Candalia, a clever play on the words candle and Alia, launched in July, but has been in the pipeline since 2017, after telling her husband she would be “really happy when it ends up in Buckingham Palace”.
Alia realised scent was her passion a long time ago – and it began with the laundry. “It’s all self-taught even, I admit, starting from fabric conditioners and working my way
up from which ones work best,” she giggles. “You know that it’s your chosen path when you have fabric conditioners lined up. You know when you can go to the supermarket and stand in the aisle where there are all the detergents and look to see what is the latest fragrance out – that’s when you know!”
Her inspiration stems from a love of travel as she will often accompany her husband, a lawyer, on his work trips and discover new scents in far-flung places. But Alia isn’t one of those people who wish to regale me with a sentimental story about a family member’s long-lost ingredient. She adds: “I’d love to say my grandmother had a particular type of perfume or spray that she used, but I’ve always been surrounded by fragrance whether it was my grandmother, my mum, my dad or my husband. “You don’t put too much thought to it – it’s something naturally effortless.” Effortless is the word – from Fleur D’Oranger to Oud & Bois De Santal, Oud Rose and Soie Lavande,
the scents are all classic smells contained in clear glass with the name and logo expressed elegantly in gold.
“I wanted it to be more than a candle and a diffuser, I wanted it to be able to sit nicely in a home or office or hotel but still look like an elegant timeless interior piece,” she explains. All poured in the UK, and packaged in muslin pouches, sustainability was in Alia’s mind when she was creating the brand. She uses her empty candles for everything, from money boxes to make-up brushes.
“Sustainability was at the top of my list – so my mini candle comes in a pouch – you can use it to put your jewellery in or your watch – nothing gets wasted,” she says. “I hope I don’t come across as barking mad.” Quite the contrary – home scent creation has never seemed more logical.
“People who aren’t on the same wavelength, you hand them a candle, they think it’s nice, they burn it and that’s it,” she says. “But if you know how you want your home
to smell, you won’t just buy off the shelf – you will look into it. I would love people to find Candalia on their own accord – but, at the same time, this is like a hobby for me.”