A chat with Xavier Tsang can make anyone light up – and not just because he’s a friendly guy. Tsang is the founder of Sai Kung-based BeCandle, a local fragrance factory that produces candles, reed diffusers and incense sticks.
BeCandle’s namesake products – yes, candles – are proudly made in Hong Kong from a blend of vegetal and soy wax, fine fragrances and essential oils from Europe. Housed in hand-blown glass vessels and made in small batches to ensure minimal waste, BeCandle also runs experiential workshops where guests can go through a sensory journey to formulate their own scents.
See also: Candle With Care: Is Your Candle Toxic?
We had a chat with Tsang to find out what first sparked his sustainability journey, his best and worst eco habits, and how far BeCandle has come.
1. In one sentence, tell us what you do!
I am the co-founder of BeCandle in Sai Kung, and we create and produce aroma products.
2. Why are you an 8Shader?
I first encountered the concept of sustainability in Italy around 15 years ago when I was working there as a product designer. I remember visiting Milan Design Week and getting so inspired by all the designers who highlighted sustainability through their use of innovative raw materials and/or social innovations addressing the sustainability issue.
It was then that I realised how far behind Hong Kong was compared to the rest of the world when it came to sustainability, so I started to practise sustainability bit by bit by incorporating it into my daily habits.
3. Your best eco habit?
I recycle and minimise my use of single-use plastics.
4. Guilty not-so-green habit?
I enjoy driving.
5. Fave eco product?
My Kinto To Go Tumbler.
6. Fave veggie dish in HK?
Caprese salad! Since having the authentic versions in Italy, I learned to make it myself at home. It’s a simple, healthy and delicious dish that’s great for impressing family and friends.
7. How does BeCandle incorporate sustainability and what are you working on next?
I’m passionate about creating and promoting a sustainable local business ecosystem, starting with a team based in Sai Kung so that everyone can go to work on foot.
Besides our own local, in-house production, we also collaborate with other local craftsman and factory on accessories and packaging. Taking inspiration from the eco-conscious local community, we’ve also launched a candle refill service, and we are expanding this service network throughout Hong Kong. Besides that, I’m working on our brand’s 10th year anniversary show.
8. Finally, what shade of green are you?
I’d say 40% dark green. I’m very conscious about and love learning about sustainability, but I’ve still got a lot to do to become an expert.