ARTISAN OF THE WEEK: Heejin Kim of Malee by Nature

The One of a Kind Spring Show is upon us and we love getting to know the artisans. One that caught our attention is Heejin Kim and her line Malee by Nature of beautiful soaps and candles. We wanted to feature her as our ‘Artisan of the Week’ to find out more.

What made you interested in creating handmade soaps and candles?

The start was my interest with natural soaps. One day, I was grabbing soap from the store counter as usual and the ingredients, which I never really cared before, just caught my eyes at that moment. I think I saw too many chemical names just for the soap. Then I realized how heavy with chemicals all products that we use daily on our faces and bodies are. Since then I started my own little research on natural products and ended up taking courses for natural soap making, natural candle making, natural cosmetics, and aromatherapy. As a huge fan of natural products such as soy candle, natural soap, and bath salt, I feel safer and healthier whenever I use them. My goal is to offer the same feeling to our customers.

Malee by NatureWe’ve heard of bees wax candles and now soy candles are becoming more popular, what’s the difference?

Both of them are great natural wax to replace paraffin candles. They are safe to health and environment which we concern a lot these days. Plus, they burn around 50% longer than paraffin candles.

The major difference will be where you get the wax from. Beeswax is from honeycomb, and soy wax is from soy beans (obviously!). Since they are completely different wax, you will find some differences when using them.

Beeswax is known for air purifying effects, and has honey-like scent originally. It comes in white and yellow colour, and I prefer making beeswax candles without any fragrance and colours.

On the other hand, soy wax is completely vegan, and produce less soot. Their look is simple and elegant with white colour.

The soy wax I use is Non-GMO (Genetically Modified Organism), and FDA and Kosher certified.

Malee by NatureCharcoal soap seems to be popular in asian cultures…can you tell us more about the benefits?

In Asian countries, we mostly use charcoal for purifying benefits. Purifying air and water (you will see charcoal in Brita filter).

People love to use charcoal for skin, mostly in soaps, as it removes sebum and dirt and keep the skin hygienic.

Charcoal soap is best for combination, oily skin or men’s skin. If you have dried skin, you might feel drier after using charcoal soap as it takes oils away from your skin so be aware!

What are your favourite scents to use and why?

My favourite scents are Rose bouquet, French Lavender, and Lemongrass I use for Plaster container candle

They are synthetic fragrance oil (not essential oils which we get from natural herbs), but they smell just like real herbs.

And the most important thing is that they are Phthalate Free, so it’s safer for pregnant women, pets, and people who are allergic to fragrances.

I make candles almost every day, so it is a very important thing personally to use safe wax and fragrances.

Where do you source your ingredients?

Mostly I source my ingredients from Canadian and USA supplier, and some ingredients I cannot source locally, I get them from South Korea. I compare my ingredients from different supplier, get samples to test, and then make products for best quality of products.

You’re an ETSY seller, how has that helped your business?

Etsy is very well known marketplace for handmade products. So just having an Etsy store itself is a great marketing tool. When my customers ask me if I have a website, and I say ‘I have an Etsy store,’ they’re familiar with it right away and show more interest in my products.

Heejin KimWhat advice do you have for other artisans who are thinking about selling their work on ETSY?

Some people are still afraid of online shopping. They prefer see the products, touch them and feel them. So it is important to give people as detailed information as possible with many pictures from different angles. And get connected with other shop owners by joining Etsy communities.

Will you be featuring anything unique during the One of Kind Show that we should know about?

I have changed my slogan for candles this year. It’s ‘Enjoy soy candles in a beautiful way.’

As you can guess, I put more time and effort in designs and creativity. You will see macaron soy candles, soy candles in plaster container, stone candles, and flower candles.They are all brand new designs and showcasing them at the One of a Kind Show and Sale!

The One of a Kind Spring Show & Sale runs March 25 to March 29, 2015 in Toronto at the Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place. Heejin Kim’s booth is located in the Etsy Zone.

Sonya is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of She is also a well-established contributing lifestyle writer to other sites and magazines sharing her passion for arts & culture, fashion, beauty, travel and food. Sonya is based in Toronto, Canada. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @theculturepearl

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