As part of our Community Series, we’re hoping to connect you with influencers, experts, and all-around badasses in the South Asian community. We hope to share their inspiring stories and helpful guidance with everyone.

With the recent launch of our Postponed Wedding Package, we interviewed Sonya Malani Panchal. She is the founder behind the incredibly adorable and beautifully scented "Indian Monsoon" candle. Sonya is a full-time Optometrist - a graduate of Rutgers and SUNY College of Optometry. She had no business or marketing background when she started Scrumptious Wicks, but she learned along the way by watching webinars and listening to podcasts after a day of patients! Her hard work and creativity are inspiring, and we're excited to share her story.

What inspired you to start your business? And how long have you been doing your business?
I was inspired by the podcast “How I Built This” hosted by Guy Raz. I especially loved the episode with Sara Blakely of SPANX. I loved hearing how she didn’t necessarily have a business degree, but she had a great idea, and with a lot of grit and determination, she made SPANX the huge success it is today. 

Are there any challenges you have faced?
I think as business owners, we’re faced with challenges every day. With the coronavirus pandemic, I had to change my marketing approach and my messaging. So instead of selling a new scent, I was selling “comfort,” “love,” and “thoughtfulness.” Ultimately, it worked, and I’m glad I made that change. 

What do you love most about your business?
I am my only employee, and so at this current level, I have complete autonomy on all business decisions. I can launch a product in a week, from start to finish, if I had to because I don’t have to cross-check with anyone before doing so. This comes with its downsides, of course, because I’m also handling all customer service and packaging, but overall I find it to be a positive thing. 

Why are you doing this care package collaboration?
What I’ve learned these past few months with candle sales, is that people are really looking for comfort. Sending a care package to a bride who had to cancel or postpone her wedding is a sweet and thoughtful touch, and I’m happy to get behind a collaboration that is doing that. 

What would you like to tell brides and their friends during this time?
Support each other! Having your girlfriends to lean on during these difficult times is key. Better times lie ahead!