“Never let anyone or anything stop you from turning something you love into a business. As long as you have a positive mindset you can achieve anything.”
Meet Annabelle Giselle, founder of Mahé, a London-based producer of handcrafted candles. At only 25 years old and mother to a 2-year-old boy, Annabelle is fearless when running her own business and tackling the challenges that come with it. Annabelle is half Seychellois and half English and lives in London, UK.
I started Mahé in 2019. Before starting my business, I was working in social media marketing and as a flight attendant for Virgin Atlantic. I always wanted to have my own business but never knew which steps to take. So I started reading business books and I thought I’ll start with my passion, which is scented candles and home décor. The meaning behind the name Mahé is because I wanted the connection with my dad’s country of birth and the island where he was born. Most of my family are living there.
How I Got Started
Once my son turned one, I wanted to get back into work straight away, but I also wanted to spend time with him. My mum actually gave me the idea to start making candles because I am always buying them. When I started looking into how candles are made, and what ingredients some of the main brands on the market were using, I made the decision to make my own. I watched a few YouTube videos and used my savings to buy the materials to get started. Then I attended a few business seminars in London so I could get advice on how to start and manage my business. I was determined to make it work. One day I came across a team of people who invested into startup, with their help I was allocated a business adviser who continues to mentor me every month.
On Offering High-Quality Products
My candles are made with 100% soy wax. This type of wax is vegan friendly and biodegradable, unlike paraffin wax which contains a lot of toxic ingredients, which is bad for your health. I wanted to target customers who were looking for luxury candles — the perfect luxury gift and a love for the Seychelles. All our candles come in luxury boxes with our signature bows. Our candles make perfect gifts if you are travelling back from the Seychelles and want a scent that will remind you of home. We also sell and make diffusers.
On Making the Candles
All the candles are made in my kitchen at home. The candle making process is pretty easy, but the most important thing is temperature and measurements. If you get those right, you can’t really go wrong. I start by melting the wax in a big wax pot, add the fragrance oil and prepare the glass jars with their wicks. I also test every batch to ensure the scent is strong enough and also watch how it performs before they go on sale. In terms of buying the ingredients, it’s very easy and simple to find a supplier online, but due to the pandemic, there’s been a few delays. When I complete my product, I feel proud because I made it and it’s going to be in someone’s home somewhere across the world.
On Work-Life Balance
Luckily, I have a really great co-parenting relationship with my son’s father, so I am able to get all my work done in the week as well as spend quality time with him. I am grateful that I am able to grow my business and be a mother at the same time. To be honest, some days are really hard work, especially when I have a lot of orders to send to the post office. But I always make a plan so that there is sufficient time for both my work and rest days.
Message for the Seychelloise Who Has a Passion or an Idea But Is Scared to Explore It Further
Go for it! In life, you have to push yourself even out of your comfort zone to keep growing. Never let anyone or anything stop you from turning something you love into a business. As long as you have a positive mindset, you can achieve anything. If you want to start a business or you have a great idea, do your research. Think about whether there is a gap in the market or could you create something better? Also, read a lot of books, watch YouTube videos and talk to people in that field. It’s never easy starting your own business, it requires a lot of perseverance and patience. Stay focused on your dreams and never give up on it.
On the Future of Mahé The plan for Mahé currently is to expand into homeware and skincare this year. I will continue to release new scented candles and keep growing my brand worldwide. I hope to one day have my own store on Mahé in the Seychelles and the UK. My goal with Mahé is to bring awareness and knowledge of the Seychelles. What makes me proud is every product I sell I know that someone has a product that represents the Seychelles in their home. My bestseller at the moment is the is Coco De Mer scented candle — a true signature scent that reminds me of the Seychelles. The notes include pineapple, coconut, vanilla, orange and peach.
Annabelle is offering a 30% discount for all cosmocreole readers. All you need to do is use the code MAHE30 at checkout.