Is it cake? Light it, don’t lick it

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Hyperrealistic-looking cake candles

This online store sells French macarons topped with cream and chocolates, small cakes with pretty floral designs, flavored cupcakes, chocolate cookies, Biscoff biscuits, waffles and all the baked goodies you can think of. But no matter how delicious they look, they’re not for eating.

The sweet treats, wrapped like the real thing, are candles. You light them when you want to create an ambiance or lift your mood. The creator of WeBake Candle (@webakecandlePH on Facebook, Instagram, Shopee) is Nerrie Lour Monsale. She is a licensed nurse, though she never practiced her profession.

“I am really a crafter by heart. I love arts, I love to sketch, design, take photos and do DIYs. I think that’s a plus when it comes to this kind of business,” she said.

Monsale was a medical liaison officer before she resigned to support her husband’s shoe business in 2017. Candle-making was her top choice when she decided to start her own business last year.

Smell and aesthetic

candle desserts
LEFT: Too cute to melt it! | RIGHT: Fruit candles that smell like the real thing

Candles have become very popular recently. On Home Buddies, even candleholders and where to find them are shared tremendously. It makes sense—people are trying to match the smell to the aesthetic of the rooms they worked hard on improving during the lockdowns.

This brought about different suggestions from the virtual kapitbahays, including, oddly enough, tying an Irish Spring bar soap to the air-conditioner vent!

Naturally, scented candles also rose in popularity.

“Everybody sells scented candles in jars and glasses. I thought of making a different style. Since I love sweets, I thought I’d make dessert candles, candles that look like real food. I want them to smell like the real food,” she said.

People buy her candles to be given out as gifts or souvenirs for events.

Monsale started doing her research and getting materials in July. After practicing for a month, she launched her online shop. Her customers now have over 50 designs to choose from.

“There was a lot of trial and error, even up to now. I market my own product. But the most challenging part is the selling itself. I told myself to not expect a lot. If I won’t be able to sell my candles, I’ll just keep them for myself and display them,” she said.

Basic ingredient

candle desserts
LEFT: WeBake Candle has over 50 designs to choose from. | RIGHT: Light for some “sugar” and “caffeine” boost

Patience is the basic ingredient when you want to make candles, as the task can be very frustrating, according to Monsale. Every wax needs to be tested each time to check if all the ratios are correct, including the fragrance oil that will be added. There’s also the waiting time for drying and curing.

“My candles are different because I don’t just pour them in a mold and think that they are done. I make an effort that the candles look real and tempting. I want anyone who sees them to wonder whether they’re real dessert or not,” she said.

She delivers on her promise. They look and smell like the real thing, even as she has no baking background.

Her candles can come in scents of strawberries, Belgian waffles, milk, chocolate, bubble gum, cotton candy and coffee. Vanilla is her bestselling fragrance. Buyers can also customize the scent.

The biggest order that she had to fulfill was 500 candles for an optical brand. Prices start at P125 apiece. It’s enough to buy you a macaron.

Monsale began the business thinking that she’d be lucky to sell a couple of candles. But as her shop nears its first anniversary, she knows that there’s enough room for her candle-baking to expand further. She’s planning to train more chandlers to produce her candles. That way, more people can have a taste of the sweet life that comes with each of her candles.

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