great proof that you have taken the necessary risks in your journey. Failure is an inevitable part of success, from which we learn. Every time I feel like something isn’t working out or is taking too much time, my husband keeps saying ‘You just got to work and enjoy the process’.
How do you set yourself apart from your competitors?
The simple fact that we are the pioneers of wood wick based scented candles in Pakistan.