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Mala the Brand, winner of SFU’s Venture Prize competition lights up the holidays

December 03, 2020

By Clarissa Yap

This holiday season, the environmentally conscious start-up, Mala the Brand, will be placing its product on store shelves in Indigo and Nordstrom. Founded by Melody Lim, a recent SFU communications alumnus and winner of the 2020 Coast Capital Venture prize competition, Mala the Brand focuses on creating sustainable and environmentally conscious soy candles. 

“The 2020 Venture Prize was a game changer in helping me build a better foundation with a proper business plan,” says Lim. “It has allowed me to hire a contractor to help in areas I wasn’t well versed in.” 

Each candle is created by hand using natural and sustainable ingredients such as natural soy wax and wooden wicks. What’s more, Mala the Brand has partnered with Tree Era and Trees for the Future. These organizations will plant a tree for each candle sold.  

“After researching the candle industry, I noticed many candles are made with harmful chemicals,” says Lim. “Growing up in B.C. with my great affinity for nature, it was only natural for me to gravitate towards clean-burning, sustainable candles.”

“Not only does tree planting reduce the effects of greenhouse gases on the environment, but it also neutralizes the impact of our own emissions.”

Image Credit: Melody Lim

A small local business only recently founded; Mala the Brand has previously won the top prize in #MadebySFU 2019, a signature competition and craft fair presented by SFU’s Spirit Shop and Coast Capital Savings Venture Connection. Since then, it has already made quite a name for itself. Featured in home and beauty magazines like Allure, Buzzfeed and Refinery29, Mala the Brand has been thriving despite the unusual year. 

“I was a bit nervous at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the community has really come together to support local businesses during this difficult time,” says Lim. “It has encouraged people to support their local economy more.” 

Image Credit: Melody Lim

Gearing up for the holiday season, Lim has been preparing for order requests and the launch of Mala the Brand in stores. She has also launched a holiday line-up, including scents like Gingerbread and Mistletoe. The environmentally friendly brand is also available online at Indigo, with the candles launching in stores in January. 

“I’m excited for people to enjoy clean burning candles and leave the store feeling positive and inspired,” says Lim. “I also want people to learn something new through our brand about how you can be kind to the earth.”

As for any advice for current students? Lim says if you’re passionate about what you’re creating, if you just start, anything can happen. 

“Candle making started as a hobby, but it became more as I worked at it,” says Lim. “Mala doesn’t feel like work for me because I love what I do.”

For more information on Mala the Brand, visit malathebrand.com. 


Since 2008, the Coast Capital Savings Venture Connection program at SFU has been providing support for university ventures, from initial idea to business validation. It offers an early-stage business incubator, mentorship, co-op terms, competitions, networking, speaker events, workshops, seminars and other business resources. SFU’s flagship entrepreneurship program has supported more than 13,000 individuals from the SFU community, ranging from students, staff, faculty and recent alumni, and has provided start-up services to more than 230 early ventures.


As Canada’s engaged university, SFU works with communities, organizations and partners to create, share and embrace knowledge that improves life and generates real change. We deliver a world-class education with lifelong value that shapes change-makers, visionaries and problem-solvers. We connect research and innovation to entrepreneurship and industry to deliver sustainable, relevant solutions to today’s problems. With campuses in British Columbia’s three largest cities – Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey – SFU has eight faculties that deliver 193 undergraduate degree programs and 127 graduate degree programs to more than 35,000 students. The university now boasts more than 160,000 alumni residing in 143 countries.