How Gelmania candles came to be!
My passion for learning the art of making candles started when I was just 8 years old.
My story is a two-part fold.
One, where our catholic faith was born in a tiny part of the most southwestern coast of India, Goa, but most importantly for our patron saint, St. Anthony, the miracle worker of lost causes. As for me and my family, he is the miracle worker for everything. We pray to him for anything that we ever wish for and it is always granted. People from all over came by our home in Goa to light candles to our patron saint. The most revered part in our home was our Altar which, not only had the statue of St. Anthony but several other saints as well. The faith was so strong that the days that we were not home, they lit candles outside our home. They initially lit candles to St. Anthony to ask for a favour and then returned in the following days or years to give thanks. So there was an abundance of melted wax, which caught my fascination, creativeness and resourcefulness to reuse the wax.
My mum was a nurse and worked in Middle East (Dubai). In my early years, my mum came home to Goa, India once a year for a whole month. In my early teen years, we moved to Dubai to be with her. When she was home in Goa, even though this was her vacation to rest from working long hours in the Middle east, she didn’t rest. In addition to paying extra amount of attention to her young large family, she selflessly gave her time for the good of others. A lot of people came by to request her assistance to administer their injections, thus saving them time from travelling on a long arduous journey to the city to see a nurse or doctor and most importantly, saving them money for having to pay for those services. My mum, did it free of costs and she had no hesitation visiting their homes, if they were unable to come to her. When she was not administering injections, she bathed old people, clipped their toe nails or just went to visit them to see how they have been doing. She was always called on for assistance and even when there was a new baby born, since she also had skills of a mid-wife. She never knew to say NO. I accompanied her on many of those trips to people’s homes and simply watched her in awe as she swiftly and carefully administered the injections.
I requested my mum for the vials. Without questions, she carefully took out the top part of the vial, washed the injection vials and handed them to me. I used old ways of melting the wax (i.e. an old can, made with a make-shift wood fire place in the yard). Once melted, I put a piece of thread, which was a thick twine often used to wrap up dry goods that we bought from the market. There was no use of plastic bags in our part of the world. Everything used was sustainable and we used re-usable bags. I poured the melted wax carefully into the vials. When cooled, I broke the glass vial to get a nice shaped small candle. I re-lit those candles back on our Altar, multiple times. The candles were small in size, in time, I used a few slightly bigger jars. Bigger Jars were extremely hard to come by as every jar was re-used for different purposes in all households, especially to store home-made pickles.
Fast forward and my passion came to fruition in Canada. I have been in Canada for over 25+ years. I did not want to make any candles, I wanted to make something sustainable that won’t fill a landfill or end up in the garbage. My days are long, and when I am not working at my other job or enjoying some family time, you will find me in my hobby workshop making candles and each time thinking of a new candle.
Prior to the COVID pandemic, our customers used to have a location to drop their burned down candles for a refill. Alas, since that wasn’t any option anymore, I worked to be creative and now we have a DIY kit where customers can buy it online and refill their own candle.
With our children older and more time on my hands, I am now fully invested in continuing to make my candles the best they can be. And of course, I couldn’t do it without my husband of 32 years, who is 100% supportive and is our super sales man every time!
I am extremely grateful and thankful to all our wonderful customers that follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and continue to attend craft shows to buy our candles.