News & Inspiration

HomeStyleFile was fortunate to spend 5 minutes with the inspirational Sheena Teo, founder of Cahaya Candles, as she prepares for a busy weekend exhibiting at Life Instyle Melbourne.

We love the care and attention Sheena puts into each and every one of her candles. From hand-pouring soy wax into each glass vessel in Melbourne, to the custom artwork featured on the boxes they’re packaged in as they make their way to their new homes.

HSF: How would you describe Cahaya Candles?

Sheena: Cahaya Candles is an artisanal, small batch Australian home fragrance brand with a strong focus on original design elements.

What goes into making each candle you send out?

All production elements of our candles are sourced from local Australian owned businesses and each candle is lovingly poured by hand in small batches in our Carlton, Melbourne studio.

Do you have a personal favourite?

I personally love the Shanghai candle, both for its luxe aesthetic and its evocative scent.

And what scents are proving the most popular with your fans?

Our Santalum and Komorebi scents are very popular and tend to sell out quickly. I think it’s because the scent blend is quite complex and unique.

We adore your brightly coloured packaging! Is there a story behind that?

I wanted it to be an artistic homage to my Malaysian heritage, so I worked with a talented local designer to come up with original box artwork featuring illustrations based on vintage Peranakan Chinese porcelain ware motifs and traditional batik fabric patterns.

What tips do you have for anyone buying a candle online?

Have a good read of the scent notes – it will give you a better idea of what to expect. Alternatively, send through an email and we’d be more than happy to suggest scents based on your personal preferences.

How did Cahaya come about?

I’ve always loved candles and once I started learning about the clean burning properties of soy, I set out to find luxurious soy candles and soon realised there weren’t that many on the market then that didn’t look homemade. I then decided to learn how to make my own and combine them with an original design aesthetic to set them apart from other brands in the artisanal market.

How did you start? Talk me through the first few steps you took.
I basically took a candle making class and became obsessed with the alchemy of scent and creating a soy candle that looked as good as it smelled. I started giving my wax experiments to friends and as the feedback was overwhelmingly positive, I thought okay, let’s try this out and see if anyone else wants a Cahaya Candle.

Have you collaborated with anyone? Who would you LOVE to collaborate with?
I’ve done some wonderful promotional collaborations with brands like Edible Beauty, Be Fraiche and The Tea Nomad. However, I’d really love to work with a design focused brand like Mister Zimi or Gorman in the future.

Get to know Sheena. QUICK FIVE:
Favourite item at home: Cahaya Candles of course

Favourite room at home: My living room because it holds my collection of quirky, wonderful things

Never leave home without: My mobile phone – I run my whole life on it!

Morning routine:  I start my day with a wheatgrass shot, fresh juice and a coffee. It’s all about balance!

If I wasn’t doing this, I’d be: Finding some other way to unleash my creative streak on the world.

Cahaya Candles are available at


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