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A Candlemaker’s Journey to Spark Healing and Self-Care with Artisanal Creations

Jaimie Lynne Quant pictured in her home office and studio. Kumalma values creating genuine connections and encourages conscious consumerism through her commitment to sustainable practices. Photo: Another Story Media

Growing up in a traditional Filipino household, Jaimie Lynne Quant often heard the Tagalog expression “Kumalma ka,” which translates to “calm down.” But as the founder and owner of her small business Kumalma, she is giving the phrase a more positive meaning to encourage self-care and reflect the natural calming effect of candles.

Quant’s journey didn’t begin with candlemaking. She worked in a corporate setting for nearly six years before returning to school to study dental hygiene. Realizing her passions lay in cosmetology rather than medicine, Quant went to beauty school, became a licensed esthetician in July 2019, and worked as a spa worker until the breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fueled by the creativity of her inner younger self, she immersed herself in an array of activities from macrame to candlemaking to make good use of time during shelter-in-place.

“I started teaching myself, read all the articles I could, joined all the groups, watched Youtube videos about candle making, and realized I could turn this into a business. Since then, almost three years later, I have never looked back,” Quant said.

Sustainability is at the heart of each Kumalma product. Available to purchase online, Quant’s products utilize 100 percent soy wax, phthalate-free fragrance oils, FSC-certified wood wicks, and lightweight and recyclable packaging. By integrating environmentally friendly materials into her creations, Quant emphasizes the importance of engaging in conscious consumerism to combat growing waste production that deeply harms the world.

Quant’s work ethic stems from her mother.

“My mom and dad split up at a young age. She pretty much raised me and my Kuya by herself, so starting a business and working — this is my contribution to her. It’s a whole gift for her,” Quant said.

As a tribute to her mother and the significant moments in her childhood, Quant launched a limited edition “Chismis Bundle” made up of “Pandesal” and “Kape” candles which are reminiscent of mornings wrapped in the nostalgic smell of freshly toasted pandesal and the sound of her family sharing the latest gossip. She also created candles like “Sampaguita” and specifically “Melon” to celebrate her mother’s 60th birthday and pay homage to the treat of a drink Quant and her brother shared growing up.

Amid all these meaningful products, Kumalma’s “Heal” candle holds a special place in Quant’s heart. A mix of eucalyptus, rosemary, and white tea, the candle memorializes a miscarriage she went through in September 2020, right before the official opening of her business. Blended in October 2020, the scent became a bestselling favorite upon its release in February 2021 as it sent customers the message that they, too, could persevere through loss and internal struggles.

“I’m a very private person, but being vulnerable and sharing my story, sharing my struggles, I realized that I was able to connect with people on a deeper level, like human to human versus very surface level connections,” Quant said.

Kumalma has collaborated with other Asian-owned businesses, namely Matcha Paper Co. and Central Matcha, to create a matcha tea-themed candle bundle. In the future, Quant aims to continue networking, connecting with customers, and expanding her community.

To aspiring Filipinx business owners, Quant’s message for success is to find a balance between work and personal life: “Find that balance, take care of yourself, and go at your own pace.”

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