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In Conversation with
Karen Olla - Oré Mi Candles

Karen Olla

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your brand?

Oré Mi Candles is a start-up independent candle company from London, owned and operated
by a two-man team - myself and Stephen Turner. Since our founding in 2019, Oré Mi Candles
has grown from a hobby to a full-time passion. We believe that in this fast paced and digitally
connected world mental health can often be a last thought. Through candles we hope to
spread awareness and encourage everyone to focus on maintaining their wellbeing.

Karen Olla

I have struggled with anxiety throughout my education and career - however found that with
the lighting of a scented candle, the ceremony surrounding it and the transformation the
smell can bring, it gave me calmness and positivity in any situation. Much like venting to a
friend and off-loading your worries, our candles can bring the same feelings and mental
relief - which is why I decided to start this candle company, calling it Oré Mi, which means
'My Friend' in Yoruba - fusing my Nigerian heritage & upbringing in London.

Where does your passion for making candles come from?

My passion comes from how amazing they have been for my mental health and how
interesting playing with scents can be. When you make a new scent that smells amazing
it's like winning the lottery.

Where do you draw inspiration from when creating new scents and products?

I draw inspiration from my childhood and very key moments in my life.

How would you describe your brand aesthetic and what makes your candles unique?

Nigerian and London inspired, minimalistic and timeless. We are a candle brand that is
showing that there is a space for African inspired homeware and candles in the
mainstream.

Which scent is your current favourite?

At the moment it is Mandarin & Spice.

Karen Olla

What advice would you give to someone starting-up their own business?

Do all the research you need to do but do not let it hold you back from starting. Also, I was
told by mentors make sure you price your products for its real worth. Do not price them
thinking who is going to buy my products anyway I'm no one. Just thought I would pass
that wisdom on, as I struggled with pricing my candles because of that very thought.

Can you walk us through a day in your life?

I still have a 9-5 so I make big batches of candles on the weekend. On a Saturday morning
I wake up at 9am switch on the kettle have a cup of coffee and get out my Wax Melter and
get to work. Normally I make up to 100 candles or more it depends if we have a wholesale
order or not. Once I have hand poured up to 100 candles, I will help my boyfriend with
dispatching orders. We have found a lot of people have gifted our candles to friends during
lockdown so it's always cute seeing the lovely messages people send to their friends that
they have not been able to see.

Karen Olla

What are your go-to wardrobe staples?

During lock down it has been dark blue mom jeans, Birkenstocks and a comfy jumper
or a nice T-shirt and I never forget to put on my red lip to brighten up my day.

How do you make your clothes work for you and your busy lifestyle?

They need to be comfy and easy to dress up or dress down. I normally wear quiet simple
clothes with nice cuts and dress them up or down using accessories and makeup.

And finally...
If I wasn't running Oré Mi... I think I would do more beauty blogging
My day isn't complete until... I put on a red lip
My ideal breakfast... Bacon, bacon and more bacon
My handbag essential... Red lipstick, Carmex lip balm and my glasses
Words to live by... You are enough (I've got it tattooed on my arm ha)
My favourite London hangout... Peckham particularly the begging bowl

Shop the full collection here >
Photography by Jutta Klee @juttakleephotography
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