At The Helm: Suraiya Nanji

Posted on November 13, 2018 by Keltie Maguire | 0 comments

Suraiya Nanji is the founder of Homecoming, a collection of hand-poured, soy-based candles made in Vancouver. 

Her candles feature beautiful and unique fragrances like "vanilla + smoke" and "wild fig + honey." Not only do Homecoming's products smell delicious, but they are also petroleum-free, phthalate-free and cruelty-free.

We love the clean and minimal aesthetic of this line, and Homecoming's thoughtful design and no-fuss, neutral packaging.

Suraiya Nanji, owner of Homecoming Above: Founder of Homecoming, Suraiya Nanji. 

What's a day in the life of Homecoming like?

Each day is completely different -- some days I'm in the studio making, testing and blending, and others it's all paperwork! Lately, I have been working with some larger brands on custom orders and workshops. My weekends are often spent at markets, which I love -- it's the best way to meet shoppers, get feedback and get to know other creatives, entrepreneurs and side hustlers!

How did Homecoming come to be?

Homecoming started about 5 years ago when I was working at what was a very creative job, that ended up turning very managerial and corporate. It became a creative outlet and stress reliever and also connected me to a community that was outside my 9-5 (or more like 7am - 7pm) job.

Laurel + Fir candle

How do you get and stay inspired?

I think I'm inspired to do the work I do because it's my own. Running my own business has always been a goal of mine and even though it can be hard, I still get excited and inspired about future possibilities, new products and collaborations.

I constantly look for inspiration in the design world: my background is in fashion, so it’s an area I always look to, even though it doesn’t seem directly related. Colours, textures, prints: all create a mood and that can lead to a new scent.

Do you have any mentors that have influenced you?

I get inspired by other small business owners; after working for a huge corporation it’s amazing to see what one person or a small team can take on!

The best part about being your own boss:

Having ownership of the projects I’m working on and control of my schedule.

The hardest part about being your own boss:

Actually taking time off -- there is always something that needs to be done!

Homecoming product line-up

What advice would you give to someone trying to start their own business?

I would recommend getting out and meeting others in the community. Attend talks, workshops, go to markets and support other small businesses. Everyone is learning as they go and there is so much information (and help!) out there if you just ask!

Your most loved piece of jewellery:

I love stacking rings, and small minimal pieces. Pretty much everything on your website :) (Aw, thanks for the love, Suraiya!)

Fav caffeine fix: English Breakfast tea, the stronger the better.

The last trip you took: Iceland and London!

It’s been a great day at work when…

I’ve had time to both create and make but also to send invoices, update my website, work on social media or meet with other makers. There will never be true balance but I feel good if I know I’ve touched on all aspects of my business (and snuck in a coffee break).

Your proudest work-related accomplishment:

Having my product being sold in stores that I have shopped in for years, and truly love. It’s a great feeling seeing something I made on a store's shelf.

Product photo credit: Nineteen Ten

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