This month we met Natasha Garbawi, Founder of SUN.DAY of London on a rooftop above her studio in Dalston. We found out all about her botanical handcrafted candles and even got the chance to see some candles in the making while we quizzed her about her inspirations and how her brand has developed over the last year!
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your brand SUN.DAY of London?
Thanks so much for popping by. I'm a fine artist and Art director based in East London, Sun.day started as hobby/obsession and turned into it's own little organism. I'd been making skincare, creams, balms, healing concoctions since a really young age and this naturally evolved into candles and is still evolving as I'm constantly making and developing new products.
Where does your passion for creating botanical candles come from?
I'd say my passion lies in making and devising, possibly because of my background in the arts and a combination of that and my families' influence with their lifestyle rooted in natural remedies and botanical exploration. My grandparents and great grandparents have always sourced wild herbs to create remedies for the local people in their little town along with farming their own fruit and veg as a source of nourishment. All these factors have definitely played a part in combining natural remedies with luxury home fragrances.
We love that your products are natural and locally sourced. Can you tell us more about the making of your candles?
Thank you so pleased you're a fan of the collection. I have blended various vegetable waxes that are crucially eco friendly and have a long, slow burn time, the process then includes creating an essential oil blend and infusing the two then pouring them in a vessel and adding the cotton wick and finally leaving them to cure for some time before adding the final touches.
Where do you draw inspiration from when creating new products?
I would say that a lot of what I do is routed in the art of perfumery as although each product is completely natural and aromatheraputic, I also wanted to include layers of the essences so every candle is quite complex and evokes different memories and places in each person. In terms of inspiration I would say it is a sense of nostalgia that can be a flame that ignites ideas, along with new experiences in countries we visit but most importantly I would say other artists and makers. When I see people's work whether it be a painting or illustration or a handmade ceramic piece - creatively it really fuels a sense of wanting to make new collections that invite a sense of collaboration which involves different makers and fine artist putting their own touch on the pieces and our brand.
How can your candles help people to connect with nature?
I would say that the candles engender a sense of appreciation for nature, from the names of each one to their ingredients, when people enjoy them in their homes I hear incredible feedback of how it helps them relax, sleep better, feel calmer and less anxious... I've had reviews of how our sleepy mist has helped a mum and new baby have a proper nights sleep for the first time in weeks which really is so nice to hear, but that is thanks to all the healing elements that can be found in plants and botanicals that can often be overlooked within a busy lifestyle.
What advice would you give to someone starting up their own business?
I would suggest that the idea or concept is something you really feel strongly about as there are times that make you feel the rewards of what you're building doesn't outweigh the sheer amount of hard work involved which can lead you to question whether it's worth it in the end. So having that sense of purpose and belief in your product or service and how it can enhance people's lives is important to come back to as a foundation. I would also say to try and build a community through friends and other brands and similar companies as a support system, that's been one of the best parts of the job for me. I've met so many cool people on this journey, its actually mad.
Can you walk us through a day in your life?
Every day is quite varied for me as there are so many elements to what we do. In the morning I usually do emails & admin bits from my home/office or from cafés around town. The space I work in tends to be really important so I often cycle to the Ace or Hoxton which are super cosy and have a bit of a buzz. Then I probably have a meeting or two followed by a trip to the workshop to see Rachel who is our main candle maker and help her with orders. This would depend on what the workload is like so it could be anything from making candles to labelling mists or packing orders. We would then go for dinner or I'd cook a nice meal and have some friends round. I try to squeeze in a pilates class now and then and also try and do some of my art in the evenings. If I have any late nights in the workshop which I often do it would be paired with a good podcast.
How do you make your clothes work for you and your busy lifestyle?
What I wear is so important in striking a balance between working in the studio which can get super messy and labour intensive along with having meetings and not looking too dishevelled. I tend to wear trainers a lot - comfort being my main priority teamed with a good pair of jeans or more tailored trousers and a top/jumper like the deliciously soft one from Wrap that can be both smart and easy to work in at the studio. I also always have a rucksack or bum bag around as I like to have a good number of notebooks and pens to hand to sketch my ideas in.
If I wasn't running SUN.DAY of London I would be... So many things! Probably making something else, doing more of my fine art paintings and exhibitions, working with other brands and small businesses creatively as an art director and brand consultant, which I sort of also do on the side.
Words to live by... A word of advice I heard after a study of hundred's of people's lives from beginning to end – they said that family and friendship was the single most valuable thing that was most worthwhile before they died. Life in London can get pretty hectic but always making time for your mates and family is really important to me.
My guilty pleasure is... Sourdough Pizza, all the pizza.
The best thing about my job... Meeting the most lovely clients and makers and shop owners in thecommunity that have really supported Sun.day.
My day isn't complete until I've... Listened to a decent podcast and done most of the things in my to do list topped off by a good documentary before bed.
My favourite London hangout... Any of the cafes or restaurants on the Canal near Haggerston.
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